Simplicity… The key to happiness.

I started living simply out of financial necessity.   I had to make a choice of selling my land here in Bandera County (in which I had very little equity) or selling my home in San Antonio.  I loved the ranch, but only lived in the San Antonio House. I sold my 4 bedroom house in the city.  I sold or gave away most of my material possessions and put what little remained into storage.  I moved out to the ranch and into a 4” by 6” tent.

 

I had been raised on a farm in the Texas panhandle and I had quite a bit of experience ‘roughing it’ in some pretty remote places in Mexico and Central America.  I had been around the world and seen some fairly rough country, but I always had had a real home to return to after one adventure or another.  I don’t mind admitting that not having a real home for the first time in my life was frightening.

 

Though I didn’t have a house, any furnishings or any of the most basic conveniences, this sacrifice meant that I would be afford to keep the ranch and to service a huge unplanned debt  that had been the catalyst of my current situation.

 

The strange thing was that within a week or two of settling into this bizarre new lifestyle I found that I was at peace with myself and my situation.  I found that I was happier than I could ever remember being before.

 

Beyond my >60 acres of wild Texas Hill Country land, my possessions consisted of a tent, a sleeping bag, lantern and a 3 legged dog.  By anyone’s standards I was destitute. But I felt richer than I had ever felt before.It’s difficult to convey the profound peace I felt and even more difficult to convince anyone that it was due to purging myself of all the things I had so feverishly worked my whole adult life to accumulate. But it is true.

 

Living simply gives one increased opportunity to experience quite moments of awe.  Let me try to explain:

I remember being in Tamualipas Mexico many years ago, sitting at a river bank and being suddenly  surprised by a huge  flock of tiny green canaries. They rounded a cliff face carved by the  river and flew in a frenzy up river with so much squawking that their noise drowned out the rushing sound of the river. I felt no less than blessed by the experience.  It was as if it been timed and choreographed with my trip and presented to me and me alone as if an elaborate gift.  Living very close to nature, staying out of doors and avoiding the  valueless distractions of such things as television and popular culture has given me many such moments as the gift of the canaries.

 

Some of the most fulfilling, memorable moments of my life here on the ranch have been like that time in Tamualipas.  They have been little blessing from God which were offered to me only because I was listening.  I would not have been listening had I been concerning myself with who was winning on ‘American Idol’ or ‘Survivor’.

 

My life is rich not because I live simply.  My life is rich because living simply doesn't distract me from the richness of life.