A vacation from our high-tech, high-pressure lives is always welcome. But what if we could make that freedom and contentment with life permanent, instead of returning to the rat race after a one- or two-week escape?
An alternative way of living, called Voluntary Simplicity – or sometimes the Simpler Way – will be discussed at the next Transition Brockville presentation on Sunday, April 23, 2 p.m., at the Brockville Public Library.
Chris Stesky, a member of the Transition Brockville steering committee, will introduce the concept, offer some insights from her experience, and invite the audience to share stories from their own journey toward a simpler life.
Following the discussion, everyone is invited to a celebrate Transition Brockville’s 10th anniversary. There will be a look back at the group’s history, appreciation of those who have contributed over the years, and a delicious cake and treats.
Minimalism is a lifestyle in which you reduce your possessions to the least possible. Living with only the bare essentials has not only provided superficial benefits such as the pleasure of a tidy room or the simple ease of cleaning, it has also led to a more fundamental shift. It’s given me a chance to think about what it really means to be happy.
We think that the more we have, the happier we will be. We never know what tomorrow might bring, so we collect and save as much as we can. This means we need a lot of money, so we gradually start judging people by how much money they have. You convince yourself that you need to make a lot of money so you don’t miss out on success. And for you to make money, you need everyone else to spend their money. And so it goes.
So I said goodbye to a lot of things, many of which I’d had for years. And yet now I live each day with a happier spirit. I feel more content now than I ever did in the past.
Our guest speaker from last Sunday, Agata Bedynski, has kindly made her slide set available. She writes:
I’d like to say to all of you folks on the Transition Brockville steering committee — my heart feels so much warmth and empathy for you — you are doing a wonderful job of informing those around you about a better way to live on the Earth. So much respect goes out to you for your work and dedication, even though at times I can imagine that you put in a lot more than you may see coming back to you. Such is the nature of this work, but I know your hearts are telling you to do it, and there are those out here that recognize your input to making life on this planet more sustainable, rational and humble. In the end you are doing something positive and creative in putting forth solutions to our worldly problems– all of your energy and time has a payoff, even if you don’t always see results immediately. I love what your group is doing in your local area. Thank you for your good work!
Insurge Intelligence / Nafeez Ahmed / 23 December 2016
The fact is, as individuals, neither of us has the power to change the entire world. And that’s okay. We need to accept that, and focus on what we can change, rather than obsessing over what we can’t, which is precisely an egoistic symptom of the prevailing paradigm.
So there you have it, three easy steps to changing the world:
Start with you
Continue with those around you
Create something new
Then, as an integral part of creating something new: encourage each of those around you, working with you, to adopt and pass on the message of these three simple steps.
In his book The Cabin, architect and cabinologist Dale Mulfinger outlines what he feels are the minimum qualifications for a dwelling to be considered a cabin:
The site is chosen for its natural beauty.
A cabin offers easy access to the outdoors, both through exterior rooms and through great views from the inside. A cabin adds to the land, never dominating it.
A cabin provides simple, basic shelter.
It isn’t fancy. It doesn’t try to make a social statement, as houses often do. A small efficient floor plan is all it needs.
Overlapping activities take place within the compact quarters.
Thus a cabin promotes companionship and community spirit.
Everybody feels at home right away.
A cabin’s furnishings are simple, often treasured family hand-me-downs. Its sleeping lofts, tucked under the eaves, evoke memories of childhood. Its fireplace or woodstove provides physical and emotional warmth.
Transition initiatives share many of the same goals as other groups, and works collaboratively with a variety of organizations in their local areas. Transition differs in that it focuses specifically on preparing communities for the changes associated with unprecedented resource depletion and transitioning away from fossil-fuel dependency.
Wind turbines are responsible for 0.01% of bird fatalities from man made causes. The more important causes are buildings (58%), power lines (14%), cats (11%), and pesticides (7%). All other causes were less than 1%.