Beautiful and joyful
“Frugality is one of the most beautiful and joyful words in the English language, and yet one that we are culturally cut off from understanding and enjoying. The consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things.” — Elise Boulding
I have been thinking that one of the reasons we rush about with so many activities during holiday seasons, is the sheer bliss of the relative calm when that rush is over. Several people have spoken recently about the restful serenity of Christmas afternoon, and I have to admit that the older I grow, the more that respite becomes the sweetest part of the season for me.
In the same way, the over-abundance of blessings we feel at holiday seasons — food, gifts, joyous and lively time spent with loved ones — seem to lead naturally to a craving for quiet days and an almost sparse existence, at least temporarily. Our thoughts may turn with some enthusiasm to our plans for clearing out our possessions, eating more sensibly, getting more rest, and making time for contemplative walks, thoughtful reading or daily devotional breaks. We begin to sense the happiness of not having things, as Boulding described.
Perhaps this is part of the impulse that underlies the tradition of New Year’s resolutions, but such aspirations need not be formalized into well-defined goals. We can use the natural rhythms of the seasons as a context for easing into neglected tasks or important plans that have been pushed to the back burner in the busyness of past weeks. I hope you will find a way to bask in times of stillness during the final week of the year, and take at least a partial break from the typical day-to-day stress that crowds out nourishing rest, resolve and reflection. May 2014 bring all of us increased awareness of the joys of frugality.
One year ago today