A sense of sufficiency, spaciousness, and appreciation suffuse a life that is lived simply. Many of us long for this unconditional wellbeing in our daily lives, yet lack guidance about ways to cultivate and experience it. As well, the habits of mind and behavior which keep us on the treadmill of “more is better,” are very challenging to change, especially in societies which tend to define us by what we do, own, and have, rather than who we are. A sense of scarcity and urgency can be so commonplace for many of us that we can hardly imagine being energized or motivated without it, and they can keep us less resilient, resourceful and creative.
Grateful Living is a direct pathway to the qualities of mind and heart which lend themselves to simplicity and sustainable motivation. Simple living comes when we trade our acquisitive tendencies for inquisitive and appreciative tendencies. Then, the experience of enough-ness, which brings peace and equanimity to our lives and relationships, will spill over into abundance. “When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears,” says Tony Robbins. And a sense of abundance will make our collective wellbeing more assured.
Try a Sample Practice: Appreciating Sufficiency
More loving; decide it’s a place, a universal neighborhood, have good shoes… You can’t decide…
(July, 2016) What makes you rich or poor? A short film (1:00) from the beautiful Sangti Valley of Arunachal Pradesh, India. This film invites us to consider the difference between leading a rich life and having a lot of money…
(March, 2010) The Story of Bottled Water tells the story of manufactured demand—how you get Americans to buy more than half a billion bottles of water every week when it already flows from the tap. The film concludes with a call to take back the tap, not only by making a personal commitment to avoid bottled water, but by supporting investments in clean, available tap water for all.
(February, 2016) An inspiring 60 second film on the importance of motherhood. Meet Ibu Robin Lim, midwife and founder of a health clinic which offers free prenatal care, birthing services and medical aid to women in Indonesia.
Research and life itself show us that the more things we have, the harder it can be to be grateful. The holidays can present a challenge as we seek to to be generous with our children AND not overwhelm their ability to feel gratitude. Here are gift ideas which offer experience, connection and engagement.
(Quartz, January 2014) “My parents simply didn’t have material things to give me so I learned to be thankful for the little we had. So by giving my kids what I never had—toys, snow boots, fashionable jeans—would they be destined to become ungrateful?” Jenn Choi explores this question and comes to some interesting conclusions.
(Massage Magazine, November 2015) How might we cultivate gratefulness as a way of being rather than settling for gratitude as an intermittent way of feeling? Gratefulness surfaces whenever we remember that life itself is a precious gift that is irrefutably impermanent; this paradox allows the vulnerability and potency of gratefulness to become the lens through which we experience the fullness of our lives.
(July 2013) As a young child, Tania Luna left her home in post-Chernobyl Ukraine to take asylum in the US. And one day, on the floor of the New York homeless shelter where she and her family lived, she found a penny. She has never again felt so rich. A meditation on the bittersweet joys of childhood — and how to hold them in mind.
Grateful living, or living in touch with the great fullness of life, has the ability…
(Myth & Moor, 2015) “One of these stories sustains the living systems on which we depend. One of these stories opens the way to living in gratitude and amazement at the richness and generosity of the world. One of these stories asks us to bestow our gifts in kind, to celebrate our kinship with the world. We can choose.” Beautifully articulated perspectives, stories.
(2009) A collection of colorful images of the Dutch cycling in the 1950s. In villages, in cities, for work, for pleasure: the Dutch cycled all over their country in great numbers. Even greater numbers than today.
(Momastery, 2014) A funny, insightful, and thought-provoking article about a surprising kitchen “makeover.”
We have a problem with Stuff. We use too much, too much of it is toxic and we don’t share it very well. But that’s not the way things have to be. Together, we can build a society based on better not more, sharing not selfishness, community not division.
The Story of Stuff Project’s journey began with a 20-minute online movie about the way we make, use and throw away all the Stuff in our lives. Five years and 40 million views later, we’re a Community of more than a million changemakers worldwide, working to build a more healthy and just planet. We invite you to watch and share our movies, participate in our study programs and join our campaigns. Come on, let’s go!
(Organic Consumers Association) This excerpt from Barbara Kingsolver’s book “Small Wonders,” beautifully articulates her argument against GMOs.
Drawing from deep ecology, systems theory and spiritual traditions, the Work That Reconnects (WTR) builds motivation, creativity, courage and solidarity for the transition to a sustainable human culture. First emerging in 1978, this pioneering, open-source body of work has its roots in the teachings and experiential methods of Joanna Macy.
Notice the enoughness of your life in any way that you can. Allow feelings of scarcity to move away in favor of a sense of sufficiency – appreciating what is yours to appreciate…
Gratefulness and simple living go hand in hand. When we are grateful, we appreciate life’s free gifts: friendship and solitude; movement and rest; Nature’s bounty and her spare winter introversion. The following are books to guide and inspire us to live simply and gratefully.
(2009) Spiritual Practices for Everyday Living was a retreat led by Br. David Steindl-Rast at Roy’s Retreat in South Australia. Part 2.
Q: Do you have a vision of an alternative societal or world order (in socio-political…
(5:00) Poems can remind you of a Peak experience (first called “Mystic”experience).
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