delight-filled living, or, the frogs are boiling

note: i’ve no idea why the font has gone pear-shaped. the enigma that is WordPress continues to baffle and infuriate. i thought about wrangling it into submission but then realized that i CBA.  so enjoy the mega-font. OR, completely disregard this note if it somehow fixes itself in the interim. as you were….

you may me remember me mentioning Wisteria & Sunshine…if you don’t, here’s me mentioning it again.

anyway, one of the things i love most about Lesley’s space is how it supports my having drifted* quite firmly  in the direction of simple living.

disclaimer: i realize that ‘simple living’ is probably in great danger of becoming a Trend, of having all of the meaning and substance thrashed out of it until it becomes tiresome and bandwagon-y, but i think it’s one of those Necessary Shifts** that absolutely needs to take place if we’re going to salvage the utter bollocks we’ve made of the world.

i’m at the point in my trek* where i experience a great deal of discomfort, bordering on anxiety, when i witness unconsidered consumerism.  and i’m not talking about rabid shoe-shoppers or electronics junkies, i mean normal, sensible, people who happily hand over their money for stuff without considering the impact of that purchase/item.

and while i despise zealotry in all forms, i do think we can all benefit from taking a moment and asking ourselves, do we really need to buy the crustless loaf of bread*** to make fancy sandwiches? do we really need to buy a giant case of bottled water just because it’s on sale?

seriously, we have the cleanest water supply on the planet. what’s wrong with the tap water?

anyway.

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i’m a continuous work in progress in this regard. i’ve made a lot of changes, and there are so many more things i can do and i’m steadily working towards that end.

what i have noticed, when i begin to ponder how best to pare my life down, is how i find myself hearkening back to the stories that my grandparents told me about growing up during WWII, and those my parents told me about growing up in working-class northern England.

time and again, i circle around to how people lived before the frenzy of Fast, More and Easy.

granted, it wasn’t the easiest life — not by any stretch — but those lives were filled with simple pleasures, made ever more special because of how much less there was of everything.

there was less of everything, so the good stuff really, really stood out.

and i don’t even have to borrow from my older relatives stories. i just have to remember my own childhood — and how simple [by today’s standards] treats were of epic delight:  a five-pence mix-up at the sweet shop on a Friday, the once-yearly thrill of the Town Moor; Sunday dinner at my grandparents house, followed by a walk along “the Avenue”.  or sometimes we’d go down to Whitley Bay to walk along the Prom, to nosh on salt and vinegar slathered chips wrapped in newspaper while the wind blew us in all directions.

utter. bloody. magic.

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so when i read this introduction to the W&S book for the autumn months, i felt like i’d found my new best friend.

you know, the one that agrees with everything you agree with and you finish each others sentences and talk over each other because you’re thinking the exact. same. things.

I believe that deep within many people like me, those of us over the age of forty who managed to live out most of our childhoods before the modern era of excess, of pre-packaged “infotainment,” McDonalds on every corner, bubble-wrapped plastic toys and total Disneyfication of the minds of children,there are intact memories of simple,home-made pleasures and the enjoyment of sufficiency. And I believe that it is up to us to mine those memories and use them to construct a better world.
……
I know from my own warm memories that simple living can bring joy and contentment. But I know, also, that we cannot go back. I could not re-create, for my own children, all the details of my childhood life, even though I did incorporate as manyas would fit. And neither would I want to deprive them of living fully in their own times. Life moves forward. Too often, we romanticize the past. We forget the downside of life in the old days, the fleas in the horsehair mattresses, the unhealthy cholesterol load in the “bread and dripping” the cruelty of bear-baiting, the inhumanity of slavery, the evils of workhouse and asylum. So rather than attempting to turn back the clock, or to create some kind of anachronistic, Amish-like bubble to live in, we need to move forward, using every ounce of knowledge, wisdom, creativity and skill at our disposal to help construct a world which incorporates the best of the past with the achievements of the present and the vast potential of the future. This can be – if we do it right – a world which is based, for the first time in history, on the perfect balance and integration of the yin and the yang, the masculine and the feminine, the body,the mind, the heart, the soul and the spirit.
The Lilypad List, Marian Van Eyk McCain

i know, right?

although, to be honest, an “anachronistic Amish bubble” sounds pretty okay to my hermit soul.  🙂

but you really should click that link to read the introduction because it’s also very funny and i found myself  having a delicious snorgle, especially during the bits about the author being fascinated by people taking themselves off to the country to wallow in mud and build houses out of bed-springs and straw.

because, yay-yus! (i’m snorgling again just thinking about it)

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i think we can all manage to change just one tiny thing, make one tiny shift toward a more conscious existence, don’t you?

as a person who tends to gallop madly off in all directions when she gets her teeth into an idea, i’ve finally come to terms with the fact that there’s no requirement to do All of The Things — that there’s no place for comparison and self-flagellation when it comes to finding your way to a simpler rhythm. it’s a process that’s particular to each person, to each family, to each household.

you just have to start. and i find that simple living and conscious-consumerism are very complementary things – each encourages the other.

i’m currently – very slowly and quietly, mind you – decluttering and purging the house while also trying to get my head around grocery shopping with a zero-waste mindset.

that should keep me busy for a while.

how ’bout you?

~m. xo

ps. my apologies to those of you who know me from The Instagram for my recycling of photos….i usually try not to do that, it feels like cheating somehow. oh well. 🙂

*i was going to say ‘journey’ into but i have to say that i find the word ‘journey‘  to be one of those horribly over-used internet words – along with aligned/alignment, soul, blessed, mindfulness, abundance etc. – that makes me want to stab myself with a fork.  got any fork-stabbers of your own?

**dare i say, paradigm shift? dare i? oh, i simply couldn’t. #californiaspeak 😉

***true story. i had no idea there was such a thing. why was i the only one who found it bewildering? i asked why couldn’t you just cut the crusts off a regular slice of bread, and they looked at me like i asked why we don’t just drown all of the puppies in buckets.