Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Day of Reflection

What does it mean to be mindfully simple in today's world?  In looking back at my reasons for starting this blog, I revisited my vow to make life for myself and my family a bit more thoughtful, more kind and more generous in a non-financial manner.  I wanted to find ways to give of our time and energy without leaving us exhausted and broke.  I wanted to find ways to involve our children in our community, to help them feel firmly planted in something real that you didn't have to turn on with a switch.  What I find challenging is balancing all that good thinking with the actuality of raising a family, holding down a couple of jobs and trying desperately to keep my head above water at all times.  (How do other people do this?)
First, I took a hard look at my habits for time management.  Knowing I wanted to retire early, I have been making plans to hold on to as much money that we bring in as possible.  In order to bring in more with little time spent, I have had to piggy back a few jobs, working harder for shorter periods of time rather than spreading work out over the whole week.  In this way, I can spend more time in the afternoons with my kids and feel that I am a steady presence in their lives.  After that, I looked at how I keep our home.  A while back, I complained that I am a rotten housekeeper.  I hate wasting my time on keeping our messes cleaned up - always have.  There's always something more exciting to do than fold laundry.  However, I really do love a clean house, and hate the embarrassment of friends stopping by unannounced, so we have jumped into super organized mode at our house for the past 4 weeks.  We have pulled out the stops to get the house and yard pulled together - not bad after living here for 10 years.  Where there were no curtains, we now have lovely and colorful cloths that shade our rooms.  Where there was a pile of styrofoam and packing materials, we now have a clean and clear closet.  Our camping equipment is within easy and organized reach for our inexpensive summer jaunts.  Our dressers hold only seasonal clothing, with the rest packed neatly away for the next turn or New England weather.  Coming home to less clutter makes me want to (gulp) vacuum.  I'm serious.  
Over the past few weekends, I have made sure I found time to garden. I find it so meditating, it is imperative that I get out in the yard regularly, no matter how chaotic our lives feel.  It is also so important that I be able to add to my family's diet by providing nutritious, organic vegetables.  My yard is not quite suitable for all this growing what with all the shade and such, so I am investing all my gardening energy into the new deck as my canvas.  With some coaxing, I think I can produce enough produce to keep our food costs low this summer.  

Beyond this, I am finding more time to consider community service for my family.  There are wonderful websites that offer connections to get started in volunteerism, even for children.  It takes some time to get started, but it is well worth the wait, I am sure.  I notice that just about every magazine I pick up these days has some article (or more) about living green.  It bothers me that our current economy situation has fueled a craze to 'go green' - bothered me because although it is high time someone notice the condition of our global economy, I know these things tend to blow over when the next fad bows in.  I suppose I have the same fear about my own new habits, but I hope they are all unfounded.

What are your reasons for living mindfully?  What makes you choose to be more careful each day with your purchases, diet, thoughts?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Such good things to think about. I try to make good decisions for my money and life, but I tend to slide back into old patterns. Nice to know others are struggling to make mindfulness happen!