Edge Life by Cathy Combs

Voluntary Simplicity -- Be!

Voluntary Simplicity -- Be? Surely nothing could be that simple, you might say! In my opinion, that's the beauty of any spiritual principle. It is that simple! It is that direct!

For me, "voluntary" invokes the power of freedom; reminding me that by my own choosing I can focus on the innumerable simple beauties of life. To me, that means I see life for what it is: a beautiful opportunity. "Simplicity" invokes the power of back-to-the-basics; reminding me to get down to the interiority of the point of life! This spiritual principle of voluntary simplicity is that simple, because it takes us right to the very heart and soul of what's important in life. Voluntary simplicity is a spiritual discipline. This discipline speaks to me of cherishing the clarity of living from the heartfelt, joyful integrity of Love. It says to me, "Be in tune with the Spirit of Love within you. Be yourself. Be Love!" It reminds me life is lived from the inside out!

From that clear vantage point, I realize that every need is taken care of: because "my faith is sufficient unto the day"; because I believe in a benevolent Universe; because I trust that I am valued; because I believe in the power and the principle of staying focused and doing the work I am here to do. I believe that voluntary simplicity leaves room in my life for doing the real work I am here to do.

It is very important to me to address one of the major misconceptions that people might have about voluntary simplicity. Voluntary simplicity is by no means synonymous with poverty. Quite to the contrary, I see voluntary simplicity expressing the very core of generosity of spirit and profound joy that I love and value so very much. Living life from that core value, I certainly do not feel impoverished, because my inward focus is on the Presence of Love in every moment. From this inward focus, I feel only a deep, heartfelt connection with the Spirit of Love that we are as children of the Source of all life. I feel a deeply held gratitude for the blessings in life. I have a heartfelt understanding that "problems" are my next opportunity to clear the way for unseen blessings.

My version of voluntary simplicity is: Breathe! Be! Love! Enjoy! Celebrate! Release!

Begin again! This spiritual discipline brings me back to the basics of life and keeps me centered in the purity and integrity of wholeness and holiness. Holiness, as in wholeness, means deeply understanding that everything and everyone is part and parcel of the same Creative Spirit. Holiness means deeply realizing we all have access to the same inner power to create our own lives. By our thoughts and actions, we create the life we live. There is no need for fear. No need for blame. There is more than enough for everyone. There is such an inner presence that there is no need for outer trappings! There is an understanding that "trappings" are exactly what possessions can be. When possessions become a trap rather than the service they're meant to be, then we've missed the point of having possessions. There is no joy in being possessed by our possessions! The joy is in being grateful for the beneficence of the life we've been given.

The last part of my definition of voluntary simplicity completes the circle of connection with life:

  • I consciously, responsibly and respectfully use only that which I truly need and release the rest so it can be recycled as a renewable resource to begin the cycle of life again. I recycle as much as possible.
  • I do not use products that are not biodegradable. When I go out to eat I ask that my leftovers be placed in aluminum foil rather than in styrofoam.
  • I do not use chlorine or phosphorous products, because they harm the Earth.
  • I keep my heat as low as possible.
  • I conserve my use of water.

These actions mean a lot to me. These actions are some of my ways to recognize and honor my connectedness with all of life. These actions are my way of giving thanks for the countless blessings I have in my life. I feel centered and empowered by these actions.

I am grateful for the principle and practice of voluntary simplicity. This principle and practice reminds me that life is a wonderful, gracious gift! I especially love that this principle and practice helps me celebrate the Truth of the Great Law of the Iroquois Confederacy, "In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations." I cherish the integrity of this motto!

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