“I am only one, but still I am one.
I cannot do everything, but still I can do something.
And because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do the something I can do.”

Edward Everett Hale

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Appreciating What We Have

I like Facebook. I know it can be a terrible time-waster, but I log on every day to keep up with all my Unitarian friends round the country, and with my children-no-longer-children, now both away at University. And I 'like', to use the Facebook jargon, a lot of pages, which include many pithy quotes which make me reflect on how I am spending my time and living my life. They can often provide me with a starting point for a blogpost, like this one.

One of my favourite pages on Facebook is called 'becoming minimalist' and the page owner, Joshua Becker, posts a lot of inspirational tips on how to simplify your life, and on how to appreciate what you have, rather than forever going after the next thing. One post last week read: "Treasure your relationships, not your possessions." Which reminded me again of the importance of appreciating what you have, and of living in the present.

Simplicity is also one of the five Quaker testimonies. In their Advices and Queries, they say: "Try to live simply. A simple lifestyle, freely chosen, is a source of strength. Do not be persuaded into buying what you do not need or cannot afford. Do you keep yourself informed about the effects your style of living is having on the global economy and environment?"

And I am finding that these beliefs, these ideas, matter increasingly to me. I know that my lifestyle is currently very far from simple, and that the way I live has more of an impact on the environment than it should. But I am working on it. For example, in the last twelve months, I have given up cigarettes and alcohol, and am trying to eat more healthily too. I am still very bad at buying new books whenever I see them, but try to really consider whether I need other consumer items, such as clothes or jewellery, or gadgets. Because I do believe that "a simple lifestyle, freely chosen, is a source of strength."

It is also about being aware of the sacred in the world. Sacred living is about weaving moments of attention into our everyday lives, and recognising the sacred there. It is about living with a new level of awareness. It is about going through our day paying attention to what is happening in each passing moment. It is about noticing the presence of the divine, the numinous, everywhere, in the natural world, in other people, in ourselves, and in things that happen to us. Sacred living is about rediscovering our sense of wonder, and living our lives in response to that. Sacred living is about truly appreciating what we have.

And giving thanks.

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