In times of change, getting back to basics has it’s benefits.
The last several months with the pandemic and stay-at-home orders, we’ve been forced into get back to the basics of life. Staying home, spending time with family, home-cooking, playing board games and so much more. I’ve seen more neighbors outside doing things as a family than I have in the 5 years I’ve lived in this neighborhood.
People are more friendlier. Stopping by to say hi, engaging in conversation, and just enjoying each other’s company. While many are anxious to get back to our old lives, there’s also talk of missing what’s been gained in the last four months.
Today is National Simplicity Day. It’s also the birthday of Henry David Thoreau, an abolitionist, author, environmentalist and poet who helped give rise to the philosophical movement Transcendentalism. His teachings and writings—especially his essay called Civil Disobedience—is just as relevant today as when it was written 170 years ago!
Thoreau and his fellow Transcendentalists—big thinkers who included Margaret Fuller, a pioneer of feminism—believed people have knowledge about themselves that “transcends” all external forces in their lives, especially the realms of rationality and materialism. Transcendentalists sought intense spiritual experiences to balance out philosophies that encouraged them to navigate life using pure reason.
Henry David Thoreau took his teachings to the extreme when he spent two years, ‘getting off the grid’ as we’d call it today, living in a small cabin in the woods. During his sabbatical, he wrote the reflections that are the basis for what is known today as National Simplicity Day.
While many of us would love to check out for a bit as he did, given today’s circumstances, we still have the opportunity to do the same.
I know, I know, ‘we’ve been doing that for 4 months’ you say!
But what if I told you there’s even more you can do?
Call it spring cleaning, decluttering, feng-shui, or just plain old organizing, here are some things you can try on National Simplicity day.
- Start with gratitude – Make a list of all the simple pleasures in your life that you normally would take for granted.
- Clear your schedule – Spend the day making a list of those things you need to help you move forward for the remainder of 2020. Focus on what will rejuvenate you and re-energize yourself for new possibilities.
- Stay off all electronics – A good feng-shui practice in general, spend the day off of all electronics. Read a book, take a long bath, leave your phone and computer turned off.
- Declutter – Take a walk around your house – room by room, and pack away, throw out or make a donation pile of anything you haven’t used in a year. Clearing your space creates room for your energy to move around more freely in your house, which also creates more movement in your life. This is another feng-shui practice.
- Get outdoors and into nature. A walk in the fresh air, in the woods, by a lake, through a park, by the beach—and really take notice of all the beautiful surroundings.
- Write a letter—on paper! and surprise someone using snail mail. Even if it’s someone you speak with regularly, send them a letter and tell them how much you really care for them or how they have inspired you.
- Sleep in a tent in your backyard with the kids. (All right, maybe I wouldn’t do that myself as I’m afraid of any snakes coming into my tent), but for those of you with kids who love camping, have a night out in your yard for something different!
For National Simplicity Day, and every day going forward, try holding onto some of these simple practices and habits you’ve incorporated into your life. Because once we get back to our busy hectic schedules, we may forget that it’s the simple things in life that gives us the most pleasure.