DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
I have a forum attached to my blog where people from all over the world meet to discuss simple life. There are over 8000 forum members now so we have an enormous amount of good information about growing food, cooking from scratch, family, simple living, routines, budgeting, baking and much more. Please click on the image above to go there. Newcomers will have to register. It's free, friendly and we're waiting for you.

9 February 2012

Your new normal

Thank you for your generous and beautiful comments yesterday. We both loved them. I'll be posting our itinerary as soon as it's ready. I know for sure we'll be in Melbourne for The Circle, Ballarat, Canberra, Wollongong and the Blue Mountains. The rest of it is not quite ready yet but when I have it, I'll post it.


~~~~~**~~~~~
I have written quite a bit about change in the past six months but those changes have been more about a move towards simplicity and sustainability by many people, right here in Australia, and all around the world. I think that's a wonderful change, and when I was slogging away on my blog in 2007 and 2008, I never believed that we would be at this point just a few years later. All of it was pushed along by the GFC and while that was a disaster for many, and continues to be now, it is also the pendulum swinging back towards thrift and prudence after years of rampant consumerism.


Today my topic is change, but it's about a change of attitude. When we were starting out, I found that adjusting my attitude made the difficult changes that were to follow, much easier. We all change in different ways, but many of us have to come to terms with our debt and to become more frugal in our habits. That often means giving up things you're used to having and sometimes doing that is painful. We gave up pay TV, our second car, buying books, magazines and newspapers, eating out and other things along the way. When I look back on that time I remember wondering if we were doing the right thing or if it was pointless. Now I know that for us, those first small steps not only gave us the strength to dive into bigger changes but they also made money available for things we needed, not wanted.

Okay everyone. Stand up, face the wall and don't move.

I was over-ripe. I was ready for change and nothing could have stopped me. But I think our changes seemed (now) to be easy because I was absolutely convinced that sacrifices were necessary. I had thought about how I wanted my life to be and when I visualised the future with nothing changing, I was saddened to see much of the same - waste and joyless shopping. I was disappointed in myself. For me, a change of attitude was vital and it helped all the difficult adjustments that followed. 

Homemade oven fries.

If you haven't had that change of attitude yet and you're occasionally slipping back into old habits, take some time to think carefully about why you want to live sustainably and simply. You want to move from "I deserve/want this." to "It would be great to have it but maybe I shouldn't." to "No, I want a better life. Let's get on with it." When you identify what you and your family will gain from the changes, something will click, you'll see different possibilities and you'll be in a different frame of mind. There is no doubt that being at peace with your reasons for change will make it easier for you. If you're not quite there yet, do some more reading, stop going to the shops and watching advertising, think about what your life could be and go ahead again. There is no one way to do this. We're all different, we want different things and we all come from different circumstances. A change of attitude is common to us all though, so if you can get there, it will be easier.

There will be passionfruit soon!

I know now, with certainty, that our simple way of life will never come unstuck. This is us now and forever. We grow vegetables, bake bread, work hard, connect with our community, live easily with thrift and do as much for ourselves as we can. It's not a burden. We do it with open and generous hearts and all these things, have become our normal. It can be your normal too. It can all start with a change of attitude.

32 comments:

  1. Wonderful post! Thank you! I've been thinking along the same lines lately. I've also had to work on my attitude in order to get to where we want to be. I work full time and on top of all the things that need to get done at home, well, let's just say some days are simply miracles. It is all worth it, though. And that is a changed attitude right there. I'm feeling exhausted and triumphant at the same time.

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  2. Beautiful post,as usual!you inspire me for the whole day, xx Carol

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  3. This is a wonderful post. I often think that we'd be better off if we removed the word "should" from all discussions regarding simple living and sustainability.

    So often I hear (or see online) people saying things about how they "should" cut back, or "ought to" be more frugal. But my feeling is there's no "shoulds" about it, it just comes down to what you really want out of life.

    For me, just the thought of having to report to a boss every day, wear pantyhose and uncomfortable shoes, get up with an alarm clock, feel rushed, stressed and harried all the time, worry about how you're gonna pay the bills, etc, etc, etc... I mean, there's not enough money in the world to make me live that way!

    I guess the problem is that our materialistic cultures have so many people duped that they're in over their heads with debt and financial commitments before they even know what hit them, and at that point you've got lots of digging out to do before you start reaping the benefits of a frugal lifestyle.

    It all sort of makes me wish I could grab kids at about age 18 and give them a visit from Marley's Ghost or something to show them what they're really signing up for when they head down the road of debt and materialism. Sigh.

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  4. well Rhonda, I dó keep on reading. Every day, at your place ;o)
    The hardest thing for me in this process is my husband. He does not see the needs of this way of living and he also can not see the benefits of it. But I will keep on going. With you by my side ;o)

    Have a lovely day!

    Love from Holland

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  5. Rhonda a wonderful post - I need to be constantly reminded and encouraged. I do agree husbands can be a bit of a problem sometimes!

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  6. Ecocat, you are so right about the word 'should' being removed, but I think from all of the English language! I think we all need to stop and follow are hearts, do what feels right for us and ours. This is something I learnt while raising babies (babies who failed to read what they "should" do!) And am finding again in our change to a simpler life. Read lots, take in lots of info and then let it all go and follow your heart.
    Thanks again for a lovely post Rhonda.
    Tracey

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  7. Ecocat, you are so right about the word 'should' being removed, but I think from all of the English language! I think we all need to stop and follow are hearts, do what feels right for us and ours. This is something I learnt while raising babies (babies who failed to read what they "should" do!) And am finding again in our change to a simpler life. Read lots, take in lots of info and then let it all go and follow your heart.
    Thanks again for a lovely post Rhonda.
    Tracey

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  8. Lovely inspirational post for the day Rhonda...sometimes i feel as though i have entered another world since staying at home with the girls and slowly changing our lifestyle...i sometimes feel we are being left behind when i hear of friends' latest gadget buys and the fact that sometimes i don't pick up my mobile for a few days (and the world doesn't end although i get in trouble from others because i didn't!)but then i realise that by not having the latest everything and piling into debt i am able to stay at home with my girls and not re-enter the full time chaos and stress of the workforce for just that little bit longer and that is so so worth it!
    Thank you for your timely encouragement and remindersx

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  9. Yes, I agree, attitude is everything. I just finished trimming three elm trees in my backyard, and that gave me such a feeling of accomplishment! Our trash service will be collecting extra branches at no charge in March, so I'm doing a tree at a time right now. It's opening up sunny spaces to plant boysenberries, raspberries, and blackberries that I picked up yesterday at the nursery. It's very rewarding to save money on labor and apply that savings towards plants that will feed you. Your blog gave me the push to start growing my own food, and it's so much fun! Thank you Rhonda! (I pretend I'm Hanno when I'm trimming the trees!)

    awakened soul

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  10. How true! Our changes have given us a new life, one so happy even in hard times that it is unbelieveable. We would never go back. This is who we really are and who we were meant to be all along. Things just do not make people happy, do they?

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  11. What a wonderful post. We will move soon and begin making more changes to our simple life. I cannot wait for new beginnings and love the help and encouragement that I find here! :)

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  12. The warm fireplaceFebruary 09, 2012 9:13 am

    Such an inspirational post, i wish you both well on your tour.I have gained so much knowledge from your past posts and putting them into practice, i cant tell you what a difference it is making to our lives, my whole family are on board and that does help.
    sue

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  13. Cheeky chooks! Change takes time and people like you, with your honest approach, help others to get there. Thankyou. Cherrie

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  14. Excellent post! It has 'clicked' for me and I am so much happier even though I'm making lots of sacrifices which have really ended up NOT being sacrifices at all... go figure! The 'work' of being self-sufficient is rewarding and therefore doesn't really seem like work.

    I watched an excellent 20 minute video today that is on the internet called 'The Story of Stuff'. It pertains to consumerism in the United States but I would imagine the same principles hold true in other countries as well. Check it out. It really puts 'stuff' in perspective especially for those of us who are living simply.

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  15. i grew up with my Grandmother baking bread, cooking everything from scratch and making all of my mom's clothes and some for my sisters and I. Then when i went home with my Mom, I had the opposite going on. my mom was one for cooking with the conveniences and buying some of my clothes. 9our conveniences where in the form of store bought canned food.) She still cooked from "scratch".
    I took on my Mom's habits, but am starting to move myself back into the way my Grandmother did things. i like this way much better. It's more satisfying!

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  16. Hi Rhonda,
    Beautifull written :) :) I think our attitude really affects how we look at things..and it's really helped me in my effort to simplify and make do with what I have. Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :)

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  17. Oh my goodness, Ballarat.. this has totally made my day! :D See you soon!

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  18. Poor little chickies. In sixth grade, I had to do the same thing. Math was easy, but come to find out, aceing the tests and skipping the homework called for some wall time.

    brenda from ar

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  19. I couldn't think of what to do for tea tonight (the monthly menu plan is in need of doing right now)... and then I saw your picture of oven fries! Thanks Rhonda!

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  20. I second your thoughts Rhonda...well said indeed! :) I never worked so hard but feel so rewarded, satisfied and happy. Working for ourselves is the best! Sarah

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  21. Great post Rhonda, but really...all I got was 'Wollongong'...I didn't sink anything else in after that...Too excited after discovering that you will be in Wollongong for your book tour....I had to read your post again....lol

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  22. Hi Rhonda,

    I am new to your blog, and have really enjoyed reading your posts. Thank you for this very inspiring post. I think I am in the " it would be great to have it but maybe I shouldn't " point in my life. A change in attitude is definitely neccessary but a work in progress.

    Cheers
    Joy

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  23. Hi Rhonda, I remember when I was a little girl my mum did all the cooking, sewing, cleaning, knitting etc. We never did without and life seemed so much simpler then. I guees you get used to a certain way of life and it's just about changing your mind set if you really want to make changes.

    Nicky Singh

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  24. Attitude is E V E R Y T H I N G. One of the lessons at Weight Watchers is "It has to start at your brain before it stops at your lips". Same thing is true for living the simple life. We try to fool ourselves into thinking that having more material things (or eating a lot) will make us happier - when what we really need to do is change our attitude and then the yearning for more things (or excess food) will become easier to put aside.

    Thanks for the reminders you always give us.

    Diane in North Carolina

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  25. Dear Rhonda,

    There is beauty in letting go of the trappings of our modern society. By choosing to live a simple life and to do more for ourselves, I believe we become empowered. We are empowered to choose how we spend our money and time, instead of being a slave to money and time.

    I have read a handful of your postings and I must say, your blog is an encouragement and inspiration to me.

    Nicely done!

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  26. Corrine WhiteheadFebruary 10, 2012 6:08 am

    A few years ago I was left in the position of becoming a single mum to 4 children. Money was suddenly very limited and it took me a while to adjust. It is amazing what you can learn to live without or substitute and my kids and I still manage to have amazing times and experiences together. Friends always said to me "How do you manage" and I always answered "I just do, it's not that hard" I have recently remarried and have kept most of my thrifty and green habits going and love teaching my kids that it's not about what you have, but who you are in this world :)

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  27. I second NellyMary - Wollongong, yay! (Now if the fates will be kind and not make the Wollongong date my work-Monday, that would be appreciated). Liesel

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  28. This is a great post. I can reflect and see were I am at emotionally. Most of the time it is easy to be simple but there are those days where the kids all have so much going on with school and husband with work that slipping back a little is easy. It seems we will be doing a lot of running around in the next month and a half for basketball, a dance, field-trip, etc.. I can see the gas in my truck burning away.
    I love the pictures of the chickens lined up against the wall like they were bad at recess time and are in time out.

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  29. Your reflections of the experiences you have had on the journey to simplicity are inspiring. Thank you for continuing to share!

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  30. As others commented, the snag to most of my simple living is getting my husband on-board. He is willing to do a few simple things but he seems to think it should all be easy.

    You know, as if SIMPLE = EASY. I tell him it doesn't mean the same thing.

    However, I keep plodding along and if he chooses to call my explanations "nagging" I figure that's his problem. I just endeavor to keep a cheerful spirit and keep doing as much as I can. For the most part, he comes along for the ride.

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  31. What an awesome read, great fresh photos. There is so much we can learn from you. THANK YOU
    A true INSPIRATION

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  32. What a wonderful post. Very inspirational. And those cheeky chooks :) love them

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