'I was pulled into simple living before I knew what it was. It crept up on me using the smallest of steps and didn't reveal its true beauty and real power until I was totally hooked. I was searching for a way to live well while spending very little money. What I found was a way of life that also gave me independence, opportunity and freedom.' - Rhonda Hetzel, Down to Earth
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of listening to Rhonda Hetzel and Antonia Kidman discuss simple living with Nina Stacey, as part of the brilliant Brisbane Writers Festival. Rhonda's blog and book, Down To Earth, have been a great inspiration and practical resource for me as I pursue my simple living dreams. Her gentle encouragement has often been exactly what I needed to commit to making changes in our day to day. From switching to home made laundry liquid and cloth nappies, to making jam and budgeting, Rhonda's wisdom has been indispensable. And it was just as inspiring listening to her speaking to those of us who filled the cinema room of the Gallery Of Modern Art. In essence, Rhonda spoke of her simple living philosophy, which includes redefining what success means, learning to live well and being satisfied with 'enough'.
Antonia spoke to the same topic. It was actually the first I had heard of her book, The Simple Things, but it is now on my to-read list. Antonia mentioned "peeling back the layers of life and discovering what makes me happy and content." By so doing, said she realised that her home and family were her joy, and that she needed to resist the pressure of expectation - that she can't and doesn't need to "be something and do something" to find joy, as it is right in front of her already. She found the "clarity of de-cluttering everyday life deeply liberating." Things I am sure we can all relate to, though often need reminding of. Another point she made that stuck with me was in her discussion of beauty. We are lead to believe, primarily by advertising, that we will be happy if we are beautiful. However, beauty that is only skin deep is not lasting beauty. True beauty is an inner calm and self confidence. The way we feel will be reflected in the way we look. A much worthier ambition I should think.
As I left the gallery and headed to the State Library to listen to love poems with my sister and Emerson, I reflected on how incredibly lucky I am. Lucky that Dave and I have our individual roles yet work together as a team, lucky that after ten years of marriage we have grown and changed so much but have still developed a philosophy of lifestyle and parenting that is compatible, lucky with the time I get to spend in our home with our children nurturing our family as a stay at home mother, lucky to be able to grow our own food and live in such a way as to allow us to thrive on a single wage. As Nina remarked during the discussion, she has found that how she wants to live her life in her thirties is very different to how she wanted to live her life in her twenties. I would wholeheartedly agree.