August 31, 2023

Live With Fearless Energy

"To learn to be always in a state of meditation means never to let your vital energy wane. You would never allow it to do so if it were certain that you were to die tomorrow. It wanes because you forget about death. Grit your teeth, fix your gaze, and observe death at this moment. You have to feel it so strongly that is seems as if it’s attacking you. Fearless energy comes from this. At this moment death is right before your eyes. It’s not something you can afford to neglect."

Suzuki Shosan (1579-1655)  

If I learned today that I only had a short time to live, how much of what I do and think on the average day would matter to me any more?

What would I want to do more of, or what goals would I wish to fulfill before my demise?

How would that change my life?

Would I choose to live with fearlessly energy, and do what needs to be done?

Would I choose to live even more simply, to pare life down to the most essential form it can take?

I think I already live with fearless energy, but I predict I could bring even more to the table.

What would it take to maximize that energy?


Why wait? 

Today, I am creating conditions for my untapped vital energy to come forth and transform life.

It is not something I can afford to neglect. 

Simplicity helps me confront this challenge without needless distraction.

Our system as it exists can not help, because fearless energy can not be bought. 


August 30, 2023


We ran out of jam yesterday. It was a jamergency.

What to do?

I could ride to the grocery store and purchase a very expensive jar of corporate jam. Many shoppers are willing to pay for that kind of convenience, but I would rather not have to buy jam (or anything else) if I can help it.

Instead, I went to Mother Nature's Grocery Store, where everything is free. 

But free doesn't mean you don't have to work for the bounty. 

It took me about an hour of cruising our back yard field looking for and picking wild blackberries before I had enough fruit to make a bit of jam. I didn't find a lot, and compared to the giant Himalayan Blackberries of the west coast, the wild blackberries in Nova Scotia are very small.

However, I must admit that a good deal of that time was spent just looking around and enjoying the sights, sounds, and smells of the late summer evening.

Once inside, I washed and crushed the blackberries, added a modest amount of sugar, then boiled them until  they arrived at an appropriate jammy consistency.

No pectin required, another thing I didn't have to buy.

In the end all that enjoyable foraging work provided a small jar of delicious wild blackberry jam. It also saved me some money.

But more than that, the joy of picking the berries and making the product with my own two hands was priceless.

August 28, 2023

Meme Monday


There is a certain peace in accepting things the way they are.

I have been planning my cabin in the woods since I was 12.

Who is the successful man in this picture? Hint: it may not be who you think.

There has to be more to life than work, bills, and death.

Wanting less frees you from a life of needless striving for things that don't matter.

I want to work directly at living, not work at a crappy job to make a living in order to buy a crappy life.

At this stage of the game, creating a simpler life is a step forward.

August 23, 2023

The Chinese Lie Flat Movement

Capitalist consumer culture is taking its toll on workers around the world. 

Take China and its 996 work ethic. 9 am to 9 pm six days a week. 

That is what it takes for young people to get ahead in the competitive economy of a country looking to be number one. 

Fed up Chinese workers choose to do what is called "lie flat" instead, doing more like a 933, and living in a simple way that has become both a social protest movement and a lifestyle. 

An unrepentant, unambitious Luo Huazhong started it in 2021 with a post on social media. 

In it he spoke of his low-key, minimalist lifestyle. It struck a chord with a generation that is chronically overworked and still struggling to afford marriage or buy a house.

He called it Tang Ping, or Lie Flat – a lifestyle choice where one rejects the societal pressures to buckle down and do the hard work required by climbing the career ladder, and acquiring the trappings of a middle class life.

In response to the pressure and diminishing returns, Luo chose to lower his expectations, and become indifferent to normal aspirational desires. 

He took the red pill, and didn't look back. 

At 26 he quit his factory job - it made him feel empty. Then he moved to a small town, spending his time reading philosophy, and surviving by doing odd jobs. 

He makes around US$60 a month, and eats two meals a day. But now he actually has a life that he likes.

Lying flat has been described by supporters as "a harmless choice to strive for nothing more than what is essential
for survival". 

"Of course, I know that if I were to join a corporate design firm, I would very likely make more money and be able to afford more tasty food and better accommodation. But I would only sleep three hours a day and have no time to enjoy life. Now my simple bowls of noodles taste good and my bed is soft enough. I see no reason to try harder." - Li

But the Chinese choosing to lie flat are taking flack from the mainstream just like anyone does that doesn't buy into the capitalist consumer model.

The government and the bosses do not approve, of course. 

"What are you - lazy?" 

"It's shameful", they say.

But what can they do?

You can't march freedom-loving citizens at gunpoint into the factory churning out worker/consumer drones.

That is the beauty of this movement. 

Nothing works without the workers of the world. If we withdraw our services, everything goes caput. 

The power is ours. We do not have to comply. They need us, we don't need them.

If you live in a society that punishes active resistance, and we all do now, then passive resistance is the tactic of choice.

Tang ping ups the ante and elevates the general strike to a lifestyle. 

People everywhere want less grunt work and exploitation, less stuff even, and a more blissful, rewarding, authentic life. 

They don't want to sacrifice their best years to support an increasingly losing venture regardless of how hard you work.

Tang ping is a cat on a leash falling down and refusing to move - there is not much that anyone can do about it. You can take it for a walk if you like, but you will have to drag that cat down the sidewalk.

Thing is, the cat isn't going to do anything until you release it from its bondage. Everything just wants to be free, and if you can't provide that, we will find a way of providing it for ourselves, regardless of where we live, and what our nationality is.

The Not Buying Anything blog approves of this movement. In fact, we are in full supine support of our Chinese simple living brothers and sisters. 

In solidarity, I lie flat. Let us exit the matrix together.

"I 'lie flat' because this is the way my life is meant to be. If people think I'm a loser, then so be it." - Zhang

August 19, 2023

When Counting Your Chickens, Only Count The Real Ones

How many chickens are there?

I learned something about chickens, and reality, when I cared for our neighbour's birds for a week.

One should not count one's chickens before they hatch, or before you actually see them. In other words, confine your thoughts to what is real and in your hands.

So what was real? Three chickens, or two?

The good news is that I did not lose a chicken. 

The bad news is that I thought I did based on a fantasy chicken that was not in the coop, but only existed in my brain.

Turns out there were only two chickens to start with, seeing as they only have a small coop. I should have worked that one out.

For some reason I thought there were three, so when only two returned to the coop for that first night, my fake chicken caused some fake stress.


I sure was happy to learn I didn't lose a bird. They really are beautiful. And we got our first eggs just the other day.

From the two chickens.




I'm chalking this one up to a simple lesson in what's real, and how the brain can be a trickster.

I don't need to make up what isn't there, and believe something that turned out to be quite false.

It's bad enough that there is a whole class of psychopaths in the world right now trying to change reality with the power of their fantasies.

But figuring out my own brain, one chicken at at time, inoculates me against the make believe of those lusting after a full basket of power and control.

Because you know what? 

A lot of their chickens are not going to hatch. Their brains are playing games with them. And us, if we let them.

Know thyself. 

And know thychickens.

August 15, 2023

National Relaxation Day

Today I learned that August 15th is National Relaxation Day in many countries.

Here is a write up for Canada that I read this morning.

"Coinciding with warm summer days, outdoor activities such as hiking, picnicking, or swimming can be explored as forms of relaxation. National Relaxtion Day is observed annually on August 15th, allowing everyone to emphasize the importance of relaxation and self-care in their lives."

That sounds nice. Relaxation is a requirement for mental health. And there is a bit of a suicide epidemic going on, recently reaching record levels.

So is it a national holiday, then? Because our relaxation is so important?

"Well, no. You will have to relax on your own damn time. Get back to work."

That's not very relaxing. But it is the reality for a great many people around the world.

Relaxers of the world unite! 

When we are done relaxing. Tomorrow, maybe.

August 14, 2023

Good Enough

Some people want the best of everything. 

Not me. 

For me, good enough is just fine.

10,000 steps a day may be the magic number you need to stay healthy and fit.

But a new study shows that even less than 5,000 steps might be good enough to show a benefit.

A $3,000 dollar bicycle would be amazing, but a $500.00 bike would be good enough.

Being a vegan is a great way to show respect for all living creatures. 

For me, being a vegetarian is good enough.

An RV with all the bells and whistles would be the ultimate camping vehicle.

In my experience, a tent is good enough.

A 2,000 sq ft house would have lots of room to do things, and put things. It would feel spaciously comfortable.

From experience, I know that about 600 sq ft is good enough.

A 75 inch big screen TV would be fun to watch.

I have never had anything bigger than a 14 inch computer screen for watching stuff, because, that's right, it is good enough.

A person could spend a lot of time perfecting most everything they do. Often, no one notices or cares.

Therefore, limiting effort to attain just good enough is usually adequate.

I don't care to have the latest, greatest, and fastest.

Good enough is perfectly fine.

August 12, 2023

Strong Town's Essential Reading List

Looking for a good read? 

Perhaps some non-fiction that might help explain how the world got to the point we are at now?

Or maybe you want to get prepared for whatever crazy crap happens next. 

Like economic collapse, or all out WWIII, things that the West seems to want badly for some strange reason.

Or perhaps you are wondering what happened to all the corner grocery stores we enjoyed as kids.

Here are a few selections that might help. All 15 books come from the Strong Towns Essential Reading List

The Strong Towns organization is a non-profit group working toward making North American towns more liveable and successful for the citizens living in them.   

The list was compiled by Chuck Marohn, President and founder of Strong Towns, as examples of thinkers that had influenced and inspired him in his work. 

The List

The Black Swan - Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Cities and the Wealth of Nations - Jane Jacobs

Collapse - Jared Diamond

The Economics of Good and Evil - Tom Sedlacek

Crisis Economics - Nouriel Roubini

The Long Emergency - James Howard Kunstler
Risk - John Adams

Suburban Nation - Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, and Jeff Speck
Walkable City - Jeff Speck

Tactical Urbanism - Mike Lydon and Anthony Garcia
The Original Green - Steve Mouzon 

Outliers - Malcolm Gladwell

Thinking Fast and Slow - Daniel Kahneman

The Righteous Mind - Jonathan Haidt

A Paradise Built in Hell - Rebecca Solnit

I have only read one of these books, Collapse, and enjoyed it. I will be giving my library card a work out as I go through some of the rest of these over the next few months.

Note: If you liked this list, you can find the Strong Towns Ultimate Reading List here - it contains the above 15 books, plus many more.

Reading such books can add to our understanding, which can lead to effective actions, which can result in significant changes, so good reading to you. 


August 8, 2023

Buy Less, Share More

Wouldn't it be wonderful if people would buy less and share more?

Already, much of what humans do for each other is done for free. The paid economy could not survive without the support of the unpaid one at the base. 

Parents raise their kids for free. When you help your friend move you don't expect to be paid at the end. 

The volunteer movement is huge, with people doing free things for other people every day.

People give each other things all the time. For free. Because people are generous and cooperative by nature, regardless of what consumer capitalism teaches us. 

Some people and organizations think we should have more of that, and I agree.  

Two such organizations are The Freecycle Network, and The Buy Nothing group.

The gift economy keeps things out of the dump, and strengthens community bonds. That is what is facilitated in these groups.

The Freecycle Network - Changing The World One Gift At A Time

Welcome to The Freecycle Network™! We are a grassroots & entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving and getting stuff for free in their own Towns. It's all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. Membership is free. Sign up now.

Buy Nothing Project - Buy Nothing, Share Everything

BuyNothing offers people a way to give and receive, share, lend, and express gratitude through a worldwide gift economy network in which the true wealth is the web of connections formed between people. We believe that communities are more resilient, sustainable, equitable, and joyful when they have functional gift economies.

When money enters the picture, the energy flow of the Universe gets gummed up when we succumb to greed and hoarding behaviour.

This scarcity mindset jams up the free flow of the vital life force, and pits us against one another. 

But this energy is limitless, and there is enough for everyone. In the end, one will find that when you give, you also receive. 

It is a much more abundant and joyful experience than acquisition in the marketplace of selfishness that capitalism is based upon.

Do you have any experience with either of these groups, or something like them? How has it worked out for you? 

August 1, 2023

Dumb Consumer Item Of The Month - Stuff That Makes Us Sedentary

Spoon... so... heavy.

A lot of consumer products are things that invite us to be lazy. 

The products highlighted this month are sought after by those aspiring to live in the comfortable, warm embrace of a pod, and in the meantime do less, and expend less effort while doing so. 

"Work is for people that can't buy our fabulous labour-saving products."

These same advertisers claim their products are "more efficient", but there is nothing wrong with a bit of physical effort every now and then. 

Lack of physical effort causes great harm. Inactivity is one of the four main risk factors for preventable chronic diseases. 

See also our KidHugger. Never touch your kids again!

Many consumer nations are experiencing a pandemic of inactivity. Levels of sedentary behaviour are twice as high in high-income countries compared to low-income countries. 

The result is putting a great strain on consumers, medical systems, families, and the work place.

What, babies aren't low maintenance like hamsters?
Someone should have told me before I bought this thing.

Inactivity affects mood, muscles, bones, heart, joints, levels of blood sugar and lungs. Bones weaken, body weight accumulates, heart and other organs break down or cease to function.

Late stage consumerism is really good at encouraging and enabling stuff like that. It is not the healthiest way to go, and it could kill you or someone you love. 

So go ahead and pick up that spoon, save some money, and manually stir that beverage to your heart's content. 

You'll live longer, and be happier.