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Simple Rules for Abundant Living

Experiencing Sensorio, traveling by RV, talking and sharing important transition times in life: what I learned on Independence Day weekend in 2019.

My 85-year old mother recently encouraged me by reminding me of one of her favorite Robert Browning quotes: "Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?" This basically means that in order to achieve anything worthwhile, a person should attempt even those things that seem impossible. Or something along those lines.

In a troubled world, how and where do you find peace?

Internationally-acclaimed artist Bruce Munro recently premiered his largest artwork to date—an enormous multi-acre walk-through installation—at an outdoor site called Sensorio near Paso Robles, California. The Field of Light at Sensorio is comprised of an array of over 58,800 stemmed spheres lit by fiber-optics, "gently illuminating the landscape in subtle blooms of morphing color," the website proclaims.

Upon my July 5 visit there, the idea of laying out all those spheres, running the cords that attached them to their solar power batteries, and creating the undulating effect of ever-changing dots of color on the gorgeous rolling, oak-spotted hills seemed an impossible task to me.

What is important to you? What life will you create?

I found incredible peace, and joy, walking among the impossibly beautiful rows of fiber-optic bulbs. Waves and waves of green, purple, yellow, orange, blue, white, pink held me spellbound for hours.

On that same trip to the central coast, my traveling companion and I discovered the work of Helen Nearing, and her husband, Scott, who were early advocates and role models for the notion of "simple living" in America. They lived pretty much "off the grid" long before living off the grid became a thing. And, their simple life completely pre-dated the whole 60s hippy commune thing. With almost a 20-year age difference in their relationship, Helen and Scott lived in rural Vermont where they grew much of their food and erected nine stone buildings over the course of two decades, living an ascetic and self-reliant life and earning money by producing maple syrup and sugar from the trees on their land and from Scott Nearing's occasional paid lectures. Their home was open and full of life, inviting others to experience their way of living and forming the foundation for The Good Life Center which many still pilgrimage to today.

Learning about the Nearings, I was exposed (thanks, Google) to Helen's summary of what it means to live in simple abundance and was inspired to write my own "rules:"

Karen's Simple Rules for Abundant Living July 7, 2019 Atascadero, CA

1. Walk every day when you could ride or drive instead

2. Speak in life-giving words, at the right time, and with purpose

3. Challenge your outdated assumptions

4. Engage in meaningful, far-ranging discussions with those whose intellectual capacity is compatible with yours

5. Celebrate nature in as pristine a setting as you can get to safely

6. Share simple pleasures with those you love and don't forget to laugh

7. Nurture your body daily through healthy food, and comfort food in moderation

8. Cultivate new skills as you perpetually learn and grow

9. Make your work, work for you, not the other way around

10. Bestow tender loving care on the grown-ups, children, pets, and plants in your life

Above all, express gratitude to the creator for your every breath, until your final one.

These rules for abundant living express the life I have, and the life I want for the foreseeable future, as long as I am lucky enough to live it! I feel gratitude every day of my life for this simple, "unconventional" life I lead. If this inspires you, let me know. You can explore your own simple rules, and what makes you happy and fulfilled. I can help you develop your list, if you need encouragement or support.


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