VOLUNTARY SIMPLICITY

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VOLUNTARY SIMPLICITY

Postby songpoet » Wed Apr 14, 2004 7:38 am

This is a "NEW" thread that is being carried over from Kevin's "IDEAL DAY". His topic took a fascinating turn into; HOW WE CAN LIVE MORE INTELLIGENTLY,,,,,,And with more control over our lives (incl. financially) In a nutshell I think we're on a merry-go-round of mis-information (corporate advertising) about "LIVING THE GOOD LIFE". Wall-Street is "CLUELESS" & so are it's influential cronies. They couldn't care less about you & I, other than how much money we'll spend on their "STUFF", and without any consideration of the impact on earth. They don't care about you even having a job,,,,,,(as mentioned in IDEAL DAY). In 1996 as the economic indicators went hotter than a jalapeno pepper,,,,,,the corporate thieves celebrated with an orgy of downsizing, re-structuring, re-engineering & generally reaming out the payroll to fatten the bottom line. Also USA jobs get farmed overseas to take advantage of cheaper labor. That cheaper labor is also used by lesser countries to "COMPETE" in the global marketplace. The children are enslaved in lousy conditions, poorly fed, overworked & dying before the age of 12 (unless they escape). Also WELFARE does not take up the HUGE allotment of money that it was accused of years ago. In other words; "YOU FOLKS ALL DID YOUR SHARE",,,,,even bearing up under back-breaking taxation! "STOP FEELIN GUILTY"! So,,,,,,,is there another alternative for you nice folks? Can you have more "CONTROL" over your life direction "AND" go gentler on mother earth ? "YOU BET YOUR SWEET BIPPY"! Image (sorry a lil 60's there). Check out these web-addresses; http://www.geocities.com/davdd.geo/index.html http://www.mythbreakers.com/pci/eison03.htm http://www.whywork.org Image
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Postby soni » Wed Apr 14, 2004 8:54 am

Reposting my post/response from the Ideal Day thread: I'm with songpoet, and the articles he link-posted, too. The key distinction is financial stability vs economic stability. Financial stability only lasts as long as the money does. Economic stability lasts as long as you care to keep it going. I am a bona fide member of the voluntary simplicity movement. It does work and having been poor (really poor) before, I can tell you it ain't the same thing by a long shot. Poor means not having options. Voluntary simplicity means positioning yourself in the economy so that you have nothing but options - you aren't forced into a "dayjob" that you hate in order to pay for a life you aren't enjoying, or not enjoying like you want to. And by requiring less to survive, you are required to do less to meet those needs. I don't make a lot of money, and yet from time to time I'm able do something like spend several hundred $$ on a limited edition signed and numbered framed print that I love. The trick is that I have cut out everything in my life that I didn't love, but was spending on out of habit or societal pressure - new clothes rather than second hand, baubles and bangles I never wear, electronic gear and appliances I used a few times then sat in the corner to collect dust, first run movies in the theater rather than rentals or second runs in the dollar theater a month later, etc. - so that now I can afford to buy the things I do love when I feel the need. And I do look around for bargains, even there. That $400 signed print was worth a LOT more than that, but the gallery owner wasn't paying attention when she hung up the initial framed print for sale - it was not only signed and numbered, but it was number 001, which is generally worth more than, say, number 248. So I got a great deal on a beautiful piece of art which I love everytime I look at it. I also barter my own skills for art, and other such things. And I do go to the theater at full price from time to time to see the big special effects films that just aren't the same on the small screen. But it's a choice - an option - that I have created room in my life for. If I were habitually going to the movies every weekend because that's just what everybody does or to reassure myself that I had plenty of money, such behavior would eat up large chuncks of change that could go on debt or on renting 5 or 6 really great, but not big-screen-dependent, films. And I know lots of folks who do spend just because they are afraid of not spending and what that might mean or be interpreted to mean by others. In the end, they feel they "have to" do it, and therefore end up having to work harder to support their behavior, leaving them short of time to do anything else. But by cutting back on the so-so movies and only splurging for the real show-stoppers (and other similar spending behaviors), I create lots of free room and financial leeway to do other things, including just not working if I don't feel like it. Options. It's all about options. And I follow the advice given on having back-up portable careers, to be called upon at need. Thom is a handyman type and can build/fix almost anything, which means that as long as he is healthy, he can find work. And I have a few of these sorts of careers, myself - coaching, writing, dancing, etc. They are always there if I need them. I also subscribe to the 'learning to do it is more fun than working for the money to pay for it' school of thought. While I will farm out the stuff I have no desire to do, there is a lot of stuff that I can do and don't mind doing - auto repair, home repair, basic first aid and non-emergency-level "doctoring", raising some food, making clothes (or fixing up second hand treasures to look even more spectacular), designing my own web page and business cards, and so on. Every dollar I don't spend is $1.50 I don't have to make (figuring in .30 self-employment taxes and .20 work-related expenses like commuting, etc). That's a big return on my investment, and means that I spend less time making money and more time enjoying my life. Of course, I wouldn't mind being mind-shatteringly rich - who wouldn't? But even if I got there, I would still never confuse that with being financially stable. Even third-world-country-sized fortunes are regularly lost in a single bad day on Wall Street, a single moment of terrorism, a single wrong word slipped out and caught on camera. All to often, the work of a lifetime is gone in the blink of an eye and if your economic stability was based on financial stability, then you are no longer stable in any way, no matter what your worth or status 5 minutes ago. And another item that was pointed out is very true. Every piece of merchandise we buy costs a set amount of work/energy. What we pay for it in cash may - or may not - reflect what went into its making. If we buy cheap, like at WalMart where prices are kept artificially low, then the price is paid by others who have to suffer to make up for the portion of the price we refused to pay. And in the end, this comes back and costs us - in wars brought about by people pushed too far, by terrorism by those who feel (sometime rightly) that we are draining their people of life so that we can buy or drive cheap toys that we don't even apprectiate, by environmental degredation that affects us all perpetrated by those simply too da*n poor to care as long as they can eat and live, and by the inevitable fact that human suffering doesn't stop at the suffering human in question, but ripples out to all of us. No matter what, we pay for what we buy and use, either in cash or in kind. By limiting what we buy, thereby allowing ourselves the financial room to afford the better, fairer-priced versions of what we do buy, we step away from supplying the negative cycles of economic hardship and in turn support positive, more equitable cycles where everybody benefits fairly and justly. Sure, this does mean that we can't load up our carts to overflowing every trip. But by choosing quality over quantity, we create better health and a better world for those around us and for ourselves. It's all about knowing, and taking, your options.
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Postby LittleTigger » Wed Apr 14, 2004 1:20 pm

This topic fascinates me, and I am very interested in following up - even giving my opinion - as someone who has been on both ends of the spectrum, just can't formulate my thoughts now. My life is much simpler now, my needs much simpler, by necessity. I like it that way. I really want to find a way to earn money working at home, enough to sustain myself physically and spiritually....meet all those basic needs. One thing I would do differently.....think longer and harder before buying a house. I had no idea how much maintenance, and how costly, homeownership is. Hope by the time my mind is functional there will be much more here to make me rethink some more. Be back soon. ------------------ LittleTigger
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Postby songpoet » Wed Apr 14, 2004 3:20 pm

I think Soni says it so beautifully! Look at the creative options she gives herself and recognizes her "LIFE ENERGY" is not for sale at just "ANY" price! I absolutely "KNOW" thats what THOREAU was talkin about in writing "THERE IS NO MORE FATAL BLUNDERER THAN HE WHO SPENDS THE BETTER PART OF HIS LIFE GETTING HIS LIVING!" We,,,,,,are sometimes (quite often) our "OWN WORST ENEMY". We need to rethink our 9 to 5 upbringing,,,,,,,and realize there's income outside a salary or regular paycheck. Most importantly,,,,,,,,,,there is a "beeeeeeautiful" life just waiting to be discovered for you guys. Many of you searching folks on here ,speak of feeling empty or lost or depressed. START HERE! (If you start it,,,,,,it will come). Image Start with your (JOB) first,,,,,,,(fix that because it's a time & energy hog) and the other things will start to align themselves more, in your personal scheme of things. GiniDee has figured that out too. She's living how most people want to live. And ,,,I think she has an added gift (she can tie into with her whole outlook). She has mentioned how dangerously close to the 9/11 disaster she was. Her perspective on life has been altered. Ask her about her "LIFE ENERGY". As she's mentioned ,she apportions it to worthier causes than simply "Workin for the Man"! Folks ,,,,,,,the reality is; Intelligent, reasoning people leave HIGH PROFILE JOBS, with the resultant stress, deadlines, profiteering, dog eat dog, hostile takeover, who cares about the little guy mentality. Joe Dominguez left such a job to go and live on $500. a month & start a volunteer organization to help other people to be happy by living simply. http://www.newroadmap.org BELIEVE IT FOLKS,,,,,,"THIS IS REAL!" And "YES" you can do this! Image P.S. We look forward to your comments lil tigger. [This message has been edited by songpoet (edited April 14, 2004).]
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Postby LittleTigger » Wed Apr 14, 2004 7:34 pm

I'm reminded suddenly of someone I heard speak a couple years ago who said, "Your work should support your life, not be your life," or something to that effect. We have to earn a living (or preferably be extraordinarily wealthy)in order to support our lives, but I know I've gotten caught up in the earning a living, and forgotten about the LIVING part. Thanks for the opportunity to be reminded. I will be checking back. ------------------ LittleTigger [This message has been edited by LittleTigger (edited April 14, 2004).]
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Postby GiniDee » Thu Apr 15, 2004 3:51 am

Thanks for the kind words, songpoet! As ever, you nailed it! I have been following Your Money or Your Life methods since it first came out. Not the investment suggestions, as they no longer work. But the entire idea of aligning life energy and values with your expenditures and living simply has made a HUGE difference in my life. Tigger, you might want to read Robert Kiyosaki's books on when a house is an asset and when a liability. The only time it becomes an asset is when it is not only paying for itself completely, but generating income over and above the mortgage, maintenance, taxes and repair costs. He's right, you know. Image Same goes for cars that are not essential for your life in some way. Or any 'stuff' you don't need to live, or that doesn't serve you in a meaningful way. Your needs change as your life changes, which is why it's wise to re-evaluate possessions once a year at least. I forget exactly who recommended walking around your home and putting your hands on every single thing, book, record, piece of clothing or whatever you own... and deciding whether you still have a positive relationship with it. It doesn't have to be USEFUL - if it brings you beauty, joy, good memories, or any good feeling, it's just as valuable as your favorite book or piece of clothing. The less you have and need that is 'extra', the less you're tied down to any one job, lifestyle, income level, whatever. I'm not talking about depriving yourself, or letting go of things that bring you joy. Far from it! I couldn't have a home or environment without plenty of art, good music, books I love, and supplies for my own art in it. No one should ever suffer deprivation to live simply by choice. Bruce Elkins has a great (FREE) e-newsletter on voluntary simplicity that's really worth reading. Sign up for it, just for the great tips and ideas. You can google for his website address. Just a few thoughts from the Hermit Crab Gallery Image
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Postby songpoet » Thu Apr 15, 2004 4:49 am

I agree with the sentiment that you hang onto fond memories & memorabilia (these are priceless)! What you need to get rid of are the "STATUS SYMBOLS" (,,,,,another Pleasant Valley Sunnnnndaaaaaay,,,,,,,here in status symbol land)! Sporty Car,,,,,,,,Home,,,,,clothes you never wear,,,,,,etc. etc. When they take over "YOU" what's the point?? (unless you love that stuff). You can't make a difference (even to yourself) if every waking minute is tied to a job that is draining your Life energy. Let's face it ,,,,,,,BUYING stuff sometimes is like a "FIX",,,,,as in; GOTTA GET MY SHOPPING FIX! As soni pointed out that $1.00 spent,,, cost you $1.50 in a certain tax bracket. A $1000. item can be as much as $1800. considering taxes. That's 180 hours and more for most people. SMARTER shopping, means "LESS" LIFE ENERGY to support that habit (until it's under control). I bought a $1000. item last year for $10.00! (my find of the year). REMEMBER,,,,,on the UPSIDE of a world of wastefulness are "bargains" galore. Unfortunately the irreparable "WASTE" is poisoning the planet. And we have to have the extra "TIME" to "retool" our individual lives to walk softly on spaceship earth. When your "HEART" is in the right place then "providence" moves in your favor. Now,,,,,,,,ask yourself "THIS QUESTION",,,,,, If I had a month to live (good health-hit by a car) what would I want to do before I died? Name at least 3 things (time & travel expenses are no object) that you want to do. http://www.pathtofreedom.com/issues/simplicity/index.shtml [This message has been edited by songpoet (edited April 15, 2004).]
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Postby GiniDee » Thu Apr 15, 2004 5:19 am

Exactly what I'm doing: My art- finish the 15 pieces I'm working on and start some more Video games and cookies with the kids, just hanging out and having fun together Working on my new projects just for the pure sheer joy of it Not much money involved there - I already have the supplies I need for all of them. Image
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Postby Wogglebug » Thu Apr 15, 2004 7:28 am

I am just beginning to learn about voluntary simplicity. It sounds very much like what I am trying to do in my life right now. Thanks for all the website tips.
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Postby GiniDee » Sun Apr 18, 2004 12:11 am

Just wanted to bump this up so it doesn't get lost in the shuffle Image
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Postby GiniDee » Mon Apr 19, 2004 3:56 am

Hey songpoet - Finally got a chance to check out all the sites I hadn't seen before. Thanks for the gift of all that good information! All the best - GiniDee Image
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Postby tui » Mon Apr 19, 2004 4:35 am

"Excuse me,"said the worm in the apple, "If you are no longer being driven by fear, greed, laziness - what provides the motivation to leave the comfort zone and dare new things? If you are no longer suffering from consumption, what then catches your spirit and imagination and call to serve? And what community of like minds welcomes you in, shows you a Great Possible, and waits respectfully for you to say'This is my piece'? Then celebrates with gusto when you begin to give your gift, continue, and evolve... Is it just a revolution? Or are there wings to come?" ~(aka The Worm)
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Postby soni » Mon Apr 19, 2004 9:27 am

Oh, Wormy, if only you knew...that fear, greed and laziness (not to mention a bad case of consumption) were the main things responsible for most of us NOT leaving the comfort zone and daring new things. After all, why damage your secure little income and social approval streams with wild and unpredicatable behavior (or even appearal)? And even no community of like minds is better than the one I just left, whose minds are all alike in that they cling tenaciously to their alikeness and fear the dark and stormy night just outside their reach (of course, a few centimeters more and the skies would clear magnificently and they would see much more daylight than ever before, but they'd have to let go and walk away from the safety of their perch to know this). Unencumbered by such physical and emotional moorings, my SOUL is now the betasseled and besceptered leader of my parade, oompahing and ratt-a-tat-tatting me up and down entirely new and strange streets where the onlookers wear bizarre clothes and speak in lilting, musical and incomprehensible voices. I dine on novelty and sup on the sparkling trails left by the butterflies of imagination that flit to and fro. So yes, there are wings. As far as revolutions go, well, canst thou not revolve with the spinning of...a new tale? "Sir! Sir! The peasants are revolting!" "Yes, well, the peasants are always revolting. And now they're up in arms, on top of it all." [This message has been edited by soni (edited April 19, 2004).]
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Postby GiniDee » Tue Apr 20, 2004 1:08 am

Thing is, you can still have all that fear, greed and laziness and still be simple. It's just not as much fun. soni - I want to be a peasant in your interior landscape- just to see the bizarre clothes and butterflies! tui - motivation is in the mind of the beholder anyhow. The more simply you live, the more you get to decide what really DOES motivate you. Without all the STUFF obscuring your interior landscape. Image
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Postby soni » Tue Apr 20, 2004 9:06 am

tui - do you mind if I lift your post to keep with mine for possible use at a later date? I find the image-path that you started me down and the subsequent stuff that came out as a result of it worth preserving and sharing, but it makes little sense to anyone but me without your catalytic shot across the bow. I could give you full attribution (if I knew who to attribute it to) or keep it anonymous, either way.
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