Duane Elgin is a hero of mine. He is a pioneer of the Simplicity Movement which encourages the people of the more developed world to seek more depth in their lives and remove more of the distractions and the clutter. He is featured in this video which is well worth watching for a good overview. (Also see my launch day post of 9/6/13 for additional comments on slowing down).
From the arrival of the first Europeans, America has attracted people looking for a better life. Many of them felt that the way to achieve this goal was through a simple and spiritual way of living.
From the Puritans of Massachusetts and the Quakers in Pennsylvania in the 1600's, to the rural based Republicanism of Thomas Jefferson's followers in the 1700's, to the nature respecting Transcendentalists of the 1800's, each century has had a social movement that sought better living through simplicity.
The 20th and 21st century movements have been under way since the 1960's and were refined in the 1990's and into the new millennium, so we have some amazing guides and examples to go by to make OUR lives more manageable. Across the nation, groups of concerned citizens are gathering together to learn from and with each other about alternatives to destructive busy lifestyles.
As one of the early teachers of the movement, Cecile Andrews puts it:
"The concept of Simplicity is not, as some might think, a life of "self deprivation." It is a turning away from activities that have failed to deliver satisfaction— activities such as shopping and scrambling up the career ladder — in order to embrace activities that bring true joy and meaning — creativity, community, and the celebration of daily life.
Simplicity is "the examined life" in which we explore not only what creates fulfillment in our personal lives, but we ask which public policies create societies of justice and environmental well-being. Simplicity touches all aspects of our lives, including the issues of time, work, vocation, community, spending, consuming, health, social justice, and spirituality."
I couldn't have said it better myself! Simplifying is a wholistic idea which should pervade our lives and give us more joy and meaning. It's what Americans are saying they are yearning for but somehow lack the focus or will to move towards. Please check out the resources below this article, FOCUS, AND SIMPLIFY. It could save the rest of your life!
An excellent article on the power of Simplicity Circles:
"Circle of Simplicity - Return To The Good Life", by Cecile Andrews. A manual to creating your own study circles and examining issues over a 10 week course outlined by the master.
"The Simple Living Guide", by Janet Luhrs. Janet is the founder and editor of the Simple Living Journal which bills itself as "a sourcebook for less stressful, more joyful living" and lives up to it's billing! Chock full of great ideas and advice.
"Simplify Your Life - 100 Ways to Slow Down and Enjoy the Things That Really Matter", Elaine St. James. Some real life examples of how one couple have made the move to a life that is "outwardly simple and inwardly rich." Lots of good ideas here!