Voluntary simplicity, was The Pause that Refreshes

From: altamira (altamira@ecpi.com)
Date: Mon Jun 05 2000 - 16:33:24 MDT

Hey Brian,

I'd like to see more on this topic. I've been living this way for a few
years now and have never been happier. It's not that I wouldn't like to
have more money--or, more accurately, to have more of the things money
buys--but the opportunity to savor each day fully is worth more to me than
the money would be.

When I was in the process of making the decision to discontinue my urban law
practice and move to the country I pondered the lifestyle I'd choose if I
had a nearly unlimited supply of money. I decided I'd live in the country
and divide my time fairly evenly between gardening, study, and writing, with
enough social interaction thrown in to keep me from becoming a hermit (I
tend to be a rather solitary person). I realized I didn't have to
accumulate a large sum of money in order to do this very thing, and I'm now
living a lifestyle that's close to my ideal. Perhaps if I had more money I'd
live in a mansion rather than a self-built adobe hovel. But then again,
maybe not...every square foot of my house was built for my own purposes; the
place fits me like a well-worn shoe, and it's been fun building it.

Did any particular event prompt you to investigate a simpler lifestyle? My
eyes began to open to wider possibilities when I spent a morning hanging out
with a woman named Donna. She was one of those generally referred to as
"homeless" although I don't think she would have characterized herself in
that way. She'd found some pieces of lumber and sheet metal and built a
shelter in a vacant city lot; she'd planted a little vegetable garden there
next to her shelter. She told me that the night before she'd found some
lobster and shrimp in a grocery store dumpster and had invited a bunch of
homeless people to share in her bounty. "I have so much," she told me, "I
feel as though I should share."

It occurred to me that overall, Donna's quality of life was higher than
mine, although she was jobless and I enjoyed a position in one of the more
highly paid professions. Her days were her own; she lived by her own clock
and didn't feel constantly rushed by this or that deadline; and she felt
herself wealthy enough to indulge in charity. I'm forever grateful to this
woman, whom I never saw again after that day.

Meeting Donna didn't move me to take up a life on the streets, but I began
to give my thoughts a much wider scope in imagining possible futures for


-----Original Message-----
From: owner-extropians@extropy.com
[mailto:owner-extropians@extropy.com]On Behalf Of Brian D Williams

I am currently pursuing a more advanced state of what could be
termed "voluntary simplicity" in pursuit of this goal.

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