The Carpenter and I have frequent discussions about living a ‘simple’ life and the many ways in which we can simplify. Neither one of us likes to collect ‘stuff’ and we have been on the path to minimize for the last few years although I have been on the journey my whole life☺ Having lots of possessions has always seemed to way me down a bit on the inside and I’ve been known to go through the house on a monthly basis and collect things for Goodwill that I no longer think we need. I still remember the garage sale we had before we got married as we were combining our single life households. 95% of the items in the garage sale belonged to The Carpenter, he was such a good sport and has continued to jump on my bandwagon of simplifying and oftentimes leads the charge now.
Simplifying is not merely about getting rid of material possessions but it’s also about being a good steward of what we have. Stewardship is being responsible with the resources that we currently have and managing them well. This can apply to money, possessions, time, our gifts and talents, relationships, the environment and so forth. When we visited New Zealand last Fall my kiwi co-workers kept using the phrase ‘number 8 wire’. They explained to me that kiwis are notorious for being able to use whatever they have on hand to fix something or to make something out of any ‘bits and pieces’ (as the kiwis say) they have on hand. Wikipedia states it well – ‘it is a term that epitomizes the “kiwi bloke” as someone who can turn their hand to anything, most commonly found in the phrase “a number 8 wire mentality”, meaning the ability to create or repair machinery using whatever scrap materials are available on hand.
As we traveled throughout New Zealand it was apparent that as a culture they embody the ethic of good stewardship. We were amazed at the level of care taken with the environment, there is a level of respect for the land that I had not witnessed before. We hiked over 80 miles and never saw one piece of trash or debris on a trail. Our accommodations, which included b&bs, hotels, and holiday parks all had stringent recycling programs. One particular hotel even used geothermal heat for their hot water supply. The present moment seemed to have the utmost importance; living in the here and now while focusing on relationships and living in community took precedence over being overly productive and tied to a busy schedule.
Over the next couple of weeks I’m going to be posting about my journey to live more simply and present challenges for us all to be better stewards of what we have. As a culture we have moved so far away from being content with having our basic ‘needs’ met and being obsessed with our ‘wants’ and the things that we don’t yet have. The first step is becoming aware of the ways we can simplify. The second step is deciding to do something about it. Ask yourself what is one thing you can do, or not do, today to make your day more simple.