I dream of a simple life. A life that follows the joy of the little things and that leaves time for what really matters. Simple living looks different from person to person. Here I'm describing my vision of it.
When I close my eyes I see a little wooden cottage at the edge of the forest. On this land you can find fruit trees, garden beds and perhaps a somewhat run-down barn. The house has a porch that overlooks the garden and other than the birds' songs, the wind in the treetops and the distant swooshing of the river I'm surrounded by silence. I'm leading a simple life and that makes me happy. It's exactly what I have been longing for:
time, connection, nature, freedom and silence.
This image has been with me for years, I have been seeing it even before I even considered becoming self-employed and leaving the city. It has always been a place of longing.
Parts of that picture I have drawn into reality over the last two years. I live remotely, I have time, I feel connected, I'm surrounded by nature and silence. My life here in the mountains is kind of an internship for me to see if I can someday live like in the picture of my dreams. I find the exercises in my garden, in my solitude, in building my business and in bathing in the forest. Big dreams, I have realized, take many small steps to become reality. And year after year I take another small step towards this big dream of tending to my very own land.
But you already live so remotely. What appeal does this image have?
The short answer is: simple living appeals to me. Not that living on a homestead alone in the woods would be simple and easy. I'm sure it comes with its own set of challenges. No, it's this kind of life that leaves space to grow that appeals to me. A life that seems more grounded, original, less stressed and that maybe breaks some of the societal norms.
The most valuable thing we posses is the time that we have left. Our time here on this planet isn't endless. Someday it will be over and I want to look back on my life and see that I had time and that I did something with it that seems meaningful to me. Every minute that I can create and perceive mindfully is a gift. Living a simple life also means to me to not always swim with the stream that screams at us our entire lives to do more, achieve more, work more, earn more. But where is the time to do nothing? The time for boredom? For emptiness? For the things we really like to do? Nowhere, because we don't have time.
I have always craved connection in everything I'm doing, in every getting to know of a new person, in every longer conversation. I need depth, I need more than just connecting on a surface level. I want to feel myself and be connected to something that is bigger than myself. Call it as you please: universe, Mother Earth, Great Spirit, higher self, love, God.
Earlier I mainly felt this connection on my yoga mat or by making music. I would enter this state of flow and everything just would come pouring out of me. It is one of the most beautiful feelings to me and I want to feel it everyday. But in a world that is so fast and that leaves no room for time, it's very difficult to get to this flow stat. Connection, or flow, needs space.
Simple living has something grounded to it. Something that connects me to my roots and they grow in nature. I am nature and nature is me. We all are part of it. That's why it's essential for my very personal dream that I live in and with Mother Nature. I long for untouched, wild, free nature as I believe my own true nature should be exactly like that, too. By living connected to the land and the rhythms of nature, without being constantly distracted, I'm living more in connection with myself as well.
I'm very grateful for the scientific and technical progress of this world and I couldn't imagine a life without the internet, for example. And so by going back to our origin I don't mean we all have to live like we did a 100 years ago, but to just remember again what is already naturally here.
Oh, what a wonderful word for my ears. But I'm struggling. I'm struggling to truly feel the freedom. Like everything I'm writing here, this word, too, differs from person to person and I'm only describing what I'm feeling and thinking of. Being free means being unapologetically myself. To me it means financial independence. Being self-determined. Following my own true nature. Doing what my heart desires. Disposing over my time and my own resources.
Part of me thinks that this could never ever work. Our whole society would collapse if everyone did what they wanted. But another part responds: Yes, but just imagine if everyone acted from a place of love! If everyone followed their pure heart, wouldn't we be living in a better world, because everyone would be happy and concentrate on their own happiness instead of watching over their neighbor's decisions?
I find it often too loud. Many auditive stimuli overwhelm me as I struggle with filtering them. Silence feels so good not only to my brain, but also to my soul. My simple life has therefore to contain a lot of silence and peace. It brings me back to the first point: I need time to be silent. To do nothing, to invite boredom, to honor the still energy. Sometimes it happens when I meditate, but more often on my walks through the woods. But it's not silent there, you might think. No, it's absolutely not. But natural noises feel good. They give space to hear my thoughts, because I'm not distracted.
What does your simple life look like? Is it even appealing to you?
Where do you see your truest nature?
If you could dispose freely over your own time, what would you do with it?
Finally it's important to me to mention equality. I'm very privileged in many areas. All the thoughts I can think about my dreams, my time, my finances, my kind of work, my ideal life, attest to it. How many people on this earth can't do that? My basic needs are more than met, which allows me not only to contemplate these things, but also to realize them. Every day I'm grateful for that and every day it causes me much chagrin that I'm one of the few ones. Because every person should be allowed to live a content life.
But I also want to ask you, dear reader, to think about the questions I posed in this post. Without wanting to generalize I'm convinced that many of you enjoy the same privilege as I do. And so I leave you with that: You can follow your dreams, there's always a way!