May 26, 2016

Simple Living Conversion Moments

Have you had an experience that changed your mind totally and completely about how you live your life? A moment of insight in which what was previously shrouded and fuzzy becomes clearly focused?

You could call such moments 'conversion experiences', and I know from my own experience, that they can be very powerful. After you wonder, "How did I not see this before?" You are a new person.

Such moments are usually associated with religion, but this concept of radical change can be applied to many things, perhaps to learning in general.  I am particularly interested in examples in which such moments lead a person away from participation in a consumer lifestyle toward a more simple life.

To suddenly change one’s mind changes how everything looks. It is a voluntarily shift in the basic beliefs upon which one's life is understood. The fact that such abrupt and total transformations are possible is very encouraging. There may be hope for us yet.

But such conversions are not always supernovas of change. Often they are tiny fireflies of energy that push us in a particular direction. Everyone has the capacity for both, if you are open to such things and allow them to work their magic.

One such moment that I have personally experienced is hard to label as a total and sudden change, or something more gradual. All I know is that at the time it felt like a probe directly to my brain. It happened a couple of decades ago, and I still think of it today.

I had been canoeing and fishing with Linda on a pristine mountain lake in the Rockies. While on the water I caught a large silver-sided rainbow trout. Later we were transferring our canoe, gear, and my catch back to our van.

We were standing by our vehicle. I was putting the fish into our cooler when a man walked up, staring at the big trout. I looked up at him.

"You killed that beautiful fish", he said.

Then just as quickly as he had appeared he moved on, leaving me to ponder his statement. Fishing has never been the same since.

While I didn't feel an immediate change, that one brief moment in time came to transform how I feel about fishing, consuming fish, and ultimately about life itself. Call it a conversion moment, or an ah-ha experience, but whatever it is, I see these moments as opportunities to alter life for the better.

They are little gifts from the Universe.

Have you had a simple living conversion moment that has resonated with you, and that you just can't forget?


  1. For me when I watched the movie "Noah" in 2014. Life is not the same since then - for good :).

    1. I'll watch it and see what happens.

  2. Anonymous4:50 PM

    We tend to sleep walk through life, accepting the status quo. Culturally it is normal to fish and people wrongly think this is getting back to nature, until a fortuitous moment changes our perspective. I think our culture is like a made up job, 99% of what we do goes against the natural way. Most of a history never had to occur, such as world wars and poverty, I'm sure life can be arranged to follow a different way, depending on how we arrange our practice. Are prisons normal, why does the 1% care so much about wealth, why can't a plant based diet be adopted and save up to 90% of health costs, why do we think foot binding is wrong yet promote high heels in the mass media? This list goes on and on.

    Growing up I would struggle to understand a lot of cultural practice's and now realise they are like made up jobs. They go against the way of our world. These special realisations are our awakening and the true way can seem distant from where we are and a bit scary too, as it can be so radically different from where we are. Thanks for sharing this beautiful moment. Alex.

    1. Joseph Chilton Pearce posits that culture is the problem. And once we are acculturated, we can't question this conditioned state, since that is our only reality experience. But every once in a while a bit of the real program breaks through in moments of insight.

      Peak experiences are closely associated, I think. Experiencing such expansiveness is so unlike our usual highly restricted ways of thinking and being that they can be a mix of elation and trepidation at first.

      Given the current state of humanity, we should welcome "radically different". I'm ready to go there, and I think many other people are, too.

    2. Anonymous4:34 AM

      I often get these experiences out in nature and sometimes spending quality time with people. I suspect that the mycelium is highly connective and I get different feelings in different ecological environments when I'm tuned in. Check out Paul Stamets on YouTube for amazing world of mycelium.

      Thanks for the Pearce link. The key lay's in how children are brought up and natural parenting is rightly gaining popularity. Alex.

  3. Years ago, a coworker said he had bought a new car and my boss rubbed his hands together and said, "Gotcha!" I made a deeper connection between debt and wage slavery.

  4. Anonymous1:01 AM

    When about 10 years old I took a walk down the railroad tracks carrying my older brother's shotgun. Family was big on pheasant hunting and fishing. Eventually I spotted a rabbit just sitting in the brush near the tracks. I shot and killed it and walked away. Later it occurred to me what a stupid, senseless act of cruelty that was. Never hunted anything again and never will. Haven't fished for many years either.

    1. The first time I ever used a rifle to kill something was with my uncle. We went out to the prairies and he taught me to shoot gophers. I remember shooting one, then seeing that I blew it to pieces. I grossed out, and never shot anything again.

      My uncle was a priest. I always thought that was kind of strange as it didn't mesh with my concept of what a spiritual person was like. He hunted for deer, and I could understand that. But you don't eat gophers.

  5. Mine was an ah-hah moment of shock, and happened fairly recently. It occured while watching a Current Affair (news) and they were talking about how the supermarkets were ripping dairy Farmers off, the impact it was having on them, and a schoolgirl called Chloe begging Australia to help. It changed my way of thinking totally, and my mind has ben churning ever since. We have decided to start moving towards eating in a way that supports Aussie farmers, and not the big bad supermarkets. We will simplify our food as a result, and instead of buying cheaper overseas stuff, spend a litle more and buy quality Australian goods where possible. Nothing is as snuggly on a cold winters day as snuggling into a big jumper made from wool from Australian sheep!

    1. Hi Rebecca,

      I'm also an Aussie. Although I didn't buy the cheap milk (I buy branded organic milk) I am boycotting the big supermarkets to show my support. Normally I buy dog food, toilet paper etc.. at the supermarket but now using alternate sources even if it costs more. I will be writing to the supermarket to tell them what I'm doing. Voting with your money and letting them know about it is a great action to take.


    2. Global trade is one of the dumbest things I have ever learned about. Basically, you export a few thousand tons of potatoes to me, and I will export a few thousand tons of my potatoes to you. What? Why not just keep your own potatoes?

      I buy things made locally first. Then from other areas of my province. Then from my country. Last resort is buying imported.

  6. Probably my first conversion moment was staying at the home of a macrobiotic cooking teacher in Sydney as an 18 year old back in 1985. All the food was organic, she composted, everything was made of natural materials right down to the futons we slept on. I saw things I'd never heard of like natural washing up liquid and bathroom products. I was also deeply impressed by her generous spirit and the beautiful energy in her home. Everything she did made perfect sense to me and I remain deeply grateful to this day for her influence which as allowed me to bring my kids up in a wholesome, natural environment, and live what I regard as 'the good life'.


    1. What an awesome experience. Our teachers are everywhere, if we are open to them.

  7. Anonymous4:46 PM

    Re: the man who made the comment about your having killed a fish: did he ask whether or not you intended to eat the fish? Growing up in Appalachia, my dad and my relatives all hunted and fished because this was a source of food for us. We also all had gardens and canned and preserved the harvest, again, because we had to. People can sometimes come off as self-righteous when commenting on why someone hunts or fishes instead of asking reasonable, civilized questions about a person's lifestyle or situation. I personally don't hunt or fish, simply because I no longer need to, but I am grateful to know these skills if I ever need to use them. My dad and uncles only killed what they are their families needed and they used as much of the animal or fish as they possibly could. They had a better grasp of their position in nature than a lot of people do these days.

    1. Anonymous11:50 AM

      I still live in Appalachia and grew up in the same way. It's a more honest way to get meat than buying it from who knows what source at the store.

      Personally I could never kill an animal, but respect those that do it in a responsible way for food.

    2. I absolutely ate that beautiful fish, although the man did not ask if I was going to consume it.

      Hunting and fishing, as well as gardening and collecting from the wild are things I can support. I love the self-reliance of it all, and I am glad I have the skills to acquire food, if needed.

      Living from the land is where we all started, and many still live this way. Very few people are that connected to the land these days. Relying on industrial foods has its own drawbacks.

      Thank you for bringing this up.


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