VOLUNTARY SIMPLICITY, a LIFESTYLE CHOICE which has NOTHING TO DO with FORCED POVERTY!

Let's first look at the meaning of voluntary simplicity.

Voluntary simplicity is related to declutter, minimalism, frugal living or the 'less is more' concept. It means to voluntarily choose a lifestyle characterized by consuming only what we really need without excess.

It is related to finding happiness without the clutter of excessive consumerism. It's about deciding to counteract the societal prejudice that having less is a step down and realizing that it is a step-up to freedom.

The reasons behind the choice of adopting voluntary simplicity are personal and diverse. It may relate to spirituality, health, the decision of working less to spend more quality time with friends and family, stress reduction, diminution of ecological footprint or frugality.

Others choose this minimalism lifestyle for socio-political reasons like anti-consumerism, anti-capitalism, the search for social justice etc...

Whatever the reason, voluntary simplicity is a social behavior where an individual decides to 'declutter' his life, live it more simply, putting in practice the less is more philosophy.

The reality for many of us is that we are so engaged in consumerism that we may not see clearly anymore. We are driven by obsessive ownership.

We could all ask ourselves: Do we really need this? or do we just want it?

What is our fundamental underlying motivation reason to consume? Could it be sometimes to counterbalance the feeling of emptiness in our lives?

Whatever our level of consumerism, in general, we all have things in our houses, basements, garages and yards that we have not used for months, even years. We keep accumulating for different reasons. Decluttering our houses is a decision we always seem to postpone.

It may be what we call the pursuit of the American Dream, the purchase of ephemeral happiness. However, materialism rarely fulfills and permanently satisfies.

Accumulating things just for the sake of it does not make sense. This decluttering action may be a liberation.


KEEPING UP WITH "THE JONESES":

For many individuals, a beautiful 4 bedroom, 3 bathroom, double garage home on a landscaped corner lot for everyone to see and envy, may bring a sense of achievement and fulfillment.

However, it may as well increase the level of stress and attenuate the satisfaction of ownership. The accumulation of things and the making of money should not prevent the purity of the soul, so we are told, but temptation is always there!

This is where it can play an important role in our lives.

As time goes by, many of us without really wanting to admit it, feel despair of having to maintain possessions rather than having the time to really "smell the roses".

We may realize that we do not even have enough time to enjoy things and activities dear to us with the people we love.

We buy, influenced by advertising and the promise of having the best, the fastest, the most up-to-date. Over time, our houses then become full of stuff, some we need, most of it we don't.

Let's not forget that we are also in debt. Most North Americans can not afford the lifestyle presented daily on our TV screens and in advertising. That instant rush of happiness following a purchase is often a fleeting moment.

We also spend a lot of time, money and energy running around to purchase those things, to maintain them and later on, get them fixed.

'Keeping up with the Joneses' is a very tiring and expensive endeavour. Many of us are paying with our lives! Voluntary simplicity can help to see more clearly.

We have forgotten the fundamental reasons to be alive. In our rush for economic success, some of us have favored work over leisure, health and pleasure.

SIMPLIFYING OUR LIVES may lead to more FREEDOM!


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