Keeping it simple.

"Chop wood, carry water."

My sister and I were talking yesterday about keeping things simple. There is so much to sift through in this life- especially if you’re trying to live it consciously and consistently. What a job sometimes! It’s enough to make my head spin on most days. Anyway, she kept repeating the phrase "Chop wood, carry water.", which apparently is an old zen saying. I can’t tell you how much I love this. It’s funny, too, considering that my life requires neither of those jobs- unless you count a watering can from time to time… Regardless, I’m soaking in its intention for my life.

Something that my parents really pounded into us as kids was that you didn’t have to feel great about something to do it anyway, because you know it’s what you need to do. It was the whole "fake it til you make it" kind of mentality, and I believe it’s benefited me so far. So, I’m meditating on that lately- having faith that as long as my actions are in line with what I believe is right, I’ll find myself where I’m supposed to be- with new wisdom and energy for the future. It doesn’t matter if I see the difference those actions make, it doesn’t matter if I feel tired or worn out, it doesn’t matter if I have no idea what the future holds or what I’m really meant to do… I just do the next right thing and I’ll find myself where I’m supposed to be. Chop wood. Carry water. So, as I was thinking about this stuff, only a few things stuck out to me. It’s pretty refreshing to see how uncomplicated it all is when I break it down.

I need to care for and nourish those around me, even when I’m as tired as she is.

I need to keep taking care of this home, even when I’m not sure where to start.

I need to keep learning… and to know when to take a break and simply enjoy myself, so that I can have the energy to DO something with that knowledge.

I need to remember to be grateful, and appreciate the small things. This one is big. It’s kind of what it’s all about sometimes…


Gracie
Gracie

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Comments (15)

  1. 3squares_a_day

    I love that!

    Once I broke free of the society mindset that you shouldn’t do anything that doesn’t feel good or gain you in some immediate way, I grew a lot. When things are falling apart for whatever reason, there is great comfort for me in going through the motions… feeding, teaching and cleaning.

    My husband got laid off a few months ago, and now that the kids and I are staying home a lot more I wish I lived on a little farm somewhere and didn’t have to travel so much to get things done!

    Reply
    1. Gracie (Post author)

      Oh no! I hope you guys aren’t struggling. Oh, and I dream of that little farm too…

      Reply
      1. 3squares_a_day

        We are, actually, financially anyway. It’s been a tough few months but hey, I canned enough to make a lot of PB&J! šŸ˜‰

        Reply
  2. ladyfaith3

    very good post. I find that my attitude really effects everything at home, when I work the house is functioning, when I don’t it seems like everything is a struggle…I think that is why they call us Home makers?

    Reply
  3. malimizu

    I just finished a book that has enlightened me even more to live simply (and does a great job explaining why the simple life is so important). It’s called “Amish Peace – Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World” by Suzanne Woods Fisher. The title sounds a little cheesy (though I’ve always been fascinated by the Amish), but some of the wisdom in this book has changed my life. It’s a fantastic reminder about how living simply and enjoying the little things are the foundation of a fulfilling life.

    Reply
    1. Gracie (Post author)

      Thanks for the recommendation! I’ll check it out next time I go to the library. šŸ™‚

      Reply
  4. pithy_epigrams

    Lovely.

    Reply
  5. vianna_dufaye

    If you have never read Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, you should do so when you have a chance.

    http://classics.mit.edu/Antoninus/meditations.html

    Reply
    1. Gracie (Post author)

      Thanks, I’ll totally check that out! šŸ™‚

      Reply
  6. ladyfaith3

    http://parunak.com/pursuingtitus2/2009/10/02/the-pitter-patter-of-little-feet-and-those-ghastly-carbon-footprints/

    I really like this lady’s thoughts on the subject of population and thought to share it with you I really like her blog and most perspectives she shares.

    Trish

    Reply
    1. Gracie (Post author)

      I think that she and I agree, on some level. I guess I can’t get past the idea that we should be reducing our populations AND reducing our impact at the same time. Certainly, not having kids is no excuse to live however you want, and on the flip side having more kids doesn’t necessarily mean that you are crazy consumers, but overall it seems to me that the problem is both things. I mean, I tend to think that the most sustainable thing would be to live entirely locally in smallish villages- and I don’t think that’s possible with our current population.
      I have thought about the importance of raising kids to be good stewards of the Earth, and teach them survival skills to pass on so that when everything does crash, they’ll possibly be able to spread that knowledge. That, so far, has been the most compelling reason for me to have more (than none, at least).

      Reply
      1. ladyfaith3

        I agree with you on this but selfishly maybe, I want this third baby with all my heart. We consume much less already just with the moderate reuseable things we do have but really I see these huge industries, not as much the individual as the BIG problem…and yet how do you change those larger than life companies?

        Reply
        1. Gracie (Post author)

          I honestly try to reserve judgment- there are those that would judge me for having any children at all. I think it’s wonderful that you are raising a conscious family and we need more people to do that.

          Also, on the big company front- I think we should disassemble them all. I don’t think they’ll change, I think they are exploitative and harmful and it’s a wonder to me that we keep trying to bargain with them. I don’t know how to do that, though, so I just choose to boycott as much as I can.

          Reply
  7. robinbronwen

    This may or may not have anything to do with your post here. I had a random dream about you guys last night. First of all, I usually dream about the people I would like to see more of – I never dream of people I see in my every day life. Anyway, my dream was that I came to your house to visit you, Jeff, and Doug. You guys had adopted two deer (not sure if they were regular deer or reindeer. Hmmm…tis the season, though). The deer were wandering in your home and they both had shoes. Yes, the deer had shoes. šŸ™‚ You had made them their own custom shoes for wandering about your house. I guess this dream means 1) you like to save the animals and 2) you are pretty damn crafty. šŸ™‚ I think you are very caring and talented. You have what it takes to keep things simple. Okay, I’m a goof ;O)

    Reply
    1. Gracie (Post author)

      I love this! Thanks for sharing your dream. I think it’s a great one. šŸ™‚ You always have the nicest things to say! It’ll be nice to see you next time you come to town.

      Reply

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