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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Beauty vs. Simplicity

I was visiting a friend the other day, and she has the most beautiful houseplants. I have always avoided having houseplants because I feel they are a lot of work. With all my other commitments, I shunned houseplants to the list of un-glorious tasks, along with cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, and yard work. These days, I still avoid cleaning whenever possible, but I am re-evaluating the other tasks.

So many of us have moved away from our connection to the earth – where our food comes from and how to sustain ourselves – and I am the best example. When I was working, I would wake up at 5:30 a.m. to hit the gym, and then spent eight to ten hours a day working, and then returned home exhausted and too tired to cook so I would order take-out. Then, I would wake up and do it again. Those days, the last thing I wanted to deal with was houseplants. Since I have been home with my daughter, I have enjoyed reading a lot of literature on homemaking, and I have experienced how much more enjoyable these things can be when you have the energy and time. These days, I am starting to find the daily chores more rewarding and less taxing.

The other day, I saw how beautiful houseplants can be. They created a calm, yet cheerful energy in the home. In fact, according to one study, a six-inch houseplant per one hundred square feet of living area will do a good job of filtering out pollutants. The houseplants got me thinking. There are some things we should consider doing because they bring us joy, even though they are not simple - for example, having pets, getting married, and having children. These things require time, energy, and money, but they make us feel alive. Sure, I could divest myself of all my material possessions. But, it makes sense that if I enjoy surfing, then I should own a surfboard.

When I was working, my husband recommended that we start a garden. I groaned, and said, “But that is so much work.” Now, I realize he had a great idea. A garden is something we can enjoy as a family, it will get us outdoors, it can be used to teach our daughter about life, and maybe it could even provide a meal or two (if we’re lucky).

I guess it is not always about simplicity. There are worthwhile endeavors that enrich our lives, yet can be complicated and chaotic. I’m considering getting some houseplants.

Where in your life do you make exceptions to simple living?

photo by kurki15

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Sandra said...

We like to garden too, and can what we grow and get from a local farm. It isn't easy, but it works for us in the long run! Love your blog. Thanks for all the great thoughts!

Sa said...

Joy, this is just beautiful. I agree heart and soul that there is a line where beauty, life, and joy trump simplicity. You found a perfect example!