K.I.S.S. = Keep It Simple Silly
About four years ago a most inspiring teacher and friend Nancy Scarzello, collaborated with me to create a class entitled Community Educator Development. It was a course that was built as a final step towards my Sustainable Community Health degree from Prescott College. Within the syllabus was material and experiences we would use to explore the way in which “sustainable community health” could be transcribed into a class/classes that I could offer to local community members. One of the books we chose to assist us in our class together was Living The Simple Life: A Guide To Scaling Down and Enjoying More by Elaine St. James.
So much of sustainability is simplifying. If we were only to simplify our thoughts, our food intake, our daily stresses, oh my, how much more sustainable our lives would become. Sustainable (meaning able to be maintained) does not mean to go without or deprive oneself it just means balance. There is so much to be said about the topic of sustainability that I will leave that for another blog, but in order to begin a shift towards a more sustainable lifestyle we have to shake things up a little bit; we need to change the gears if you will.
On chapter 31 of the book Elaine talks about ways that we can begin to “change gears”.
Here is Elaine’s advice…
31. Some Ways to Change Gears
Here are some things you might think about doing to get off automatic for a bit:
Get up earlier and go out to eat with the family at a local breakfast dive. Or pack some muffins, juice, and coffee for a picnic breakfast to watch the sunrise.
Walk to work. Cycle to work. Take a bus to work. Take a different route to work.
Walk the kids to school instead of driving them.
Do your grocery shopping early in the morning before the store gets crowded. Shop at a different store altogether to get a fresh perspective on the items you purchase.
Meet your spouse and/or kids for lunch in the park. Or leave the office early, pick up a deli basket, and have dinner in the park at sunset.
Let the housekeeping go this week. Spend the time with your kids instead.
Let the laundry go this week. Or assign the routine chore to someone else if you can.
You might come up with a slightly different way of approaching these tasks that would make them simpler for the time being. Recently a friend of mine asked her 10-year old to make her bed before guests arrived. “Can’t we just close the bedroom door?” her daughter asked.
There are many circumstances in which just closing the door for the moment would make life simpler.
Take a vacation day in the middle of the week with your spouse and kids, and go play together. If you can’t take the whole day, take the afternoon off together.
Exercise at a different time; or do it at a different place; or do it with someone else; or do it alone.
Unplug your phone for a week. Or change your outgoing message to say you’ll return calls next week. When I started simplifying some of my office protocol, I was amazed to learn how few phone calls need immediate attention.
Or sit in a different chair or at a different desk. If possible, work in a different office, or take your work to an empty table in the local library or your favorite cafe.
Take some time right now to come up with two or three things you could do this week that would help you break, even for a short while, the patterns that keep you moving through life on automatic, the patterns that keep you trying to do it all.