Ten years of living in Honolulu, Hawaii had the most positive and profound impact on my life. I learned what living simply meant. I am grateful for those beautiful years, and I hope that my story will have a life-affirming influence on your life.
The effect of the Islands
Living in the islands connected me to my love of nature, my deep spirituality and it reminded me to simply live. It was not until I was 37 that I realized my love of nature, my deep spirituality and my desire for simplicity had been implanted in my DNA by the island. I am grateful.
On the island, I was surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and the view of Diamond Head Mountain was outside my window. The sun seemed to rise out of the sea and the moon reflected onto the ocean each night. Orchids gave me a daily dose of joy and trade winds quietly blew through the palms, bringing me happiness and personal growth. For ten years I could simply be.
Of course, I had misgivings, problems and too much nonsense going on in my life, but the easy, laid-back, simple island lifestyle kept me focused on what was important – allowing me to fall back into a healthy reality. I am grateful.
Living simply in the big city
I left my island life after the death of my husband and moved to my beautiful Chicago and my apartment in the sky overlooking Lake Michigan. The lake reminds me of the Pacific Ocean because of its grandiose size. I have orchids and live trees in our home to bring nature into my life. I thrive as I watch the morning sun rising over the lake and the moon shining on the water. I am grateful that my apartment is surrounded by water and blue skies during the day and the moon and brightly shining stars at night. Our home is my island, and I am grateful that my husband loves, guards and protects me, just as he respects my need for spirituality and peace.
However, no man is an island, and no man stands alone. Life gets in my way, and I have certain obligations that I cannot avoid. I have family and community demands, social pressures and the ever-widening demands of contacts, interests, and duties. My mind reels from it all. The island was able to settle me, take me back to the reality of what was really important and help me reflect on that which I did not need. The island’s personality simplified my lifestyle, and I was grateful.
What does living simply mean to you?
I am sure my feelings make you question yourselves. What is the answer to a meaningful lifestyle? An appreciation for simplification. But how? Balance.
So let us pare down our material possessions. Be who you are. Don’t wear a mask. Do away with unnecessary complications. Delete. Simplifying your outer lifestyle will never be enough.
Understand the real answer to how you want to live your life is in your DNA. Search until you find it. And when you do, be grateful.