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A Call to Simplify

Last week I got back into my garden, my hands in the dirt, squatting to pull weeds for hours, removing dead leaves and branches, harvesting beautifully ripe no-spray strawberries.

It was a joy to be nurturing nature.  And a pain…literally.  My legs and back are sore to the core.  I realized – my garden and I are in the worst shape ever!

And then as I wondered again why we pay our landscape maintenance company to come regularly to “mow, blow, and go,” why do we pay people (gardeners, housekeepers, etc.) to not do physical work and then go and pay other people (gym memberships, yoga classes, personal trainers, etc.) so that we can do physical work?  Why do we make things so complicated?

On the face of it, it seems that we are making life easier for ourselves.  We don’t have to toil in the yard, getting all dirty and sweaty.  But, perhaps that toiling, that dirt, and that sweating are good for us.  Instead we have “free time.”  But perhaps we spend that free time in ways that are not healthful, not actually moving things forward.  Then, we struggle to “find the time” to get healthy – to get to the gym and work out.

Just looking at that term “work out” doesn’t seem fun.  I’ll admit, I’m not much of a gym person.  I’d rather not spend more time in a fluorescent-lighted facility with a bunch of machines and rubber gym mats that are emitting I-don’t-know what.  I do have a gym membership.  But 9 times out of 10, I’d prefer to go outside.

So my personal goal for the rest of the summer is to indeed spend more time outside, to get my hands in the dirt at least once a week, and to be more aware of the areas in my life where I am actually creating more work for myself and find a way to simplify.  I’ll bet that by the end of the summer my garden and I will be in much better shape!

Henry David Thoreau in Walden said, “Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify, simplify!”  In what areas of your life do you think you are creating more work for yourself?  What are some things you could do to simplify?

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