Updated. Originally written July 2020.
National Simplicity Day is coming up on Monday July 12th.
This is sort of a special "holiday" for us here at The Whiskey Porch because it's at the core of what we are all about. After all, our tag line is "cultivating contentment & possibility in a smaller & simpler lifestyle."
And, now more than ever, it just feels like we are all seeking refuge and inspiration to lift our spirits as we recover from this wild insanity of the last couple years. So it goes without saying, that finding pleasure and calm in simple ideas is something many of us are striving for now.
The celebration originated in honor of Henry David Thoreau, who lived in Concord, Massachusetts from July 12, 1817 to 1862.
First, who was he, and why does it matter? And then, we've got 5 Great Ways for You to Celebrate Simplicity Day.
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Among many things, he was a Harvard educated author, naturalist, and a surveyor. Amazingly, he only lived to be 45, but was very prolific and accomplished.
He is most famous for his book Walden (about his 2 years living simply on Walden Pond), but he wrote other books and musings as well.
The Walden Woods Project is a wonderful website that is a great resource to learn more about him, and his ideas.
Fun fact: the project was founded by recording artist Don Henley (of the Eagles).
Here's an inspiring little snippet ... there's a ton more to explore so maybe that's a good way to while away an hour two while you celebrate.
I do believe in simplicity. It is astonishing as well as sad, how many trivial affairs even the wisest thinks he must attend to in a day; how singular an affair he thinks he must omit. When the mathematician would solve a difficult problem, he first frees the equation of all incumbrances, and reduces it to its simplest terms. So simplify the problem of life, distinguish the necessary and the real. Probe the earth to see where your main roots run.—Thoreau, 27 March 1848
5 Ways to Celebrate simplicity day
I know this is extremely tough these days. We are linked to our phones, and laptops, and smart speakers and almost don't know how to function without them. But, trust me, it's so refreshing and quieting to just turn it all off and find something else to focus your energy on. Take the day off, unshackle yourself from the conveniences and addictions of technology.
2. Ignore the news and the to-do list.
Since I fully realize that item #1 is pretty tough to pull off, here's a suggestion that might be more manageable. If you can't leave your phone and smart watch behind, maybe at least vow to ignore the news and any semblance of a to-do list for the day. Maybe even go so far as to turn off the notifications from your news or social feeds. For the day, or maybe even just for good. You can consume that stuff when you really need to in a proactive way. Meanwhile, make the noise stop!
3. Spend some quality time on your porch.
The front porch is my absolute favorite spot in most homes. It's a wonderful way to engage with the world without leaving home - because even though the isolation of Covid is winding down, thankfully, it's lovely to just sit for bit and watch the world go by.
A couple years ago I wrote a blog post considering just what's so alluring about a front porch.
Maybe check out the blog (assuming you're not doing item #1 in the list!) and say hello to neighbors strolling by or sit with your family for a bit. #porchsitting
4. Be alone outdoors and use ALL your senses.
Again, this one is just so beneficial regardless of the social distancing that's become the norm now-a-days. The idea is to stop talking and venture into the great outdoors, maybe on a local hiking trail you haven't yet explored, alone. Why alone? Because it gives you the space and time and freedom to engage all your senses and truly be in the moment.
See the trail, and the flowers. Smell the air and the trees. Hear the birds and the wind. Touch the seed pods on the tree and observe the detail. You get the idea. Okay, don't taste the berries unless you are positive it's safe.. just gotta say that.
If hiking isn't your kinda thing, you can do this one by just finding a cool spot in your garden or yard, get comfy and just have a sit for a bit. Close your eyes if you find it hard to really observe all the sounds and scents around you. If you're lucky enough to have birds or butterflies visiting your garden then enjoy just observing them - I bet you won't be able to keep from smiling!
5. Make a plan to downsize.
This one is pretty broad. Because you could apply it to so many things including your lifestyle, your belongings, your job, or your home. I think in general Americans live far beyond their means - their personal resources and those of the environment they live in. It's just a way of life; a way of thinking.
So this challenge involves first acknowledging the issue in your own home or lifestyle. Sometimes that is easiest by considering the alternative. How would I feel or my life change if I owned less stuff? Or bought less stuff? Or had a smaller home to maintain? Now, take it one step further and explore some concrete steps you can realistically take now or over time to downsize your life. Write something down. Put a reminder in your phone to follow-up.
We can help if you get stuck: If you are interested in exploring life in a smaller bungalow or cottage, and don't know where to start, you can learn about our Services or just contact me to chat.
Our special day
If you're curious about why I launched this brand on that day, and what our core beliefs are, you might like to check out the blog post I did to explain a little of the back story.
Enjoy the little things in life because one day you`ll look back and realize they were the big things.” Kurt Vonnegut
Another great option is to post an image of your celebration on instagram and tag us @thewhiskeyporch and use the hashtag #contentmentandpossibility.
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Contentment & possibility,
Hey there. I'm Miriam ~ and I've been doing this my whole life. It's my passion.
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