Practice living simply this August

Appreciation of simple things helps us find inner tranquility and serenity. It reminds us that a lot of our wants and needs are manufactured. It helps us find meaning and enjoyment from what we have, instead of focusing on what we don’t have. Here’s how to simplify your life, on your terms.

We don’t generally get too philosophical here, but we can’t help but remember the teachings of the Greek philosopher Epicurus when thinking about this August's theme: Live Simply. A co-opting of his name by certain culinary trends has made some associate him with hedonism and excess, but Epicurus’ teachings actually emphasise a life full of appreciation of the simple things, which he believes is the key to maximising pleasure.

There’s a lot of confusing ideas out there when we think of simple living—it is often equated to minimalism or with frugality or asceticism. For this month, don't worry too much that others are living more simply, instead simply only on how to live more simply moving forward. Why? Appreciation of simple things helps us find inner tranquillity and serenity. It reminds us that a lot of our wants and needs are manufactured. It helps us find meaning and enjoyment of what we have, instead of focusing on what we might gain.

Revisiting and reconsidering our Key Questions

  • What emotion is preventing me from decluttering? Is it laziness? Attachment? Fear?
  • What simple pleasures do I find happiness in?
  • What things in life are weighing me down?
  • What environments and people help me feel that I have everything I need?

Some things to ponder from our team

Here’s a short list of resources or ideas that align with this month’s theme. We’ve tried to capture the spectrum of ways to manifest living simply. Hopefully some of them make you laugh or provoke some deeper thought.

Living simply for some is about reducing waste. One really easy way of starting this is by no longer peeling your vegetables! No waste (like our notebooks), and even more nutrients. If you're still not convinced, read this. If you like to peel your carrots, maybe you can look into composting?

There's very few of us who haven't heard of "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" by Marie Kondo, but there's many of us who haven't taken her advice. One thing to remember: unless an item brings you joy, you shouldn't keep it. Sentimental value is often just sentimental clutter. Her approach can be too drastic for some, including the ladies of By the Book, a podcast where two friends live by the rules of various self-help books for two weeks. Their frustration but simultaneous commitment to the new lifestyle is both hilarious and relatable.

We'd like to provide a reminder to some of our readers, who like us, can feel a nagging sense of guilt for wanting to set aside some time for ourselves to get everything together. There are so many deadlines, responsibilities, and other important things happening in our lives that it is hard to carve out the time necessary to plan our a more frugal lifestyle, or clean out our closets, or enjoy reading a book. Our reminder is that, sometimes, "Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation." We read this in a moving article in the New York Times, which in turn quoted from the great Audre Lorde's book "A Burst of Light: and Other Essays".

A recommendation for a good book that might just change your life. Check out The Miracle of Mindfulness by Tich Nhat Hanh for a good read that will change your perspective on your thoughts and inner world. We've talked a lot about simplifying your mind, but it's worth considering that simplifying our minds is enough.

01.08.21