Plain Living ~ Part 2

I have continued reading this book; the second chapter covers aspects of our personal lives including work:

How can we incorporate plain living and simplicity in our work?

  • By aligning our personal lives – what we believe – with our work, we might hope to bring balance and integrity to our lives as a whole. 

This is easier said than done, for sure.

I think a whole lot of people feel trapped in jobs they dislike, and would prefer to be doing something else more meaningful. From my experience, that covers a hefty percentage of the population. I know I wish I could find work that I felt was meaningful, purposeful, and ‘right’. Sometimes I feel pretty much unemployable. There is so much I don’t want to do and I’m sure I would be criticised for that. I have spent too many years of my life in awful soul destroying jobs, I really don’t want to go through that anymore. But sticking to your principles when your freezer is leaking water, your carpets are threadbare, and you’re wondering if you are going to have enough money left next week to buy food, isn’t easy.

I wonder if it’s selfish of me to prefer to have little money rather than take on a job that I know I’ll hate. Is it fair to those around me? Probably not, but I can’t live any other way, not while I have a small choice anyway.

I have been trying to earn a living while holding to my values for several years now. How do you continue to have faith, when for years little has changed, despite you trying so very hard in every way you possibly can? I’m fairly close to giving up. I don’t know how long I can keep going.

Whatever we do we can bring more awareness to our actions; this is what I focus on. I make every attempt I can to bring meaning to even such simple things as washing dishes, preparing meals and writing. I think awareness is doubly difficult for those on the lower end of the social scale, and yet we are the ones who most sorely need it. Decisions like: ‘should I cancel my internet connection (with its opportunities to earn money from home) or sell my computer so that I can pay another overdue bill’ crowd my thinking and it’s virtually impossible to keep positive, calm and present.

This book by Catherine Whitmire is almost entirely composed of quotations from other prominent quakers past and present. While the words are inspiring me to reflect on their meaning, I would have much preferred to know how the author herself deals with the difficulties that come with endeavouring to live a simple life. Did/does she encounter difficulties? How does she overcome them? It is one thing to collect wise aphorisms and to endorse a way of living to others, but to live it every day, through risk and adversity, is something else entirely. I would very much like to know how other people really live it.

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