Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Yearning for simplicity

Sometimes my yearnings tap me politely on the shoulder and I turn to look them straight in the eye. On other occasions, they loom before me, rending moot my choice of whether to look. And - this last option being the least desirable in my mind - sometimes they sneak in the back door, lurking until I stumble upon them, half-frightened, half-amused. Recently my yearnings have been of the latter, sneaky type. My yearnings have surprised me - in their content, their frequency, and their intensity. So intense I ache, so frequent I drown in emotion.
I have always loved the city - its vibrancy, diversity, architecture, and people. I love being surrounded by people and activities because I derive energy from them. But lately (and I believe this yearning has been sneaking up for a good many years), I yearn for a quiet life where I form a connection to the land I live on, and participate in a close-knit community. I long for simpler times where days were spent in physical labor. A time with no ipods, facebook, cell phones, email, or blogs. A time where people sat and really communicated with one another. A time where people did things slowly and enjoyed the process in addition to the end product. A time when people knew where their food came from and felt their souls' connection to God's creations. A time when people were still and did not seek out endless distractions.
If my yearnings had free reign right now, I would pack up and move to a farm, grow my own food, write snail mail, rock on my front porch, sit and talk with a few dear neighbors and friends, and sew my own clothing. Some may say this is turning my back on the inventions and creations that are meant to improve life and make it easier. But I say that in many senses, these very things have caused me to move beyond what is spiritually good for my soul. Cell phones, facebook, email, and blogs are supposed to help us stay connected with one another. But I feel disconnected. My spirit is splintered into competing factions, creating spiritual disharmony. I feel chaotic because of the many things I have to do to keep up. I feel like life continues to get busier and busier in an interminable spiral. I have no time for stillness. I intensely desire to step back and denounce it all. But I don't think that's the answer. I need to focus on simplifying life, cutting a deal with opposing factions. I believe it's important to discover how to live in an increasingly (and unnecessarily) busy life. That is my challenge and, I think, our generation's challenge.

14 comments:

Adriana said...

I think the real trick to to find that peace amongst the bustle.. good luck my friend

Jenny said...

Heather, that is so well said and I completely agree with you. Simplicity and self-sufficiency bring a greater satisfaction and raise our quality of life much more than many of the technical innovations we have become so dependent on. When you said reminds me also of President Uchtdorf's talk on Saturday about our desire to create as well. I miss you and I'm sorry everything fell through last weekend. We need to catch up soon, maybe another slumber party.

Schlofmans said...

You know, I have thought about that lately too. It seems that we are so caught up and trying to keep up with the world and technology and our friendships have become so virtual that a lot of the beauty has been taken out. So...I'm with you on that. The question is...what do we do now. Turning back on the progress is not the answer, but what is? Call me sometime and let's discuss it.

micah e. said...

I'll be your friendly neighbor. I already know the exact rocking chair I'll get (I've been in the market for a r-chair for a while): http://www.potterybarn.com/products/p10580/index.cfm?pkey=xsrd0m1%7C20%7C%7C%7C0%7C%7C%7C%7C%7C%7C%7Crocking&cm%5Fsrc=SCH

April said...

Amen! I completely agree with you on this. I have too felt that need to find the simplicity amidst an ever increasing crazy busy world.

Mieken said...

I am so glad that you wrote so poetically my feelings down on paper...web paper. I have had those sneaky feelings lately. I will move with you. Ummm...Simplicity.

Mieken

mel said...

i get to man the chickens... and I've wanted a pet pig for a long time. I go weeks sometimes without getting on the various facebook/gchat/ I even leave my cell phone at home... I just want to BREATHE from the world. Does it sound weird that when I do I feel that same kind of renewal as if i'd gone to the temple?! This will also go back to my deep rooted desire to get out, move somewhere isolated and LIVE. adonde vamos?!

Kelly said...

although it's "one more thing to do" I'm glad the blogging world has let me sneak some catch up peeks into your life...I'm happy to have you as a link :)

Wes said...

For me it's about balance and control. I'm a fan of technology and modern life, but at the same time I NEED nature and manual labor. Self control and sometimes going against what's popular is important as well. I think smart phones are cool, but I think they provide distractions that I don't want in my life so I chose a super simple cheap phone. More isn't always better. A friend sent me this link today, I think it's fitting for this post.

http://www.storyofstuff.com/

Jecca Lee Ivie Johnson said...

Well, to tell the truth, I have never wanted to live in a busy city, ride public transit, and communicate on my blackberry. I LOVE living in the country. I Love to sew and dig in my garden and create projects around the house and just spend my days with my two little best friends. I sometimes feel guilty for doing so little each day while everyone else is working at their fancy offices or at the gym or going out to lunch with friends or colleagues. I feel like maybe I have gotten too simple? So if you want, you can come spend a day with me and dig in my garden and if you really want to, you can finish sewing my kids' halloween costumes.

The Other Martha said...

Driggs is officially calling you name now. Has this snuck up on you since Marc and Jane's recent visit with lush descriptions to follow? Real estate is tanking here, now would be the perfect time to buy property...I miss you it was great to talk the other day.

Loves!

Erin said...

so, i'm guessing you loved elder perry's talk? i was thinking about you during it!

Anderson's said...

Heather I couldn't agree with you more.I have been feeling the same way. I want my kids to live on a farm and learn to work and appreciate everything around-be kids! I feel everything we have makes kids grow up too fast. I loved reading your blog. We miss you!

Adrienne said...

ha ha, I was accidently signed in on my mom's account! It was ME who left the comment about Driggs calling your name. Just so you didn't think the other martha was stalking you!