I was at the christening recently of a three year old girl (who was with difficulty persuaded that her Fireman Sam outfit wasn't the best thing to wear on the day!). Her Grandma wrote this inside her bible:
'If I had influence over the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world would be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life.'
It's by Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring.
Isn't that a beautiful thing to wish a child?
If thou of fortune be bereft
And in thy store there be but left
Two loaves, sell one, and with the dole
Buy hyacinths to feed thy soul.
Moslih Eddin Saadi
Another variation on this idea, from China I believe, is that if you only have enough money for two bowls of rice, you should buy one so that you can live, and a lily so that you have something to live for.....
What nourishes your soul? And can you do it today?
In Dostoevsky's The Idiot the house of Rogojin is decribed as 'like a burial ground' - 'Such a full life as he leads is so overflowing with absorbing interests that he has no need of assistance from his surroundings.'
I think I do need 'assistance from my surroundings' and my home is one of my absorbing interests.
I treat this alcove in our sitting room a bit like the alcove, known as tokonoma in a traditional Japanese house, which is set aside for the display of beautiful objects. I believe the Japanese way is not to have all your treasures out at once but to change the display with the seasons, something I love to do.
I try to have something beautiful on this shelf, and to keep it simple. Flowers always, a card, a candle, a favourite bowl....I change it often. It makes me feel calm and relaxed to look at it.
It feeds my soul.
Google 'tokonoma' and click on the words 'images for tokonoma' (not the pictures) for lots of exquisite examples of these beautiful alcoves....
I tried focussing on contentedness yesterday, and what I found was that it brings you into the present moment in a really nice way.
I didn't have time to iron the t shirt I wanted to wear so I thought 'OK I'll be content wearing the one I wore yesterday.'
I just missed a ferry - by seconds - and thought 'OK I'll just be content sitting here while I'm waiting for the next one.'
Finding my thoughts rushing off at tangents on what I mightdo/will do/should do (a frequent occurrence) I remembered, and thought 'but I'll just be content with what I'm doing now, for the moment.'
Just by saying 'I'll be content' I found that I was content, and guess what?
Life just got simpler!
....thanks for that phrase Julia - I find myself using it all the time!
Leo Babatua on his mnmlist blog recently summarised his philosophy in this very simple way. He suggests -
Learn to find contentedness
Get rid of unecessary stuff
Spend your time doing inexpensive and free things instead of shopping
Go car-lite. Do things in your home and neighbourhood much of the time
Cook for yourself
Don't try to impress others
Sounds like a very relaxed person, yes?
....today I'll focus on contentedness.....
It's so easy to lose a sense of perspective about money, don't you think?
One day it occurred to me that if I give money away (and I do, to charities) then that very fact must mean that I have enough!
It was very nice to realise this.
'I have enough money' is therefore all I'm going to say about money, for now....
There's no present like the time.
Give yourself some time off! Go on. Half an hour, a couple of hours, a day, a week-end, a week, a month, a year, or two!
Plan it now.
The sky won't fall in. Promise.
(thanks to both inspirational Liz's...)
I'm celebrating,with flowers and a new painting, while reflecting on a year of blogging about trying to live more simply.
It's hard to be simple in a complex world, with so many things competing for one's attention.
I'm taking a little blog holiday while I decide just how I am going to navigate my painting path.
Tonight at dinner I will raise a glass to you all and thank you for listening.