Tuesday, December 30, 2008


"As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness."
--Henry David Thoreau

This morning our Christmas tree fell over. It seemed as good a time as any to un-decorate, to put away the past year, tuck it neatly into boxes and place it ever so gently in the garage. Perhaps the year will stew, ferment and become more than it was like a sourdough starter or a dark yeasty stout; something from nothing. Then again maybe it will be just what it was - a year. A year full of beauty and concern. A year sprinkled with joy and a pinch of fear. Next year, I suspect, I’ll open those holiday boxes to much the same.

Cleaning and organizing proved cathartic. Now I'm thinking ahead, contemplating resolutions and plans for the new year to come. I expect the recession to continue. I expect to be financially poor but hope to be emotionally rich. Rich in family and friends, rich in nature and the allure of the earth. I hope to find grace in the things around me and want not for the things I do not have. I hope to be frugal, creative and industrious so as to make the best use of available resources. I hope to nurture my family and myself; to spend time snuggling and reading, talking, laughing, walking and playing. I hope to decrease our financial debt while increasing our non-material abundance. I want to live a simple joyful life.

And I’ve thought quite a lot about how to express this desire, this need to deconstruct. To get back to the basics as it were. One word continuously comes to mind . . . simplify.

Of course I wanted a symbol of my hopes and dreams. Somehow, however, it didn’t seem right to go out and buy my deity. Instead I decided to make one. Some scrap lumbar, some leftover paint, a homemade stencil and voila - my mantle is now adorned with one simple word ... simplify. It is a visual reminder to take each day as it comes, to appreciate the artistry of the world and to enjoy what sits before me. Who could hope for more?

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To all of you in bloggerville - Happy New Year! I hope you, too, have a simple joyful 2009!

9 comments:

Bridge said...

can i make one for my mantle too! Lord knows I need one.

Shalet said...

Absolutely!

Ingrid said...

Hear, hear! The idea of having a tangible reminder -- especially something beautiful and handmade -- to help fix your mind to this goal is wonderful. This is just what I've done at my desk, surrounding myself with objects and ideas I want to reflect on every day.

Jamie said...

What a perfectly simple reminder. May all your hopes become a reality. Happy New Year!

Amy said...

One word has been repeating itself in my head lately: breathe. Somehow when I stop and think about breathing in and out - everything takes on a sort of less frenzied mood. So, thank you for your wishes and good luck on your journey to simplicity. Don't forget to breathe along the way.

Andie said...

Loved reading your words here. "Simplify, joyful life, rich in family and friends, the allure of the earth"...perfect.

I hope all of your dreams come to this year friend.
a.

Honorary Indian said...

I am in love with your creation.

I, too, am in need of some simplifying...both externally and internally.

Happy New Year!

Donna said...

I love your idea to start the year off with a specific mantra so to speak. I think mine would be "hopeful". I want to be able to maintain a sense of hope in spite of all the ups and downs that life presents. To be hopeful is my resolution. I hope 2009 holds a wealth of simplicity for you and your family

Liss said...

What a beautiful idea, I am de-cluttering my life and house too. I wish you and your family a great and happy 2009.