Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Simplicity - an unfocused thought blurt

Through the chaos of my last couple weeks, the testimonies of simplicity and integrity have been coming up in my thought process quite a bit. Since I haven't felt like I've had time to really sit with these thoughts yet, what I have to say may not be as clear, focused, or articulate as I would hope, but I figure that writing it out may help me thresh through some of it a little better.

Simplicity. My thoughts on simplicity have been far from thorough, but different from typical interpretations of 'simple' that I usually hear or think about. I recently moved out of my dorm room at school and found that I had a great excess of stuff. I threw out what was trashable, gave away some of it, and brought the rest home - still an excess of necessary stuff. I decided that the next time I moved out (which turned out to be today, four days later), I would not bring nearly as much stuff as I brought home, in part as a dedication to simplicity. Excess stuff leads to mess, clutter, and often distracting complication to one's life - distracting from the Spirit. I did manage to bring a lot less stuff, but still probably more than I need. (I find, all too often, that I keep thinking to myself "well, I might need that one day; you never know!" The hard part about saying "no" to things like that is that I might actually be right - often it's not a completely misplaced or irrational thought. It still leaves me with excess stuff.) I think part of simplicity - and I admit that this is not an entirely original idea - is to not have so much stuff!

Another, perhaps more original (perhaps not), thought that has come to me is simplicity in terms of the least complicated. Some Friends find that being plain is how they feel called to live out the simplicity testimony, but I feel that this, for me at least, would complicate my life in distracting ways. I would become too focused on finding ways to fit in or explain my ways to people rather than being focused on the Spirit. While I realize that a certain amount of adversity is necessary when on a spiritual journey (spiritual development isn't always just a walk in the park, though a walk in the park might be quite helpful), such adversity should not necessarily distract. Perhaps for some, dealing with complications that occur because of personal callings to certain levels of simplicity may be more focusing - to always answer questions of "why?" or deal with social responses may cause one to constantly re-examine what it is one is doing and may help spiritual development. In my own experience so far, I'm finding myself beginning to be called to simplicity in other ways, such as reducing the amount of stuff in my life. I need to find a time to listen with this in mind - as I mentioned above, I'm not yet in a place where I feel like I can articulate in a clear and focused manner.

More later on simplicity after I find more focus time. Also coming, a post about a somewhat specific experience regarding integrity and honesty.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You articulate your thoughts very well, I think! I enjoyed finding and reading this blog, a lot of your thoughts mirror my own. Keep writing!

3/6/05 12:29 PM  
Anonymous matthew said...

I'm not so sure that spreading your possessions among two places constitutes simplicity. I'd just be frustrated everytime I went for a stapler and remembered I have one, but it's at my parent's house. I do think your idea of simplifying your possessions is great though. I'm about to go on an 850 mile move myself and have had to face the fact that I don't "need" all these books I keep dragging around. How many will I truly read again? In fact I'm looking at everything with the same mindset. Sorting and reducing. It actually feels pretty good. There's an attitude in the general society that less stuff equals less power or less security. As you eliminate your excess stuff you also help eliminate that faulty attitude.

3/6/05 4:08 PM  
Blogger Martin Kelley said...

Hi Claire, it's always nice to hear your out-loud ponderings via the blog.

The only thing I'd say is that for me plainness is not quite simplicity. Plainness seems to includes a leading to be a public Friend. The explaining is part of the outreach and ministry and the oddness becomes part of the personal discipline (can you imagine the embarrasment I felt the first time I cussed out a taxi driver after I went plain?!) Plenty of great public Friends aren't plain dressers, there's certainly no magic in the threads. It's all inside of course. By the time I had decided to go plain it was almost funny: I looked at my wardrobe and realized I had already been getting plainner for a couple of years.

3/6/05 5:54 PM  

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