The Joys of Simple Living
Nov 02, 2010 12:29PM
● By Linda Sechrist
Janet Luhrs, author of The Simple Living Guide, suggests that to experience inner simplicity, we need to stop looking outside ourselves for meaning and contentment. During these challenging times, many of us are beginning to realize that small and simple ways of caring and nurturing our inner selves can foster inner peace, the truest happiness. In search of what Southwest Floridians are doing to weather the stresses of our economic storm, Natural Awakenings queried several local individuals who are celebrating some of life’s simplest pleasures, doing more with less, and finding new ways to enjoy heart and hearth time.
Brian Thornburg, DO, chose an old-fashioned approach for practicing his modern pediatric specialty. Even though the concierge pediatrician experiences the 24/7 phenomena of childhood, he is happy with his simplified way of offering his services. “I practice from my house, so my patients and their families get to experience my family’s lifestyle, which includes a garden, cows, goats and chickens,” says Thornburg, who indicates that a natural curiosity often leads moms and dads to join his parenting and gardening classes. “The typical pediatrician has 3,000 patients,” he notes, explaining that his approach allows more time to make and maintain meaningful connections with his 300 patients and their families.
A simple and easily maintained hairstyle and occasionally recycled wardrobe pieces give Karen Beatty, owner of Health Works of Naples, welcome opportunities to help the Earth. “My soul-infused life, abundant with quality time enjoyed with friends and partner, is also replete with simple pleasures such as reading, gardening, meditation, kayaking and watching sunsets,” says Beatty, who takes pleasure in riding her bike to destinations for exercise and to save fuel.
Stephanie and Ian Orlikoff, owners of Eco Logic Land Care, find numerous simple pleasures through their work, which dovetails with their home environment and lifestyle. “Our bees pollinate the organic herb/vegetable garden that provides us with fresh food and saves us money and shopping time,” says Stephanie. Doing more with less, the couple chooses to live within their means. “This gives us more time for enjoying time in the garden, a fire on a cool winter night and lots of sunsets,” says Ian.
For Cloe Waterfield of Twentyfifty, living simply is about moving at the pace of nature. “Watching waves lap or grass grow reminds me that I am part of the Earth and innately connected to it,” says Waterfield, whose uncomplicated acts help her make conscious decisions about how her actions impact the planet she depends on. “My life is enriched with experiences and knowledge, not stuff,” she says.
Leandra Harrison, owner of Pure Magic Hoops, is a behind-the-scenes environmental activist who reuses the black plastic containers that she gets from her local Chinese restaurant. Rather than accept styrofoam take-out and to-go containers from other restaurants, Harrison has her own simple solution. “When I go out to eat, I take my own plastic container and to-go cup for leftovers; it’s a win for the waitress and for the environment,” she quips. As they clear out personal and household items acquired through the years, she and her husband are decluttering and establishing online sales. “It’s a green practice that adds green to our checking account,” says Harrison.
Terry Foster, owner of The Skinny Pantry, simplifies life by focusing on God, family and relationships. Over their morning coffee, the Fosters choose a passage of scripture, read it together, and talk about what it means to them and how they can apply it. Then they pray together. “Harnessing the power of prayer has brought blessings and helped us with decisions around our new business,” says Foster.
Licensed massage therapist and energy worker Janice Jackson appreciates more dinner-and-a-movie evenings at home with her husband. “I also relish other little things, like sitting outdoors and reading a book,” says Jackson, who proudly notes that since the change in economic times, she has adopted a, “…cash instead of credit card,” philosophy.
Simplicity is not a sacrifice. Curbing consumerism and living a life that is easier to maintain not only helps the planet, but can also foster mental and emotional wellness. A life of less grasping and more appreciation allows us, according to author Judith Fertig in Less Stuff, More Happiness, better opportunities for connecting with what matters most: the quality of our relationships with family, friends, community, nature and the cosmos.