Sunday, April 8, 2012

Is the Simply Living Challenge working?

St Boniface -  Anglican Cathedral, Bunbury 
(a spacious place)

So is it working - this Simply Living Challenge? (
Am I really managing to simplify my life? The simple answer is yes - but the long answer has a 'but' attached to it. BUT I have a long way to go. Thank goodness I still have a large part of this year left. And thank goodness I have a lifetime to work on it. The more I travel this simple living journey the more I come to realise how much more there is to pare back, and in so many ways. 

A word that has always scared me is now wooing me in the strangest and most unexpected way. The word is 'minimalism'. I used to think it meant white, and plain, and 'lack,' and boring. But now I see it can mean spacious, in a spiritual sort of way. And I long for a spacious place. I don't mean a large place. I mean a place where I can breathe. A place of simplicity. It certainly doesn't mean that I need to get rid of my eclectic furniture and colourful pre-loved crocheted blankets and cushions, but it might. I still have much to consider on this Simply Living Challenge. 

In month one - January - I considered 'Appearance'.

In February - the challenge was 'Making from Scratch'.

In March - it was 'Simplifying the Soul'.

And this month - April - it is 'Clutter-busting'. 

I started January alone and then friends, and then friends of friends started liking the page. And then I invited Ellen Scott Grable to administer the page with me. I knew her input would encourage others, but I also (selfishly) knew that if anyone could help whip me into shape it would be Ellen! And how right I was. Her mini challenges have had me dress more simply, feed my family by bartering, taught me how to budget and had me consider what I would replace if a fire burnt down our home - surprisingly, very little!

The Simply Living Challenge has me exposing the real me, in many different ways. For a start I'm no longer hiding behind make-up. I'm not putting anything on my skin that I can't eat. I think before I buy: Am I prepared to spend money on this? Will it hurt anyone, animals or this beautiful earth? Can I use what I have? Can I make it? Can I buy it second hand or can I swap or share? And I positively love to upcycle/ repurpose. I re-gift. I consider (and re-consider) my commitments. I ponder on how my living simply might help others to simply live. How might I be more generous? Where can I bring peace? Where can I make a difference?  As stuff loses its hold on me - all of creation, including nature and animals and humankind, increases in importance to me, and I can truly walk in the footsteps of St Francis who followed the way of Jesus.  

And now, in challenge 4 I am cutting the clutter from my life - both outer and inner, and I am learning that outer clutter makes inner peace much more difficult.I can't stand my paper piles and the boxes and boxes of cards and photos, and jars of human bits and pieces, like baby hair and teeth! 

I hate to admit it but all those books (those books that I profess to love) are causing me stress too. They clutter our already very small house. And so I am hoping - though I am not too confident - that I can cull some of them. I am also happy for the first time to sit with space. I no longer feel the desire to fill up a half empty book case. 

If I can make some room in our home I suspect that I might actually be quite happy to have a wall with nothing against it! Perhaps less really is more. If I keep walking my talk I think I just might find out.

Asta x

If you are following the Simply Living Challenge please share with us what you like about it. 


  1. On this day of celebration of Easter it is fitting to point out that Jesus lived the simplest life possible and that he spoke to us of the freedom of letting go...and you have done that joyfully Asta and with a child's heart full of wonder and trusting the best is yet to come.

    I too have many miles to go in my challenge and today I am reconsidering many things in my space as I make room for more family in my home which I joyfully share. Peace be with you in simply living.

  2. Asta, I love your posts. I think the great thing about working in a Library is that you can feel free to get rid of most of your books, knowing you'll still be surrounded by them! I have steadily gotten rid of mine over the years (moving countries twice has helped) and if I ever miss any I just order them in from the good old Library. I haven't done so well on the de-cluttering, although I'd like to. My biggest challenge with that these days is the toddler at my feet, darling boy, who loves to scrabble paper all over the floor, or throw socks to the wind as I try to sort through everything! Sigh… all things in due time. Well done, you are an inspiration! Bexxx