I wrote a post nearly 10 years ago, on the blog that eventually became the book Woodland Manitou: To Be on Earth that basically just listed a bunch of things I didn’t like about the world with a bunch of things I did like about the world. That particular entry didn’t make it into the … Continue reading Wild Love for the World
I pick up the record, the one with the tattered cover due to age, and slip its black, round contents out of the protective layers of thin paper. After opening the cover of the turntable, I grasp it delicately by the edges and place it on the spindle, brush off the dust, and flip the … Continue reading Embracing Analog in a World Gone Digital
It’s been almost two years now since I got the news that I was being laid off from a long time job – and in that time a short book about the experience has come into being, and as it gets closer to being released into the world, I am finding myself torn. On one … Continue reading Reason to Pause
The first came when you realized life had to be lived from attention, not distraction because that meant slowing down enough to notice the way the soil smells after the rain. The second came when you noticed the delicate beauty of a fern uncurling the first spring after the wildfire burned your beloved forest to the ground. The third came when you witnessed that convict in orange – the … Continue reading Three Broken Hallelujahs
A bear wakes up in spring and gets back to the business of living out loud and breathing fresh air and moving though the days with intention. Maybe a person in spring can do the same and get back to the business of living and breathing and moving through the days with intention. … Continue reading Waking Up
I wrote the following post four years ago. The issues outlined in it are still a struggle, but we can only change what we name, right? Right. So, here it is again, slightly modified to fit the present.
I spend too much time looking at screens.
I have decided this before, but it screens have proved very persistent at creeping back into the limelight. They have become a central part of my days, and I am realizing that my balance is off. I have been crafting my definition of what “simple living” means to me for a long time now. But even with a mindset that is pretty solidly committed to principals of simplicity or “enough but not too much”, it still seems like screens have been taking center stage. I need to figure out how much screen time is enough, but not too much.
Generally, when I think about living simply, my list includes the following:
- I am spending time outside.
- I am remaining truly present with people when in their company.
- I am doing things slowly and with intention.
- I am being fully present in each moment
- I am practicing authenticity. This means I am eating real food (that preferably doesn’t have a bar-code), I am being active because I enjoy the activity (Hiking. Yoga. Planting things.) or because it accomplishes a task (Weeding. Picking rocks out of the field. Hauling wood.) and I am putting real energy into relationships (With the neighbors. With dear friends who live states away. With family members.)
- I feel alive.
To be alive is to totally and openly participate in the simplicity and elegance of here and now. ~Donald Altman
I glide though the silence of early morning fog rising from the river, my kayak paddle slicing through the glassy water, propelling me forward into the next moment, and the next, and the next. I am not always good about doing this, but sometimes in the time just after dawn as the sun starts to claim ownership of the sky, I am able to be in each moment, not thinking about the last one, not anticipating the next one. Just present, one paddle slice or step or breath at a time. Simple elegance, on paddle slice at a time.
We spent this past week about 500 miles from home, in a little yellow cottage outside of Manistique, Michigan. Perched on the southern shore of the state’s upper peninsula and the northern shore of Lake Michigan, my husband’s family has roots deep in the sandy shores and waters and lore of the small lakeside town and its surrounding forests. It’s a place of simplicity if you choose it, and an elegance of a different sort than is usually conjured from the term. I suppose you could say it’s a place where they have always gone to be present. To simplify the pace of the days and let the slow energy of a summer vacation take the reins. Continue reading “Kayak Morning”