Sunday, May 22, 2011

52 Books in 52 Weeks ----- Week 21 ----- The Art of Simplicity

This week I chose The Art of Simplicity by Candy Paull for my 21st book to read in the 52 Books in 52 Weeks challenge. 

I ordered this book from the library after seeing it on a recommended reading list that was distributed at a homeschool conference workshop about simplifying one's life.  In addition to The Art of Simplicity, I ordered several other books that have the same overall theme. 

In comparison to the other books, The Art of Simplicity has a wealth of quotes from a variety of individuals.  There is limited writing by the author, though what is written is interesting and insightful. 

The author invites the reader to "...come explore the potential and magnificent power that has been buried beneath the clutter and confusion for so long.  Enter into the freedom of simplicity."

I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things of life
which are the real ones after all.
Laura Ingalls Wilder

She encourages the reader to shift one's focus:  "When you are tempted to focus too much attention on what you don't have, a make a conscious decision to shift your focus to what you already have, and decide to appreciate it and enjoy it more fully and completely."

The Art of Simplicity provides a thoughtful and, perhaps, different definition of simplicity than what other books about the same topic suggest.  "Simplicity is found in the common objects and objectives of each day.  It is in the choices to create inner stillness through meditation and prayer, clearing clutter in both inner and outer life, choosing positive rather than negative thoughts, handling money and resources wisely, and making that which is most meaningful to you a priority."

The author continues to describe what simplicity is: "Whether it is in clothing that expresses your styles and values, or a home that provides a nurturing atmosphere, or meaningful work that satisfies your creative soul and helps others, or loving relationships that balance giving and receiving, or creating a more sustainable and just society, true simplicity integrates our gifts, talents, and choices with the deep needs of the world."

Since The Art of Simplicity has so many quotes that I want to share with my daughters (who may not fully appreciate them now when they are in elementary school, but certainly could when they are older). I thought it would make a good starting point for copywork, transcription, and dictation lessons during the upcoming homeschooling year. (The website Simply Charlotte Mason has some guidelines for each grade with regard to this subject.)

What I like about this book is that it gives the motivation to simplify one's life not with a list of "To Do" items, but rather with quotes that are inspiring and create the desire to change.  As the author concludes in the last chapter of The Art of Simplicity, "...the choices and attitudes that make life simpler and easier are ones of character and integrity. 

"Because you choose to cultivate character, honor your responsibilities, and believe in your own potential for good, you become a blessing to everyone around you.  You become a channel for good in the world, fulfilling your potential and your calling in ways that expand ever outward."

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