There is something very appealing about the idea of simplifying one’s life. Maybe thoughts of a serene and peaceful existence come to mind. In real life, however, it’s not quite like that. First, you have to sort through the mire of accumulated stuff. For David and I, downsizing and simplifying means sorting through 17 years of stuff to find what is essential. I really wasn’t prepared for all of the emotions that are attached to all of this ‘stuff,’ either. It has also come to light that it would be much easier for ME to eliminate most of David’s accumulated stuff, and vice versa: that HE could easily pare mine down to the bare essentials, because, in truth, it is tougher to be ruthless with your own treasures.
In addition to physical clutter, we are also re-examining some of the things that we always do simply out of habit or tradition. Celebrating on New Year’s Eve is one of those time honored traditions. We have both been to the big, expensive, formal parties where excess is part of the fun. When the kids were younger, we attended more family oriented outings. Most years, we prefer to be out and about rather than at home; something about staying home just seems kind of anti-social for us. So, this year I am especially excited about the event at St. Paul of the Cross, which includes dinner, an overnight stay and brunch the next day, all for $110 per couple. The idea of ringing in the New Year with reflection and intention, meditation and sharing with like-minded individuals and no alcohol just seemed especially appealing to me this year and falls in line with paring down to the essentials. [ad pg ??]
I hope you are enjoying the beautiful fall colors and savoring these wonderful crisp autumn days. We are all so blessed to live here in Michigan. Today, the view out of my window is simply breathtaking. The sun is shining, casting a glow on all the fall-colored leaves. Amongst them are three tall spruce trees waiting patiently for their turn to shine when snow covers the ground.
Such things bring out the prose in all of us. In Detroit, there is an effort to improve literacy across Southeastern Michigan. The ProLiteracy organization, headed up by my good friend Margaret Williamson, is partnering with the Rotary Club of Detroit, the Detroit AM Rotary Club, Grosse Pointe Rotary, and several others for this huge literacy project. The Rotary clubs are donating and raising money for the first phase of this project, which involves recruiting and training 3,000 volunteers. It’s really exciting to think of all the lives that a project like this could potentially impact.
This year, the Rotary Club of Detroit is celebrating its 100th anniversary. It is a great accomplishment, and this literacy project is certainly a great way to celebrate the organization’s success. It is reflective of the Rotary’s motto of ‘Service above Self,’ which shows that when communities work together, everyone benefits.
Naturally this is the type of project that will benefit a magazine like Natural Awakenings, since the hopeful outcome is increased readership. For anyone who loves to read, however, the idea that others will learn to share this appreciation for literature is very exciting. To get involved, contact ProLiteracy Detroit at 313-872-7720 or visit ProliteracyDetroit.org.
If you want to get on the bandwagon and simplify your life, take some time to sort through your books. We will be sponsoring a special used book sale at the Healthy Living Expo in March to benefit ProLiteracy Detroit.
Feel good, live simply and read more!