We've just finished our first decade of living in a more simple and mindful way and have come through that time much more self reliant than we were to begin with. To me, self reliance is the key to all of this. If we can make what we need, if we can mend and sew, if we recycle, reuse and repair, and if we produce fresh food in the backyard then we're relying more on our own skills and common sense than we do on shops and the system that upholds the current way of living. Anything you can do to move away from that system towards a simpler one will lead you to a more sustainable and mindful life. That system tells us to forget what we know, don't worry about learning anything, everything you need or want, and more, is in the shops. All you need to do is to work until you drop to pay for it.
Pfffft, not this little black duck. And not you either. You wouldn't be reading here if that was your mindset. We're in this together even though our methods and goals may be different - we are different ages and our daily circumstances are worlds apart; we're all living more simply and mindfully than we were. We are all traversing the same path.
I prefer walking on the grass in the backyard than on the marbleised floors of shopping malls. I prefer picking peas off the vine and crunching into them in the garden instead of ordering a garden salad at a restaurant and being horribly disappointed at the poor quality of their produce. I prefer to mend a favourite skirt that feels like a second skin that buy a new one. I don't want to add more land fill waste than I absolutely have to so I recycle and compost and yes, that takes more effort, but it feels much better to do it. I feel like I'm doing my bit.
So as the years went by, while we've been learning about our soil and vegetables, as we've worried over sick chooks and cried over dying old dogs, as we've watched our children move away to find their own partners and show us their newborn babies, we've always had in the back of our minds that here in our home is where we belong. We feel connected to this patch of land and we feel that we're giving to it as well as taking from it. I have no doubt the old ways of doing things are the best and if you can use those old ways in your modern life, you can have the best of both worlds. Much of what is new is redundant here. We don't follow fashion, we're not slaves to our phones, and while we keep up with technology, we have no problems turning it all off to retain a balance that is not only important to us, it plays a big role in keeping us on this simple path. We need time with our hands in the soil, sensing the changes in the wind and watching the way the clouds change. We are more in tune with the seasons and the weather than ever before.