There are many ways to learn how to create and maintain a life of tranquility and simplicity. You can read my blog, for instance! :) Or you can read the innumerable books that are published every year - books with names like Voluntary Simplicity (rev) : Toward A Way Of Life That Is Outwardly Simple, Inwardly Rich...Choosing Simplicity: Real People Finding Peace and Fulfillment in a Complex World...Simplicity Lessons: A 12-Step Guide to Living Simply...The Circle of Simplicity: Return to the Good Life.
Or, you could just have a lightning storm hit your local electricity supplier for a few hours.
Yes, we got a crash course in living simply this week. Basically, life without electricity will bring home what living simply really means. Candles provide nice ambience when you want to have a romantic dinner - but they are quite useless for reading a magazine. There is an eerie quiet about the house when suddenly the lights go out, the fans go off, the refrigerator stops working, the TV turns itself off, and all you can hear are the wall clocks which run on batteries ticking in the silence. Motions you are used to doing automatically - turning on the light switch when you enter a room, for instance - are fruitless. Trying to find something to eat for dinner is a challenge in itself. (We ended up with cheese and bread and a little deli turkey.) Pity the poor soul in this situation who only has electric can openers. Fortunately, an old-fashioned hand cranked can opener is a staple in our kitchen; we could have least opened a can of beans or something. I don't want to confess how many times I was so bored I almost ran upstairs to check my e-mail before I realized I had no working computer. Even my piano is digital.
So after I played my harp (which is not digital), we spent the evening in total quiet, just talking to each other without the usual distractions.
Living truly simply is not for wimps. And without electricity, I couldn't even be writing this journal, nor could you be reading it. But it's nice every once in awhile to be reminded of what it could be like if we scaled our hectic lives back a little.
And the harp never sounded better!