Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Friends Along the Way

I've learned that making a living is not the same thing as making a life.
--Maya Angelou 

A comment from one of my readers a few posts back inspired this post. Em said she was amazed that we were on the same journey a world away from each other. I found that to be quite inspiring. This getting "back to nature" is tough, especially when our consumer culture is fighting me every step of the way. I've been called a hippie more times than I can count. People roll their eyes at me when I express interest in having milk goats in my backyard. One concerned mother actually asked me how I could dress my kids in thrift shop and hand me down clothes because they were "dirty" and "not new." It's defeating at times. You just want to give in, run to the nearest mall and buy everything you need to be accepted into the mainstream.

But even  when I had all the stuff, I wasn't as happy as I was "supposed" be. I had the house, the car, the clothes...and they were nice perks, yes, but the happiness derived from them was fleeting and the debt, smothering. There was something lacking. So I took a step toward something different. Something simpler, something better.

Voluntary simplicity is a growing movement. I have found fellow explorers not just in my own country but from all over the world. Em lives in Tasmania, Rhonda also somewhere in Australia, Dani in South Africa, Sarah in Vermont....we are all on the same journey, we're just on different paths. We all have different ways of getting there, but we are headed in the same direction. We're moving toward a non-consumer way of doing things and a more traditional way of life. The art of homemaking is making a big comeback. We are learning to cook, to sew, to mend, to reuse and make do. We trying to heal the planet. We are caring for our families with our hands and our hearts, not our credit cards.

So despite the eye rolling and the name calling they may have been subject to, these other families are going green and getting simple and frankly, they are happier than most mainstream families I know. They get dirty, they get going and they get stuff done. Together. They are making a sustainable and simple lifestyle seem attainable. I am privileged to share the journey with these wonderful women. I learn so much from their experiences and I hope they are learning from mine too. Across the oceans, we all have the same goal in mind. A better world, a happier heart and true sense of light and peace. It is so wonderful to know I'm keeping good company. 

If you are interested in reading about the ladies mentioned above, click on their names and you will be redirected to their blogs.


  1. Good job, Stephanie and all the other women out there who are doing their best to be more gentle with the earth. I'm proud to count myself in y'all's ranks, and I have it good, since I live in a town where hippies are well loved. :) Keep up the good work, and remember that you have a friend in North Carolina, too!

  2. I'm so proud of you! I can't believe that people object to thrift store clothes, though. They can break out the washboard and scrub them before they wear them;)They are probably cleaner than some of the clothes in stores where many people try them on before they are purchased!Also, we call you our hippie daughter lovingly! The goats though... not a city adventure. They really do smell bad and eat everything!