A year ago, our deck had a table, 8 chairs, an umbrella, a loveseat, two chairs with ottomans, a grill, tons of flowers and a lot of clutter. No one ever used it except for the chipmunks and squirrels who eventually stole all the stuffing out of the cushions. This year, we finally had time to refinish the deck, and when I went to put all that stuff back, I ended up saying... you know what? No. Just no. Let's put two rocking chairs out there, leave the grill and maybe a few other folding chaises and simplify our lives. Now.. we use it every single day.
I've been reading a lot lately... gleaning nuggets of wisdom from others instead of trying to impart some wisdom of my own. It's a nice change. Sometimes as creators, I think we spend so much time trying to say, produce, be something interesting, that I think we can lose sight of the fact that it's important to just be quiet and listen to something interesting ourselves from time to time. That is one of the things I loved best about Google+ and really miss... all the opportunities to listen to people with very different viewpoints and ideas from my own.
I have the deepest respect for photographer, David duChemin. He and Chris Orwig have probably been the biggest, most significant influences on my photographic vision in the last four years. David wrote a post a few months ago that I thought was really brave and truly thought provoking. I think it probably speaks into the heart of more creatives than any of us might admit. Things look so shiny and pretty from the outside sometimes, don't they?
I love what he said here: If you bought it and don’t need it, sell it. Clear it out and don’t fill the space with something new. Tame the appetite. Learn to say no to yourself – or rather, learn to say yes to a bigger thing: a debt-free, clutter-free life that affords you the freedom to do what you want to do... A simpler life, with less consumption, is more sustainable on many levels, including your finances. I really feel that on a gut level and it's where I'm at right now. The desire to live a simpler life, to be debt free, to get rid of the clutter and all the "stuff" I don't need is at the top of my list of priorities.
I never noticed with all that clutter on the deck, how beautiful the light is, dappled through the trees and playing with the shadows on the floor. I can't tell you how many times I bruised my thigh on my way to the grill on the corner of that sharp table nobody ever used. It takes some hard knocks to get through to my hard head sometimes... but all that floor space, my little white flip flops, some cheerful little flowers, a comfy wooden rocking chair and a few wise words from David duChemin are all it took this weekend. Well, that and a few purple bruises, here and there. Do guys dig scars like chicks do?;-)
To my core I believe that our lives can be lived boldly, intentionally, and as our truest work of art. I believe we are all capable of living extraordinary lives; that people like Gandhi, Picasso, or Mother Teresa, were ordinary people who chose to be fully themselves and play by their own rules. I believe that we are all creative and that if our lives are our first, and most intentional, act of creation, then the principles of creativity can teach us to be not only bolder creatives but bolder human beings. - David duChemin
I do too, David. With every fiber of my being... I surely do.