Welcome to Why We Gift Wednesday! Each week, we celebrate one of the thousands of reasons that we truly love giving. Whether it’s honoring the relationships that we have, feeling grateful for an occasion or a special time of year, or relishing life’s simple joys, Why We Gift Wednesday is all about giving and generosity – the expression of appreciation for life’s many happy moments. Today (July 12th) is National Simplicity Day! That means this Why We Gift Wednesday goes out to the age-old adage, “keep it simple!”
Author, naturalist and philosopher Henry David Thoreau was born on July 12, 1817. (Happy 200th birthday, Henry!) As an advocate for living a life of simplicity, Thoreau is best known for his book Walden; Or, Life in the Woods, a reflection on his time spent on Walden Pond in Massachusetts, where he built his own log cabin and lived simply, in the natural surroundings, for two years, two months and two days.
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”
“We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us even in our soundest sleep. I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavor. It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do. To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.”
“In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness.”
~ Henry David Thoreau
In our get-it-done, on-the-go, never-ending marathon lifestyles, National Simplicity Day is the day slow down and explore the idea of simplifying our lives. Now, this certainly does not mean you have to go out to the garage and get the whole thing cleaned out and organized today. You can start by simply slowing down and taking your time – drive a little slower today, or try not to make the trip to the grocery store a race. Go to your local park and tune into nature; walk around the neighborhood, even if it’s just for twenty minutes. Or just enjoy some simple things in life – watch your kids play, or spend a little quality time with someone you love. Simplicity is about striving for balance and learning not to depend on the clutter of your life. You’ll see the benefits of a simpler lifestyle (less stress, a better outlook and more) begin to take effect right away.
How have you simplified your life, or how would you like to?