Learning Simplicity

Welcome to springtime, Middletown!  I know today is pretty dreary, but rain trumps snow in my book today!  Lots to celebrate.

Something I decided early on in the Goodness Collective journey was that I wouldn’t post things unless I felt inspired & had content to post.  Well, turns out February was altogether uninspiring for me.  So, my sincerest apologies for not being more active.  I still stand by not posting for the sake of posting, though – the goal of the Goodness Collective movement is simply to celebrate Middletown as I experience it.

That being said – I’m just one human being!  I need and want to know what’s going on around town!  If you know of events, speakers, businesses, meetings, etc. that you think this community needs to hear about, would you let me know?  Leave me a comment or email me (you can find my email on the Contact page, or just click here!)

In my last post, I mentioned a watercolor artist named Dave Bailey and promised to speak on him more in another post!  So here I am.  Though I didn’t get to spend much time with him in preparation for this post, I was struck by his work (so lovely!) and was inspired by his inspiration : the Amish community.

While he was giving me a tour of his studio, Dave told me a beautiful story of his friend, who was Amish, who stopped everything he was doing, gathered his family and helped him move.  He told me how touched he was, surprised even, by their generosity and willingness to serve him.  And it got me thinking: what is it that keeps all of us from doing things like Dave’s friends?

I’m sure there are a lot of answers: selfishness, laziness, general busyness, having pets, etc.  But one thing rides on the back of all of those things: our attachment to stuff, whether material possessions or less tangible emotional comforts or statuses.  The world, our community, is glaringly hesitant to give up things in order to help fellow man because in giving of our time, effort, money, etc., we fear missing the opportunity to get more for ourselves (more time, more money, more recognition, I could go on.)

But there’s something so evocative, something so alluring about lives of simplicity, isn’t there?  Sure, electricity is great and so is indoor plumbing (pardon my absolute ignorance of the Amish lifestyle!), but doesn’t it kind of sound awesome to just be done with all the junk we cram ourselves into and full of and just exist? Haven’t you ever wished to be back somewhere, sometime that was simpler?  Maybe your childhood.  I sure have.

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In my online life (which is growing deeper and broader and, frankly, more consuming), I’m realizing this shift toward simplicity and, I have to say, it is so refreshing.  Take, for example, the recent trend of a capsule wardrobe (37 items of clothing per season, one shopping trip, that’s it].  I found out about it from one of my favorite bloggers and have totally embraced the idea and practice.  It’s tough, especially the part where you get rid of all of your clothes that you feel make you “cool”.  But once I got into the swing of things, I’ve felt so free!  It takes planning, budgeting and a lot of self-control (like not trying on all of the beautiful things at Anthropologie even though I desperately want to!)  All in pursuit of living a simpler, more intentional life.

Or, for those of you less fashion-inclined, take the entire industry of organic farming!  Now, I will absolutely not claim to be an expert, and I know that organic farming is a humongous beast I could never totally understand, but isn’t the entire purpose of farming without chemicals to simplify our diet, our bodies and our overall health?  It spun everything we knew and loved about convenience (which is much different from simplicity!) around and around until we realized Wait, they’re right!  I shouldn’t be packing my body full of fertilizers and food coloring!  Simplifying is cool.  Trendy, even.  And I think I’m okay with that.

Even visual marketing and entertainment have tapped into the simplifying movement – from the simple, one-image logos of major companies to the single-camera style of filming.  We are drawn to simplicity.  Why?  I’m going to dare to say because it’s just better for us.

So, I’m going to keep practicing my self-control and keep things simple, without stepping up on any more soap boxes and be finished.  Don’t forget to let me know about things, events or people you think need to be written about.

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