simplicity

Thursday, September 11, 2008

“Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand . . . keep your accounts on your thumb-nail. . . . Simplify, simplify. Instead of three meals a day, if it be necessary eat but one.”

Henry David Thoreau (Where I Lived and What I Lived For)

We have been admonished all along by the likes of Ghandi and Jesus, Thereau and Ram Dass. Get rid of your stuff; physical mental and emotional, and keep it simple. Here, now. At some point in my life this started looking like good advice I did not fully understand. How could I think I truly understood these ideas, embraced these ideas and still have all this stuff? A kitchen with many, many drawers full of stuff. I knew pretty much where everything in that room was. A “to do” list that scrolled onto the next page! Literally tons of stuff in a shop that required more tons of stuff outside in materials racks and sheds. Bedroom closets, bathroom closets, night stands, good god how far can this go on? A pile of plans I routinely admitted just were not going to get done. Glove boxes in three cars. How can someone with all this stuff claim to have even a glimmer of a clue what Thereau is talking about? Honesty eventually took over and I admitted this all looked like good advice, I sincerely believed these people were telling me the truth, but I just wasn’t getting it.

I developed the idea that this, as I once described burningman was “something impossible to describe from the inside and impossible to understand from the outside.” I had just returned from burningman 1999 and was standing in a small circle which included a couple people that had not been. One asked the inevitable question, “so, what is burningman like?”

I had heard things like “one cannot think their way to a better way of living, one can only live their way to a better way of thinking” and, one of my favorites, a quote from Ray Bradbury: “You’ve got to walk up to the edge of the cliff, jump off, and build your wings on the way down.” I had to live it before I could think it. How?

I have dreamed of living on the road, free, “mobile” as The Who put it, since early life. It seems to be a normal, common dream among people. We were nomadic originally. Perhaps it is genetic, primal, whatever. A friend had said, “if you want to get rid of a bunch of stuff, move onto a boat.” It was a jest but the truth was unmistakable. The challenge for me with a boat is it is difficult to step out of a boat into a grocery store. Perhaps a motor home?

So I moved into a motor home. And now I think I get it.

I did move on to a boat about five years later. More on that soon!

 

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