Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Revisiting Priorities - Voluntary Simplicity

Somehow, no matter how much effort I put towards following a life of voluntary simplicity, I find I still need to periodically revisit my priorities. And despite having taken the Voluntary Simplicity discussion course earlier this summer, I have just in the last two weeks come to the point of creating action items to get myself back on track - because as we all know, having a plan is one thing... doing it is quite another.

Using the same method I used when I first started this path eleven years ago, I created a table, listing the things that bring me happiness (things I want more of in my life) on the left; and things that don't bring me happiness (things I want less of in my life) on the right. It sounds simple, right? Well, it is and it isn't. Eleven years ago, it took me about a year to put the original list together. These days, I know myself far better, yet it still requires some serious soul searching and meditation. But within a matter of a few days, I was able to pinpoint 6 things I want more of and 6 things I want less of in my life.

The hard part, of course, is in implementation. But keeping those 12 things in mind, I created a list of 12 action items that would help me get my life back in order; back to the life of simplicity I crave. Now the list is pretty private and I'm keeping the details to myself, but I will share the bookmark I made for myself a few years ago listing more general goals as well as some photos to remind me of what's important. Since I'm always reading, my bookmark is always there as that gentle reminder.

How often do you reevaluate your path? Do you create cues to remind you of your priorities? What helps keep you on target?


13 comments:

Teddy Wilson said...

I like the new banner.

Humble Vegan said...

meee toooo!!!

Heather @ SGF said...

Thanks!

Chile said...

Thought-provoking, Heather. I like the idea of listing what you want more, and less, of in your life. Simply having that focus seems like it would keep those goals fresher in one's mind. Is there more information online about creating such a table and the action items?

Heather @ SGF said...

Chile - Not really. I kinda just made it all up as I went along when I started this path 11 years ago. I'd be happy to share with you over email though...

Lisa Sharp said...

Wow what a great idea, I'm going to do this!!

As you know I have chronic health problems which are made worse by stress (as I know is the same with you) so this could be a very helpful tool for my health and being greener.

Also good for my faith seeing as I try and follow the Quaker faith which is also about being simple.

Heather @ SGF said...

Lisa - Let me know if you need any help or have questions (just send me an email). I kind of made it up as I went along but I really works for me!

Beany said...

Once every 3-4 months I used to have some sort of crisis - why am I doing this, what purpose is this for, blah, blah. Then Mr. Beany who now knows me better than myself, sits me down and tells me my original reasons why I am doing something.

These crisis periods are now far and few in between. I have much more confidence in myself and my actions.

I do make a list like yourself and have been for many years. It is my list of 5 things that make me happy and I reevaluate it several times a year. I try to live so that every year I'm closer to those 5 things more frequently than before. For example #1 on the list is Mr. Beany, so I try to spend more and more time with him.

Heather @ SGF said...

Beany - I guess that's why I reevaluated my list. I'm in what you called a "crisis period." I felt like some things were getting away from me - the garden exploded very quickly and I was caught learning everything all at once, my volunteer activities are really demanding, and I'm feeling burnt out on all the same foods. I just needed to bring some sanity back. BTW - do you happen to rent your hubby out for sanity sessions?

Beany said...

My husband actually has been leading meditation classes in various places throughout San Diego. I don't think he is ready to peddle out to Bryan just yet, but he is available for consultation - just ask.

Heather @ SGF said...

Beany - Cool! I didn't know he led meditation.

Anonymous said...

one quote i'm inspired by (which you may well be familiar with):

“To live content with small means;
to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion;
to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not, rich;
to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with open heart;
to study hard; to think quietly, act frankly, talk gently, await occasions, hurry never;
in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common - this is my symphony.
-- William Henry Channing

Heather @ SGF said...

Anonymous - AWESOME quote. Thanks!