I’ve been writing this blog since 2010 and over these 7 years have explored many angles of voluntary simplicity (material, emotional, spiritual, and technological). The question I keep coming back to is: How much is enough?How much is too much?

  1. On the material level I realize that there is a point where more possessions don’t bring more happiness but rather clutter my living space and crowd my time.
  2. On an emotional level I’ve come to understand that there are attitudes like wanting to be in control or to be right and emotions like anger or worry that bring stress to my life.
  3. On the spiritual level it’s grounded in
    -Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that I need. (Proverbs 30:7-9)
    -The one who had much did not have too much, and the one who had little did not have too little. (2 Cor 8:15)
  4. On the technological level I continue to struggle with which gadgets (internet, phone, TV…) bring me needed information and comfort and which distract me from the person in front of me.

I’ll never come to the perfect answer to my question of “enough” nor do I pretend to give you the answer. Perhaps the “answer” is to continue to face the struggle and question my purchases, thoughts, and actions.

In the spirit of just having finished Thanksgiving and preparing for Christmas 2017, I offer you some videos to enjoy in the hope that they will continue to challenge your life decisions.

  1. Vicki Robins about Your Money Or Your Life. This 27 minute Upon Reflection interview is old, but it’s a classic and still rings true (except for the 1998 family income statistics).
  2. Graham Hill’s 5 minute Ted Talk, Less Stuff, More Happiness,
  3. Jerry Iversen’s even shorter (2 minute) introduction to Simple Living Works. (You can go on to the follow-up talks if you want.)

Watch one or all before you dig too deeply into your holiday shopping.

Personal note: Over the years my own family has experimented with various Christmas gift giving policies. Some years we give a gift to everyone, some years we’ve picked names, one year we agreed not to buy anything in a store (i.e. home made gifts, experiences, etc.) This felt virtuous but took a lot of time. This year we decided to not exchange gifts (except for the children).  Our thinking is that we will feel less burdened and hectic before Christmas and enjoy each other’s company, games, and food when we all get together. We’ll see how it goes.