In 1845, 28 year old Henry embarked on a #simplelife experiment that would have surely been an insta sensation had it played out today. He built his own cabin in the forest, on some land owned by a friend, and lived alone there for two years, growing his own food, fishing #local and #sustainable, and, importantly, writing. His journal from these years came to be published as ‘Walden’, and it is from one of its lines that this blog takes its name –
The most incredible thing is that the obstacles Henry David Thoreau identifies, the things that keep us from living deliberately and instead catch us up in their unintended cycles, are the same today as they were 120 years ago…
- The distraction of information, rather than meaning
- The hollow nature of busy-ness
- The cycle of materialism and consumerism
He points out that it is far too common to come to the end of one’s life and find that it has been spent not on those things closest to one’s heart, but on worrying about that which we cannot control and acquiring that which we cannot take with us. He suggests that we may reconsider the price point of certain pursuits if we remember that
‘The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.”
As so the question is the same today as it was then – how are you spending your life? Are you choosing to live in a way that honours what matters to you most?
Are you living deliberately with your hands – pursuing your gifts and seeking the good of others?
Are you living deliberately with your heart – in your relationships and your inner life?
Are you living deliberately with your head – in the thoughts and beliefs that shape your world?
The lures of distraction, performance, consumerism, busyness – they are relentless and subtle, and trap us as effectively in this generation as ever before. Perhaps more so. We have to be deliberate if we don’t want them to be the shaping forces of our lives. We have to be deliberate if we want to align our lives with what matters most to us, and not with the forces of our markets or our cultures.
The good news is – we can.
It starts with the simple – our calendars, our conversations, our consumer choices.
And it starts right now.
Which area of your life would you like to start being more deliberate in? What is one shift you can make this week to be more aware of deliberate of the choices you are making?