Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Simple Living: Savoring Simple Tasks

One barrier to simple living is our perception that living simply will take longer, cost more, or make us even busier and more stressed out than we were before. Certainly some modern conveniences are helpful, and we wouldn't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater, but in many cases taking a step toward simplicity and natural living offers benefits that serve to reduce the stress of a busy lifestyle.

Consider, for example, the simple act of hanging out the laundry. Some would doubtless argue that the clothes dryer is an indispensable tool, and that its use saves countless hours of drudgery. The dryer is valuable for people living in apartments or homes without yards, or during inclement weather, and can be a convenience even when you do have access to a sunny spot for your clothesline, but taking time out to savor the simple task of hanging clothes also adds value to your life.

Being outside is restorative in itself, and hanging clothes has the sort of rhythm that encourages contemplation. From the vantage point of your clothesline, you can enjoy your garden, observe nature, and unwind in the breeze and sunshine.

Is this picture too idyllic? Perhaps your neighborhood does not allow clotheslines (a ridiculous but common regulation in neighborhood rules!) or perhaps you don't prefer the starchy feel of line-dried socks. We aren't so much advocating a strict return to the labor intensive days of yore as we are encouraging you to think about the possibility of taking time to slow down and enjoy a daily task. Finding the balance between the convenience of multitasking and the satisfaction of slowing down is a personal calculation, but being mindful of the alternatives is a good way to begin.

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