October 23, 2021

Motivation

“People who died of starvation are not nearly as pitiful
as those who died of overeating.” 

― Mokokoma Mokhonoana


There is a reason it's called simple living, not easy living. That is because living simply is often not easy.

It may be hard, but it is also beautiful. Still, one may need motivation to continue on the path.

I don't need much more motivation than pondering the state of the planet.

The most motivating for me concerns something we strangely don't hear much about - starvation. 

I wonder why that is, considering our current focus on "saving lives."


Starvation Facts

- almost 800 million people lack adequate access to food resources

- every year about 10 million people die of starvation. 3 million are children. 

- after declining 5% from 2004 to 2019, the number of undernourished  has increased by more than 165 million since then, a crisis driven by the Four C's of the Apocalypse: Conflict, Consumerism, Climate, and COVID.

 

- the world has always had enough food to feed everyone, and still does. 

 


World leaders agreed waaaaaay back in 2000 to commit to eight Millennium Development Goals by 2015.

The first of those goals was "to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger."

Epic fail, if you ask me. 

But no one is asking, because we don't talk about these deaths, or our failure to stop them. They get little attention from the people that can do the most to help.

Since the system managers won't do something about this sad state of affairs (and they won't if it's not profitable to do so), I am motivated to do something myself. 

Living as simply as possible is an action I can take to create more balance in this wildly wobbling world.


Whenever my simple life gets hard and I need some motivation to carry on, I think about all those hungry people dying by the millions year after year because decision-makers fail to act. 

We don't just need a solution for hunger, but more desperately need a solution for curing our sick system, and the sickos running it.

Living simply helps, but unless we get together to kick this rotten door down, we will be doomed to some day join our undernourished and dying brothers and sisters.



Note: Another big motivator for me and Linda are the readers of our blog. We are motivated and inspired by you. Thank you. 



October 18, 2021

The Unsimplified



Who is really responsible for The Downfall of Everything that we are currently experiencing? 

Today it's fashionable to blame the unvaxxed, but it won't always be that way.

One problem with laying blame and scapegoating is that you never know who it will be next. Maybe you. Or you, or you, or you. 

Maybe the next group of deplorables to be identified will be the One-Planet-Lifestyle hesitant. 

You know, the selfish anti-simplify people. The dangerously unsimplified that are putting everyone else at risk.

I am talking about the part of the human population that represents the wealthiest 20% and accounts for 76.6% of total private consumption. 

There are global repercussions from consumption generally, and conspicuous consumption especially. 

What does "The Science" say?

Scientists Warning To Humanity 

"The developed nations are the largest polluters in the world today. They must greatly reduce their overconsumption if we are to reduce pressures on resources and the global environment."

"A new ethic is required - a new attitude towards discharging our responsibility for caring for ourselves and the earth. We must no longer allow it to be ravaged. 
This ethic must motivate a great movement, convincing reluctant leaders and reluctant governments and reluctant peoples themselves to effect the needed changes."

This was a warning 25 years ago from the Union of Concerned Scientists along with over 1,700 scientists from around the world.

The same group of scientists issued another warning in 2017, and another in 2019.

And yet we still have reluctant leaders, hesitant governments, and refusenik peoples that instead misdirect us anywhere except for where we should be looking. 

At them.

At who? The science is referring to the unsimplified, the over-consuming. 

The anti-sustainable are killing millions of people every single year, and now threaten all life on earth by refusing to "do the right thing" and cut their consumption.

Instead of a plan that is "by far the most substantial vaccine mandate in history", we may get a plan that is "by far the most substantial simplification mandate in history".

If the unsimplified are ever targeted, get ready for mandates that will make life very uncomfortable for that tiny holdout 20% of the human family that is selfishly holding the rest of us back.

I wonder how many with a present zeal for telling others what to do will support those mandates?

My advise to them? 

"Don't just think about yourself - get simplified now".




October 12, 2021

Consumer Christmas On Backorder




Consumer Christmas 2021 is on permanent backorder.

"Sorry for the inconvenience - your consumer lifestyle is out of stock."

Also, Santa's elves, reindeer, and wife are all on strike for a living wage and better working conditions.

How about a little box of freedom this holiday season? 

Nope, sorry. 

Also out of stock.

It is shaping up to be our first ever global Buy Nothing Christmas. 

It probably won't be our last, so we are going to have to figure out how to do it without excessive shopping being the focus.

A good time to give the simple and free gifts of love, compassion, and forgiveness. 

They are all still well stocked, but so far are not flying off the shelves.

2022 is shaping up to be very naughty indeed when we find out that we are out of everything. 

Including patience.




October 5, 2021

Can You Hear The Future Coming?



It is not hard to see that the next 100 years will not be anything like the past 100 years. 

We are in the middle of an unprecedented future shift that is nudging us all in a certain direction, one completely unlike what we used to think of as normal.

The challenges being imposed on us and the planet will require us to adopt a different set of skills than the ones currently putting food on the table.





There is no bad time to start making changes that will positively affect future outcomes. 

David Bowie said, "tomorrow belongs to those that can hear it coming", and I hear a deafening roar right now.

People that haven't already abandoned old ways of thinking and living may have trouble adapting to a quickening timetable that is serving up a less energy intense and materialistic way of life.

Like anything, it is not all bad. There can be great joy in building community, and learning to do things for yourself, like grow, harvest, store, and prepare your own food. 





Our collective shit house is fully engulfed in flames. And so many are still sitting on the pot. What are we waiting for? 

Now is the time for us to confirm our belief in the beauty of our dreams, and make them happen.

Like I have been saying on this blog, since it was birthed in the midst of the calamity of The Great Recession of 2008,


"Simplify now and avoid the rush."


How are you preparing? Leave a comment below.



September 26, 2021

I Do Nothing





Bird poops on my window.

I do nothing.

The rain washes it away.



September 23, 2021

2021 Gardening Goal

The first full day of fall is a nice time to harvest our ripe tomatoes.



We started our gardening this year with one, clear goal. 

Our 2021 Gardening Goal was: 

To preserve more food than ever before. 

It is a reasonable goal because after years of having a garden, we are still relative beginners at preserving. 

Up until recent years we have been experts at eating fresh, but haven't focused on preserving as much as we would like.

This year we wanted to exceed our previous personal preserving best, which was last year.

Adding to our success this year is the fact that it was a great growing season with lots of rain at regular intervals. 

Temperatures were not too hot or cold. In other words, it was a perfect year for gardeners in south west Nova Scotia.

Now we find ourselves at the first full day of autumn, and we are working at wrapping up one of our largest harvests ever.

So much food! 

How much cash are cucumbers or kale or even tomatoes worth when you can't even give them away? 

At times like this it feels strange that people are paying for vegetables at the store down at the bottom of our ridge.

Today we went out to pick our ripe tomatoes because things are beginning to cool off at night and it is time to begin to finish our 2021 garden for the season.

We had already done our cucumber pickles, relish, and strawberry jam earlier in the season. We also canned one batch of cooked chipotle salsa.

We have been eating fresh garden veggies for weeks, but when there is so much food, one can't keep up regardless of how ravenous.

Now it is time for the bulk of our tomatoes to be processed.

We will do another batch of salsa because the first batch turned out so well. For the rest of the tomatoes we will simply can them diced, something we have never done before.

Another goal of ours is to get off store bought canned tomatoes altogether.

Wouldn't it be nice to get off store bought food entirely? 

That is the ultimate goal. 

While this goal of goals may remain elusive, it is fun (and yummy) trying nonetheless.

Happy Fall to all Northern Hemispherians, and happy Spring to all of you south of the equator.

Next garden goal - plant garlic some time before winter. I have planted here as late as a beautiful day in December.





September 21, 2021

7 Effective Consumerism Busters




Consumerism wants us to aspire to have more. More everything. 

Along the way we are supposed to find happiness, which remains elusive as long as there is something else to buy.

In a consumer society, there is always something else to buy.

These 7 Consumerism Busters can help us get off that treadmill.


7 Effective Consumerism Busters

1. Humility 

"Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it's thinking of yourself less."

- C.S. Lewis


2. Restraint

“Maybe the greatest power of all is the power of restraint.” 

Craig D. Lounsbrough


3. Thrift

"The whole thing of clothes is insane. 

You can spend a dollar on a jacket in a thrift store. And you can spend a thousand dollars on a jacket in a shop. 

And if you saw those two jackets walking down the street, you probably wouldn't know which was which." 

- Helen Mirren


4. Responsibility

“Take responsibility of your own happiness, never put it in other people’s hands.” 

Roy T. Bennett


5. Patience

“Patience will bring more happiness than power.” 

― Amit Kalantri


6. Sacrifice

“Anything that you cannot sacrifice pins you. Makes you predictable, makes you weak.” 

Mark Lawrence


7. Austerity

“A lot of people measure others by what they've got. I've decided to measure myself by what I can give up.” 

Geoff Nicholson


When we practice these busters, the desire to buy things we don't need goes away.

There are other positive side effects, too, like joy, contentment, satisfaction, and balance.

Consumerism is on the way out, a victim of its own excess, but these things tend to die slow deaths. 

With the help of the 7 Busters we can make changes, end the waste, and find our freedom sooner.

Mother Earth thanks us for our efforts, as do the people in non-consumer nations that are negatively affected by our profligate purchasing.

Life shouldn't be only about hurrying to buy more stuff. 

When we stop this madness, we can return to the real reason for living - to help each other.



September 16, 2021

Peace Begins In The Garden




"Peace begins in the kitchens and pantries, gardens and backyards, where our food is grown and prepared. 

The energies of nature and the infinite universe are absorbed through the foods we eat and are transmuted into our thoughts and actions." 

- Michio Kushi



The home has been called the foundation of civilization, and this is true. 

But it is so much more than that. 

It is our axis mundi, a place where we gain an infinite view of the intersection of all things.

It is a place where order exists when everything outside of it looks to be in chaos or darkness.

Every morning we are born into our own individual universe, our home.

It is the center of everything, and requires only a few things to self-perpetuate.

A thriving garden. 

A happy, well-used kitchen.

A few books. 

And tranquility.

What else does one need?

If it weren't for the outer world telling me to think otherwise, my outlook would be considerably rosier.

In my individual universe, things are running smoothly, peacefully, and harmoniously.

This radiates out around me, enhancing everything. 

Live the changes you want to see, and eventually you will see those changes reflected all around you.

Peace in the home begets peace in the world at large.

It starts here.



September 14, 2021

The Buddha Is Simply Yourself




"Whether you are going or staying
Sitting or lying down,
The whole world is your own self.





You must find out
Whether the mountains,
Rivers, grass, and forests 
Exist in your own mind
Or exist outside it.





Analyze the ten thousand things,
And when you take
This to the limit,
You will come to the limitless;
When you search into it,
You come to the end of search,
Where thinking goes no
Further and distinctions vanish.






When you smash the citadel of doubt,
Then the Buddha is simply yourself."


- Daikaku (1213-1279)


September 8, 2021

"Bye Bye" to Buy Buy Buy



During the last 18 months many former consumers have said "Bye-Bye" to Buy, Buy, Buy. 

Either by choice, or by force, or both, many are joining the ranks of anti-consumer survivors across the globe.

If the power brokers ever succeed in "restarting the economy", many of those former consumers will never say "Hello" to consumerism again. 

They are finished.

Many can see that it may be prudent at this juncture in history to switch from being a consumer to being a survivor

Unless you are very rich, you can't be both. 

When you leave consumption as a way of life behind you, it is possible to see the way forward more clearly.

Survivors are focused on growing a garden and raising their own food. They are busy investing in social capital and their local community and economy.

Survivors look for ways of circumventing the negative effects of corporate and government control of our lives. 

They make changes that allow them to operate outside of the matrix.

Making a conscious choice to become self-reliant and resilient as a family, group, or community means becoming active survivors rather than continuing on as passive, dependent consumers.

Eventually we will all need to reject the mindless waste of the Buy, Buy, Buy propaganda we have been subjected to for far too long.

Bye-bye.


September 6, 2021

Why I Live Plain and Simple




Why live a plain, simple life? 

Plain living, as the Quakers say, allows us to listen for the "still, small voice of God". You don't want anything drowning that out.

Living plainly and simply requires one to discard the non-essential, or resist it from the start. 

Things that are not necessary get in the way of the things that are necessary. I have no time, effort or money for things that are not necessary.

When individuals become serious about learning more about themselves, the Universe, and their place in it, they don't usually go shopping.

They also probably don't go to movies, or restaurants, or the gym, or large entertainment gatherings. These all may be nice, but they are extra. 

And ultimately, unnecessary. 

One important reason I live a plain and simple life is to get rid of anything that gets in the way of that which is important.

When the still, small voice of The Universe speaks, I don't want to miss it.

It could be the buzz-buzz-buzz of the bumble bee going from nasturtium to nasturtium as I quietly harvest pole beans. 

Or the whispering of the wind in the trees  while I take in a solitary, contemplative walk.

It might be the bubbling and babbling of the brook, running to join the ocean (The Watery One) after a rain. 

Or the laughter of the new neighbour's  baby while I sit (not thinking, or worrying) on the patio.
 
In the cacophony of consumerism, and the lifestyle needed to support it, those peaceful voices are drowned out.

That is why I live plain and simple.



September 1, 2021

Opting Out - Charlie Watts




Charlie Watts of the Rolling Stones has gone home for good. 

The drummer appeared on all the Stone's albums, and played at every concert and gig the band performed. All albums, and all performances since the early 1960s. 

Until the band's most recent tour, that is. 

Even though he was a hard working musician in a hard working band, he did not fit in to the wild and lavish rock star lifestyle. He opted out.

Mr. Watts reportedly liked to "stay home", proving that some people see the value in living a simple, low key lifestyle by choice. He never had a drivers license.

"I don't actually like touring", he said in an interview. Or driving, I guess.

"The one regret I have of this life is that I was never home enough." How many people, let alone a rich and famous star, say that?

When he wasn't rhythmically hitting the skins with sticks he was said to enjoy relaxing at home and listening to jazz. 

Another favourite wild activity he indulged in was watching sports on TV from a comfy chair. 

Unusual considering his friends in the band, who lived more publicly and notoriously, but it worked for him.

Charlie Watts showed that it is possible to resist the temptations and hedonistic delights that wealth and fame can bring.

Now he is permanently resting at our final home, sitting in the big living room in the sky, listening to music, and watching sports on the big screen cloud.

This is one rock star that did not say on his death bed, 

"I wish I spent more time on the road working and partying and spending money."

Charlie Watts opted out as much as he could, and wished he could have opted out more. And he still managed to become one of the best drummers in the world. 

In 1989, Watts was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

He stayed home that night. 




August 31, 2021

The Society Made Mad by Fear

The Man Made Mad by Fear

Gustave Courbet 1844

We have become a society made mad by fear. 

That is dangerous because no human does their best work whilst under the influence of fear. 

It brings out the worst in us, and in our thinking processes. Then bad things happen that wouldn't happen otherwise.

That is why I have always tried to live according to a basic rule, and that is:

"The best and most enjoyable way to navigate through life is to move without fear
Live as if there is nothing to fear."

That, and my other basic rule, have enabled me to enjoy life feeling as free and unrestrained as I can possibly be.

My second basic rule is:

"Live like the world is beautiful, the people in it are beautiful, and everything is beautiful."


When viewing the world this way, one can think more clearly, see more clearly, and realize the best in each and every moment.

If we look at the world as a fearful place that is all bad, it eventually will be that kind of place.

If, on the other hand, we live fearlessly and expecting nothing but one beautiful moment after another, that is what we tend to get. 

In my experience, anyway. 

Your results may vary, but I still recommend trying it to see what happens for yourself.

Fear has been used for eons as a way for the power-seeking to manipulate and exploit those that buy into it. 

More recently, the fear factory has been weaponized, making it all the more insidious and soul-destroying.

I am more dedicated than ever to not let myself be made mad by the fear I see in the society around me. 

It is an illusion "masking" the control hidden behind it, and it makes the world look dark and dangerous.

But I know in my heart that the world is still as beautiful as it ever was, as are the people in it. 

That is how I am choosing to see things. 

I am moving forward in beauty and without fear.



August 30, 2021

Happiest People On The Planet

Hunza Valley, Pakistan.


Who are the happiest people on Earth?

The gazillionaires?

Nope.

Those that have the shiniest, fastest cars, latest cell phone, and the biggest houses?

Nope.

The endless traveller?

Nope.

The ones with the highest paying jobs?

Nope.

The isolated, simple living Hanza people of the Himalayan highlands in Pakistan are reported to be among the healthiest, happiest, and longest living people on Earth.

This is a group of people with a much better life outcome than the populations of richer, more "advanced" areas that have been sold the story of "progress". 

And they do it without the billions and trillions of dollars sloshing around in rich nations.

By modern consumer standards one would consider them to be poor, and a conventional thinker might wonder how people living in such meagre conditions could be happy let alone live to an average age of 100 years.

Some Hunza live to be 145, and at least one researcher that lived with the Hunza for several years, said he had never heard of one of these traditional simple living people to get sick with any diseases that are common in capitalist consumer countries. 

Like cancer. 

No cancer, unlike in, say, an advanced country like my own.

"Researchers estimated that there would be 225,800 new cancer cases and 83,300 cancer deaths in Canada in 2020. (The number of estimated new cases does not include non-melanoma skin cancer cases.)"


It gives one the feeling that everything we have been told is a lie. 

Perhaps working and shopping ourselves to death is not the way to go?

I'm with the Hunza. I must admit, though, that it is hard for this consumer-raised westerner to think that at almost 60, if I were a Hunza, I might not be even half way through my lifespan yet. 

Capitalist consumerism kills. I think we can say that with total certainty. 

All of the working, shopping, endless weary travelling, and general material excess is for naught if all it does is create unhappiness and hasten an early death.

What if we all lived as simply and happily as the Hunza? 

Could we, in a more natural, simple state, also live extra long happy lives? 

I'm have been trying, and it has been working out for me so far. We will see how it all works out over the next 60 or 70 years.

My goal is to be as happy as the Hunza, regardless of how long I am around.







August 29, 2021

If Linda Can't Go To The Garden




Our garden is not far from our house. But it is still difficult for me to get Linda to it. 

The rough ground makes for a bumpy ride in a wheelchair, and it is a challenge for me to push her there and back. 

Plus, there are ticks out there. That's all she needs, another neurological disease (Lyme).

This year I thought, "if Linda can't go to the garden, bring the garden to Linda."

So instead of planting exclusively in our raised bed, I expanded our growing space by amending bits of soil next to the house.

Along the front porch where we like to sit and enjoy shade early on a hot day, or a summer sunset in the evening, I planted peas and kale. 

Some of the kale was from second year plants that I wanted out of the raised bed, and they have been flowering all summer. Their profuse and dainty yellow flowers attract both bumble bees and hummingbirds.

There is a small triangle of soil in front of our kitchen window in which I planted purple pole beans and trailing nasturtiums. 

These have climbed the stick structure I built for them, so while in the house we have watched them flourish, along with the big bumble bees that love the purple pole bean flowers.


The dream is to have a huge, fully accessible garden at some point in the future. In the meantime, bringing the garden to Linda is the way to go.



August 26, 2021

Happiness Under Your Feet




Where is happiness to be found? That is the bazillion dollar question.







Here are a few more questions I have.








Is happiness to be found within ourselves, or is it somewhere outside?









Is it free, or do you have to buy it?









Is there enough for everyone, or is it a rare commodity available only to those that can afford it?










And finally I ask, "Do we have to look for happiness far away, or can we find it under our very feet?"









Note: 

I took all the pictures in this post. 

They are all either in and around our home, or within a short bike ride from where we have lived in southwest Nova Scotia since 2014.





August 23, 2021

We Are Accumulation-Averse






Linda and I are accumulation averse. We are perpetually wary of letting anything into our personal space, whether it was bought or free.

In a system that pushes us to accumulate ceaselessly and a rapid rate, we must be suspicious gatekeepers at the doorway to our homes, the sacred space of simplicity. 

Halt! What goes there?

This goes doubly, Linda points out, if we are talking about any products that have anything to do with body maintenance, or body image, including duds like processed/fast foods, cheap, throw-away clothing, and pretty much anything that has to do with grooming.

Nothing gets past our front door until we have conducted a thorough grilling of the product (and the company that makes it).

Will the thing make our life better? How? For how long? How much maintenance is needed? How often will we use it? How much space will it take up?

Is the manufacturer engaged in a sustainable, value-added environment in which workers rights are respected? Are its source materials ethically and sustainably harvested?


In the end, the question has to be for every little thing that crosses our threshold, 

"Will this product/thing/object enhance or detract from our life force and that of our planet?"

Very, very few things make the cut, and successfully gain access to our simple, sparse home. 

As it should be. 

A person needs remarkably little to live a happy, contented life. 

Everything else is a lie and should be strongly opposed.