Creating Community through Interdependence

Here in the west, over the years we’ve come to prize independence above almost everything else. We admire those whose success seems built solely on their own ingenuity and wit. We idolize those who have “pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps,” but we overlook the fact that those boots were stitched and glued by other humans. (Perhaps not surprisingly, this expression was originally intended to mean something laughably far-fetched or impossible. Picture a person trying to pull her/himself up by the bootstraps. It simply can’t be done.)

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Creating Community with Openness and Compassion

Anonymous in a crowd - Creating Community

So many of us feel lost and alone, even though we may be surrounded by others. We drag ourselves out of bed in the morning and drive the long road to work where we sit at our desk and stare into a computer screen for eight hours. Then, we drive the same busy, lonely road back. Maybe we pull our car into a drive through along the way. When we hand our money to the freckled boy behind the window, we hardly glance at him. We come home to our televisions. We pay our bills. We spend our weekends anonymously shopping for toilet paper and curtains. We don’t talk to our neighbors. We forget to call the people we love most. And we wake up on Monday to do it all again.

It doesn’t have to be this way. We can create the world we want simply by choosing to.

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Stop Cushioning Your Home with Fear

Maple Leaves - stop cushioning your home with fear

Western culture is buried under a blanket of fear. We’re afraid of guns and school shootings, and many children have to pass through metal detectors each morning before entering their schools. We’re afraid of other crime, too – home invasions, gang violence, serial killings, terrorism…. We’re afraid of immigrants and drug abusers, of environmental collapse and deadly disease. We’re afraid of strangers and ISIS and the seasonal flu. The fear is almost addictive.

But, in a very real way, we have nothing to fear but the fear, itself.

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25 Ways to Find Peace Amidst the Stress

Teen boy beside lake - stress relief tips list

Years ago, I could be a pretty wound up girl. Now that I’ve learned to live simply, I’ve gotten to a place in my life where I’m centered and calm, for the most part, and if you were to ask anyone who’s met me in the past several years, they’d tell you I live a slow, tranquil, happy life. For a very long time, though, I was unable to deal with the everyday. This was a shameful thing for me, and I hid it well. Okay, pretty well. I kept it all inside, flooding my body with anxiety and guilt (oh, the guilt…). It spilled out from time to time, but mostly, I kept it all for myself.

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Habit: Simplifying Internet Usage

computer and cell phone - simplifying Internet Usage

The Internet has become a thick thread woven through our lives. We wake in the morning to check our email, spend our lunch break with Facebook, and look at the news before we go to bed. In between, there are games, videos, encyclopedia articles, and tips about how to grow tomatoes or build a solar-powered heater or charge our cell phone or peel a banana or play the ukulele. We find ourselves reading about the beautiful actress in an intriguing new movie or the plight of Syrian refugees fleeing from desperate and shocking violence.

When we look up at the clock, an hour has ticked by, or two, or three. What was it we were searching up?

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Mindful Eating: Conclusion

Falafel wrap - mindful eating

Eating mindfully is one of the most exquisitely simple things we humans can do. Allowing the swirling world inside your head to fall away – your planning, your fears, your regrets – is liberating like nothing else is. Being there with the meal and truly experiencing it can change your relationship with the food you eat, not just in the moment, but every day.

If we are to live simply and mindfully, there is one thing we must do above all others, and that is to be true to ourselves, to the things we believe and hold dear. Making decisions this way is not always easy, but it is always simple.

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Mindful Eating: Cleaning with Intention

Knife being washed - eating mindfully

Now that you’ve finished eating, it is time to wash up. Do not put it off until later; take good care of this present moment. Cleaning is a way of returning objects and spaces to their original state so that they are ready for the next meal, the next family night, the next impromptu snack.

Cleaning the kitchen (the dishes and utensils used, the cookware, the food left over, the counters, the linens, the floor) in mindfulness is a way of recognizing that you will prepare food again soon. There is abundance in your life. It is a hopeful act.

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