Friday, May 6, 2011

Pale Green Things...

Sometimes the things you need are attracted to you. They come to you without your asking, maybe even without you knowing that you need them. They can be anything: plants, animals, objects, colors, or best of all, people. Reading all your lovely, thoughtful, long comments I feel like I must have done something right in this life or the last, to have gathered such an amazing collection of kindred spirits. (A special thank you for chiming in to those of you who don't usually comment or are new to this log.)
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As you may know, I generally don't reply to comments (I don't have the time, and I would much rather check our you log and leave you one.), but now I feel that the only way this conversation idea is going to work is my by answering your questions, expanding on ideas you've brought to me and countering your arguments.

While, as Adie pointed out, we sadly can't all of us just sit down with some wine (or preferably Adie and Art's delicious home-brewed beer) and hash it all out, I'm hoping that we can have an exchange of ideas, one that we can all get something out of. I know I've certainly already gained a wealth of new thoughts and strength from just reading all your comments.
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Lately, in addition to lovely folk, I've been attracting gifts, particularly in the color green so the pictures accompanying this post are of all the different wondrous things I've been blessed with lately. Like this dress scored at a clothing exchange that used to be my dear friend Sona's when she was a teenager.
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The dress itself is lovely, but it means so much more because it was hers at such a crucial time in her life. To boot, Sona and her hubby gifted us with a big hunk of rhubarb, which is pretty much the only thing besides peas enjoying this cold weather.
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Even back in California, both Missa and Amber gave me some lovely green things, and since then they have just kept on coming, culminating with a package from Heather, entitled "The Forest Dweller" (a title I am delighted to accept), which contained a number of beautiful things, among them a green corduroy dress and a little green romper.
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(I spy with my little eye a sticker from Violet Folklore?)

"How did she get from Simple Living to clothes so quickly?" You may be wondering quietly to yourself. Well, since I don't have Brigit's mad posting-from-the-future-skillz, I have accumulated a collection of green-hued outfits in the last week or so and I wanted to share them with you. And there is a pons asinorum (in Finnish we call this tactic literally "donkey's bridge", ) in here somewhere.
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See, all your insightful, encouraging comments were actually quite the relief for me, because it took me a while just to craft up that post in all its briefness, for the worry that I was going to sound like a self-righteous schmuck. As Amber pointed out, a lot of people who talk of Simplicity are all about doing it their way, and over-hauling your life completely, buying this new life-style just as much as the one they are trying to separate from.
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(Cat postcards, calico notebooks feathers and CDs from Darin, oh my!♡)

In spite my proclamations to the contrary I sometimes feel like I somehow have no right to post about things of any seriousness, when in the very next sentence I exclaim over my new-to-me-frock.

I'm certainly not the poster child for living simply, without frivolities. As much as someone else might think I'm living some sort of dream-life, I still spend a lot of time berating myself for things I've done less thoughtfully than I'd have liked to, agonize over choices and ponder my hypocrisies (like the afore-mentioned dress vs. seriousness-a topic for another post altogether).

But I think that's exactly why we all need to talk about this, because so many of us are attempting to get closer to the land, some ephemeral idea of freedom calling us, and instead of feeling ashamed of the ways in which we fail, or don't comply with some image we have, we need to hear from others and learn that there are many different little ways of doing these things. Like Missa said in her comment, we all need to be very merciful towards ourselves, taking small steps towards our ideals.
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I feel like part of why we've slowly formed this informal community, is to connect with like-minded souls, to give each other strength and inspiration. (And, occasionally, pretty frocks...)
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(A Moonshine Junkyard original hand-made top for summer-whoo!)

We can also only do things within our resources; someone living in a city (though living in a city doesn't seem to much hinder simple living ;), working a 9-5 may not much benefit from the exact ideas I might have, nor is it necessary for them to try to do what I, or someone else is doing. If having an old car, or chickens doesn't fit in your current life, then what the heck, do something else.

Amber, someone who's amazing energy I've always admired from a distance (The girl is an awesome mom, a vintage seller, herbalist witch woman and a prodigious reader, who somehow still manages to take up to 2 baths a day. Seriously, I find the latter to be an almost magical feat ;), mentioned that she actually felt grateful that she didn't have a good spot for a garden because it's one less thing to do. Yet, for as long as I've known her, I've looked up to her as someone who's very mindful in her life choices. (Check out this wealth of information on motherhood, mindful child rearing, health, food and family she's got archived in this beautiful log. I remember first reading her daughter Mycelia's birth story and being just blown away the confidence and thoughtfulness her and her partner Graham had as they made their first decisions as young parents.)
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(Produce gifted by a friend who got it from a friend of theirs who you-picked it on trip to California. They brought back hundreds of pounds of fruit and shared it with everyone.)

Simplicity to me, is not some dreamy ideal of living in the country and having the most perfect rustic life, but rather the whole glorious spectrum of existence; going to the grocery store, mending the same sock for the third time, walking in the woods, trading jams, doing laundry...

Actually, doing laundry is of my favorite indulgences. After getting a (free!) washer and dryer late last year, (after two years of day-long laundromat runs) I love and appreciate it so. Which, of course is another perk of Simplicity, the appreciation for the smallest, most mundane things, like being able to cook and do laundry at the same time! This particular joy makes me feel so connected to my grandma, a mother of five, who in the fifties got her very first hand-crank washer.
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Nicky commented that a part of her rebelled against the idea of living as simply as us (and we really are not that out there at all in our circle of folk), because if everyone did what we do, our society (I'm paraphrasing here so correct me if I'm not getting the gist of it right m'dear) wouldn't be able to function. And perhaps it wouldn't.
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I totally respect Nicky's more "mainstream" point-of-view, but also believe that to a degree we are all of us engaged in some degree of simple living here, whether it be in the form of crafting, vintage selling, or gardening. It really is only a matter of degrees.

And while there could be endless debate about what we really need and what parts of our complex society are necessary to whom, I do believe that everyone in our Western world could do with a little more time and connection to the land. Whether it's moving to a shack without electricity, or growing some herbs on your windowsill, doesn't really matter.
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Though I find myself getting more radical with each passing year, I'm totally not into judging others who make the conscious choice to follow different paths. It's just that a lot of folk seem to fall into patterns like the "work-spend cycle" without ever thinking they had other options. Voluntary simplicity to me is just about having a few more choices.
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Financial security, or the illusion of it, stirred a variety of different emotions in the comments.
Many of you confessed that you were "forced" to choose a simpler life-style because of financial difficulties, but were making the best of it, while others stated that some of the happiest, most care-free times in their lives had been the materially least abundant and financially least stable.
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As Adie mentioned this most recent "recession" (see the ridiculous definition to explain why I used quotation marks) has had a lot of positive effects on those who were already on the fringes of the strange amorphous entity they call the economy (I kind of think that economy is sort of like the Jabberwocky. Except less real.).

Most micro-economies have actually gained strength from the growing disillusionment in mainstream economy. People buy a lot more hand-made and local goods and the appreciation fine craftsmanship, durability and originality seems to be on the rise.

The hand-made culture has not seen a renaissance like this since 70s, thrifting has gone mainstream, craigslist is flourishing and the organic movement actually gained momentum during this downturn. We now make more person-to-person business transactions than we have since since the 60s. And while this movement was in full swing before the downturn, it seemed gain further strength from it.

All these small actions we are part of is helping create an alternative economy, one in which we can get more deeply immersed and participate in, rather than just being passive consumers.
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(A beautiful dress from Heather. A beautiful second skin for this forest dweller.)

While both food and consumption are definite topics for future posts, I will add that the first advice I would give to anyone starting out on Simplicity would be to start eating local and organic. I know it's the same old tip, given more eloquently by many more talented writers, but that's where its at. Alissa who asked for my ideas on starting in a more simpler direction is already doing this in her lovely blog.
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I'm hoping to come up with other concrete ideas to dispense over the next Simplicity posts.

One facet of Simplicity, that kept appearing in your comments, and one with which we could all experiment (see the best advice is coming from ya'll), is bartering-the exchange of goods and services without money changing hands.
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Teeny's recent experiences with trades have certainly been very inspiring to follow. From her bartering home-grown produce for all kinds of fabulous goodies, to Amber's giving some time to "pay" for Mycelia's pre-school, to our very own trades in the form of clothes swaps, exchanging goods and services is a great way for everyone to get what they need and get to know their friends and neighbours a little better in the process. It's definitely something I'd like to do more of and am quite in awe of Teeny's little bartering circle.
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Being so used to putting a monetary value on things, can really hinder one's bartering confidence, which is exactly why it's so important to engage in it; to remember that money is not everything and to feel empowered by the fact that one does not always need it. In addition to getting something you need, or rid of something you don't, you can also gain the satisfaction of helping your fellow folk along the way.
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As Mary pointed out, receiving gifts, barter items, or help makes you in turn more generous with your time and resources. You start parting with things with much more joy and deliberation. Giving becomes more pleasurable than receiving when you know there's more than monetary value in question. Even things that you paid money for, but weren't quite right, those cursed items you hang onto year after year in the hopes of getting your money's worth someday, become easy to pass along.
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A few years ago C. and I were debating buying a fan for our wood stove (it helps distribute the heat more evenly around the house), a purchase though not big, still relatively pricey for us just then (over a hundred bucks). We ended up deciding we needed it, but shortly after we made our purchase, his cousin got us one for a surprise wedding present. In debating whether to return our fan and get a refund, or maybe try to sell it on our community's excellent notice board (a lot of bartering going on there!), we suddenly realized that some friend's of ours didn't actually have one and decided to give it to them as a "baby-warming gift" (they were about to become parents) instead.
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Would we normally have bought them a hundred-dollar gift? Probably not. But faced with the generosity of others it was easy for us to be generous in turn. I feel like C.'s cousin gave us two gifts instead of one and as much as I appreciate the lovely, warmth-spreading fan, I appreciate the lesson even more.
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Imagining a neighbor enjoying your prize tomatoes, or a fellow blog-sister frolicking in the dress you hand-picked, as well as receiving such gifts is a feeling entirely unlike shopping for goods. There is independence and thought and love in these exchanges.

The human contact enabled by these simple acts, is not something money can ever buy.
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In fact, it seems to me that there are actually very few real things money can buy. I was incensed to read of the comments the lovely Anne has had to endure in regards to her and her husband's finances and their impending (very, very impending ;) family of six: "and speaking of having children (and not having a lot of money)...well that is something that just doesn't go over well! i can't tell you how many people have been disgusted that i'm pregnant again in current financial situation."
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(Skirt and top from Amber. More of beloved memories from California.)

The idea that children would need anything more than one or more loving parents, a roof over their heads and some food on the table, some extended family, natural beauty and adventure is laughable to me. What else could they need? Princess videos? New bikes? Plastic swingsets? Do they need a bigger home? A minivan? Do they come out of the womb asking for anything more than nourishment and love and warmth? When it comes right down to it: do any of us need more than that?
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(There was a little embroidered handkerchief in the pocket, courtesy of one Mycelia Violet. I shall always keep it there♡.)

(Thank goodness Anne has a good head on her shoulders and is surrounded by grounded,awesome ladies, both online and off. I'm in awe of all the crafty, thrifty, earthy and stylish mothers keeping it real, I've had the pleasure of getting to know through this weird, digital land (here we go with the connection again!). I feel like I have this awesome resource for wisdom at my fingertips, should I ever need mothering knowledge in the future ;)
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Separating need and want, social pressure from choice, can be some of the harder things to confront when embarking on a simpler life, but as Sara pointed out, what we need is instinctive to us, if we do enough reflection on what matters to us the most, it's relatively easy to find our way. And judging from all your comments you are finding just that, each on your own path.
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I hope this conversation helps you get a little further down the road. It is certainly helping me, affirming, encouraging, empowering. Let's keep going, who knows where we'll end up...
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We'll meet along the way, I know.
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Merry Spring my ladies of the meadows and city parks under the May Moon and skylarks and swallows,
Milla

22 comments:

  1. I came home from work just now, so, so, tired, a little down and logged on to the computer. It was a "Yippee! Milla has posted again!" moment. I just love reading your blog, truly I do, it makes me smile and gives me a little energetic boost. Thank you! ~Siobhan xo

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  2. Milla, my lovely friend, I'll echo the other girls and thank you for this post. I'll be honest with you- the idea of just how little we actually need has been growing in my mind. While I was reading The Dharma Bums, I kept saying, "Well, shit. Look how little Kerouac and Snyder needed. Look how free they were." They seemed happy, though the former did drink a LOT... Regardless, I've really been thinking that, despite everything I've ever been taught, I would be happy if I lived a very bare existence. Modern society, as you know, teaches you to workworkwork until you drop, just so you can spendspendspend. Where's the happiness there? Where's the substance? I just can't find it. There's no real value in objects, after all.

    The thing is, it can be SO hard to try and get out of that mode of thinking. I've given up on finding a job that will get me money at the cost of my emotional state (though I haven't told many people, just to save myself the headache). I don't want to go into work reluctantly and feel my stomach acid rising in my chest from anxiety. Honestly, when I finished that book, I said: "Fuck it all, I'm just going to go with freedom." Does any of this make sense? Maybe I'll make a post on it, just as soon as I get my thoughts together, hehe.

    Thank you again, girl!

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  3. Absolutely amazing... you my dear have a way with words that convey true feelings. There is afterall, so very many wonderful things that this world provides us without a single penny being given... Too many people fritter their days away chasing after what I wonder?? Give me a field full of butterflies to chase!! I'd rather go to my grave having lived a fulfilled life surrounded by wonderous spirits than to have lived alone in a mansion atop a hill. You are an inspiration, and following your blog has been a highlight on cloudy days :)
    Thank-you Milla <3

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  4. Wow. I feel that by reading your log I've discovered the secret password into this fascinating, brilliant, heartfelt (lets not forget gorgeous) scroll of perfectly written prose that helps me live my days better. I get such a kick out of your posts lady! This one has just spurred me on to continue bartering and seeking out local and organic food. I want you to know that you are not frivolous for enjoying your dresses, we can't be one dimensional people only living for one purpose. Surely your prettiness brings others happiness too. I always smile at your photos! Sometimes just trying to live Simply deserves praise in itself, afterall you are trying to reverse around 30 years of conditioning in a society that makes it easier to live by commerce and mass production...it is not easy. I'm so proud that you mentioned my bartering, thank you! What you wrote is true, it teaches us that giving feels better, and it does change the monetary perception of the item. OH, and I'm going to email you! I love your simply living posts, but i'm sure I told you that already. Much love and light
    x

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  5. i have really enjoyed these posts, milla. you are so thoughtful and do so much self reflection rather than just spouting off information. the way you reflect on each comment is really lovely. i need to be more open to listening like that. i tend to think I KNOW EVERYTHING!!!!
    and you look so beautiful in these pictures. your hair has grown so long! green becomes you.

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  6. Hello
    I love this post, I have followed you a while, and I think tis my first comment. This is such an honest and sublimely grateful post I cant help but respond in some way, I wonder what I can say, but this. The closer I get to seeing clearly what we really do need the happier I am. To live in awareness of aliveness and not to be consumed by consumerism is a like a new lease of life, Its absolute liberation. Words like yours here, your lovely pictures and blogs are an inspiration for us all to keep up the practice, or begin, or rediscover the practice of remembering who we are.

    Thanyou, you are doing us all a great service by sharing all of this with us.
    You might like to know, I am now about to go and pick flowers in the dark to lay around my daughters pillow. Her first front tooth has come out this evening and she has blissfully gone to dreamland in anticipation of a friendly fairy visit; )

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  7. it's so true, nothing feels better than passing along an item you own to someone you know will cherish it...and the more things i get rid of, the more free i feel! i agree that we don't really need that much (though if i had a washer/dryer of my own i would looove that, you lucky gal!) and living with less feels right to me. it settles and grounds me. thanks for sharing not just the beautiful path you are on, but also the foibles and humanity of the journey.

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  8. I don't think I was breathing the entire time I was reading that.dang girl. Thankyou for putting so much energy and beauty into your posts. I truly appreciate being connected with you .

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  9. Oh Millakin, this post is so beautiful. Seriously, I'm feelin' kind of awestruck and speechless. I don't even know what to say, so I'll just continue to quietly absorb your soul-nourishing words and images and join those who have already said it... Thanks friend, you are a true gem, pure and simple <3

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  10. Hi Milla!

    I've been enjoying this here blog for years now. I discovered it sometime after I moved to Helsinki 3 years ago from Northern California. Yes, I moved to Finland for love and yes, it's been very interesting reading about the life and thoughts of someone who is in the reverse situation I am. I've always resisted commenting thinking that someday I'll have a blog myself that you could check out but sadly that day has yet to come...so here I am (and it’s gonna be a long one)!

    Surprisingly, this post has brought up a lot of conflicting feelings for me. I totally agree with and deeply appreciate the basic premise of this post that time is more valuable than money and that gifting, bartering and consuming healthily, locally and sustainably are super commendable and create a life rich beyond riches. And I've always lived this way to a certain degree (though the organic/local eating element has gotten a bit more difficult up here).

    I guess my problem is with the assertion that one doesn't need much "financial security". I'll agree that this term can be illusory but it can also be very real. And I have concerns for both the very young and the very old living this lifestyle and/or working in low wage jobs. There is nothing ideal about basic needs, such as health care and sometimes food, going unmet. And I worry that a super pared down lifestyle where you supply/barter most of your goods and live off of very little money only works only for so long, what happens when you have too many mouths to feed? When your arthritis starts acting up? Or when you get sick? Which is why I too have become more radical as I get older but for me it has taken a more political tone. I hate to bring this up but it feels to me like the elephant in the room. Many of us living (okay, I live in Finland now but still, I’ve been/will probably be there) my on the fringes of our so-called economy are very susceptible to hardship if someone in our family gets sick, pregnant or even if we decide to get a college education.

    Personally, I want a 9-5. Not because I want an ipod but because I want security, real or imagined. Does anyone else feel the same way? How do you let go? Is it really just an illusion? Am I co-opting this conversation into territory it wasn’t supposed to go in? If so I’m sorry. I just wanted to join in the conversation with such obviously intelligent, conscientious girls who happen to dress well.

    By the way, this is the condensed version of my comment, minus my life story. Eek! I guess it's high time that a verbose woman such as myself start that little log of my own : )

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  11. lovely and thorough post! I never understood how much of a luxury a laundry machine is until I spent three months in Peru washing my clothes by hand. One place I stayed did have a "semi-automatic" which basically meant you had to keep taking the clothes in and out and transferring them to a spinning section- it was too funny and took way more time than hand washing! I thought I would continue to hand wash when I got back to the states, but relinquished that idea pretty quickly given the cold clime!

    love the photos too- can't wait to spend some time in the woods!

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  12. Milla the way you live is a great example of taking control of your life in a eco and humanfriendly way. Really beautiful, I am glad that you let us in to have a look. I feel very inspired reading your blog.
    Today I went to the market and bought local fruits/veggies and goat cheese. Yum!
    What I'de love, is a kitchen garden of my own. We only have a balcony, so we don't have a lot of options now. I am also studying for a teachers degree right now, so time is also limited. BUT soon as I have more time on my hands, I am going to look for an allotment. I want to grow my own food. :)

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  13. So well put Milla. All of it! Though a part of me rebelled while reading your last post... I too dive into the simple life in my own degree. We do have a garden in the back yard with herbs and veggies, fruit trees, and I shop at estate sales/thrift stores for our clothes (though I do love new ones too). We try to ride bikes around town or walk, and sort of barter with our neighbor who lets us pick oranges and lemons from his (delicious) trees and we have him over for dinner. We trade meals with a lovely hispanic family across the street (because who doesn't love Mexican food???) hahah, and take turns with friends watching each others children. I am quite blessed and see it more now as I write it!

    I love the idea of bartering for everything. Back in 2000, I trained to be a missionary. I thought that I would become a nurse and serve a people with my medical services and perhaps receive shelter and food in exchange. When I got pregnant with my first, my hubby and I realized we were called to stay where we were and "serve" here. Though the idea still dances in my head!

    I so admire the choices you are making for your own life. And I love the fact that you've got this conversation started. I do wish we could all meet up, trade, chat over wine, and just enjoy each other's company!

    You brought to light that this is the first time in a few decades that the handmade movement is flourishing again. I'm super excited to be a part of it and to have found others who are as well. I love your gifted outfits- especially the green skirt (with a hankie- HOW sweet!) and your green foresting outfit!!! Good and good! Thanks for getting my brain thinking this morning and for getting me excited to try and make bartering an even bigger part of my life. :D Happy Saturday!

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  14. giving and greenery. this is the truth of life, the realness, the beauty. i see how it is all a web of life-givingness, and your very post here contributes to that nourishment. i see it in a big sense and it fills my heart.

    i have loved reading everyone's comments. your blog posts feel almost personal to me because of the sisterhood shared in the comment section. connections like that fine and durable spiderweb.

    i especially enjoyed reading kyla's comment above for a slightly different perspective (although it seems in ideals there is much common ground). i am friends with many people who do not want 9-5 jobs (by which i mean good wages and benefits) and i am friends with some people who do and i find it an interesting mix. i think you can have a version of financial security without one, although let it be said that i am a dreamer and optimistic. i had a "real" job for several years and it was great, but i could not have done it any longer. i was 23 years old and had much desire for freedoms that job would not allow. since then i have had other great "odd" jobs that allow for much more freedom. i would hope that a sense of security would ultimately come from community. that is what greenery and giving are part of, and i think in the end it is what will save us. small communities full of love helping each other with what needs may arise. i would never feel out on a limb if i were to become sick or need to care for a loved one. in a very old fashioned but i hope very real sense, that is what friends, family, and neighbors are for. it makes our hearts grow huge and rich and it gives life meaning.

    work can do that too. if one has a passion that aligns itself with a normal job by all means, what a nice situation that could be. but for many of us, the "work" we do does not pay in money but in creative satisfaction. we find new ways and build new systems of stability out of balance and love.

    milla thank you again for your thoughtful conversations. you are radiant and glowing in green, as i suspected forest dweller! herbs and rhubarb, bees and cats, fly through your hands receiving blessings. your caring, patience, and earthy love shine all over this world. and i thank you sweet friend.

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  15. Milla Milla, sweet sweet sister. This is perhaps the most thoughtful and meaningful blog post I have ever read. You weave these (mycelial!) connections between so many relevant topics and people, ideas and inspirations, food for thought and women to admire. I think you're right, you sure did do something right at some point. but I think it was in this life, and I think it was the simple act of making the choices you're discussed here and opening your heart and sharing your kindness and wisdom with friends and strangers.

    Again, I was so struck with your sentence about financial security being a non-existent thing (just as imaginary as "the economy"). It seems just the right thing for Anne and her family, and so many other folks to hear. It seriously shifted something inside me and I have shared it with a number of people! It's so obvious once you think about it.

    I love Heather and her themed packages, and yours was just perfect. You look so darling in the green dress with the lace peeking out! Brilliant.

    I adore the photo of you bending over picking herbs in it. More than anything. And that photo of the nettles! I literally felt tingles looking at it. Trying to decide which of those two photos is going to become my new desktop...

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  16. Your pictures are so beautiful! Your blog inspires me so much. Lately I've really been trying to live simple. I've always lived quite simple, but I've been trying harder- especially when it comes to food- and your posts really help me to do that! I get ideas from them and it just helps me stay on track.

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  17. Lovely necklace!
    These pictures are so beautiful :)

    http://sweetharvestmoon.blogspot.com

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  18. Such an encouraging post - and thanks for all the links to the other bloggers :)

    I am loving the dresses!

    I am so grateful to have found your blog, because it makes me want to be braver and live more simply. It inspires me to be different. So thanks!

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  19. Oh Milla, I so love your writing. -- Your initial 'simple living post' kinda blew my mind when I first read it. I kept meaning to get my sentiments in the comment box, but never found proper time to sit down and explain how utterly inspired I was by the ideas you presented, and the debates that followed. The thing is, you do an amazing job at setting up your beliefs and life views without ever coming off the least bit pretentious. Something I've been turned off by with others, tossing around these same ideas.

    Personally, I am at a place in my life where I suddenly feel disgusted by all the "junk" around me. I think a lot of us are, which is why that post struck so many raw nerves. Almost like a cultural awakening in it's early phases? I know I've been working steadily at clearing out our home space, reducing monthly bills, buying less, wanting less, and thinking more about the things I do want. In other words: I don't want to pay for anything I (or my family) does not absolutely NEED, or CHERISH.

    In reality, my family is far from living a "simple life" (and Missa is right about it being much harder when children are involved) - but I think a conscious effort to move in that direction still feels liberating, and "right"- probably the main reason I can't get your post out of my head & have thought about it daily since I read it. I love that the conversation is there to pick at and share. I like hearing different ideas of how to strip down and get back to basics. And I like knowing that the people fronting these debates are not there to judge or scold, but merely to teach and inspire. That's you.

    Thank you for all the grass roots, focused thoughts you bring us. Now I'm pretty sure I feel in love with the girl who married the bear, and then taught us to mend our socks for the fourth time :)

    xxo
    J

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  20. i don't have anything insightful to add to this post, but i just wanted to say that i've been thinking about it a LOT since i read it... thank you!

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