|Asha Amemiya (chapter 5) with her daughters at rice harvest.|
There are many ways to radically simplify your life. It really DOES result in deeper fulfillment. Rita from Arkansas wrote to me:
Andy - I heard about your book from a commenter on Nature Bats Last. Yesterday I posted a comment there recommending the book again.
I live in Arkansas - in a little cottage in the historic part of Fayetteville, with a permaculture garden where the lawn once was. I liked the idea of using wood ashes in place of dish soap. I hand wash everything and have no appliances or air conditioning/furnace. I heat and cook with wood or a camp stove. My electric bill is under $20 year-round. But your book provided the last little kick in the butt I needed to sell my house and move into the hills. I am not yet certain which hills those will be. I am 64 with four grown daughters. I live like a Zen monk in many ways, though I spend more time reading and writing than meditating.
Fukushima is even more grievous to me now. I can only imagine the anger and despair for all who are tied to that land.
My friend Steev wrote me after reading this blog post in which I wrote that he "spent 3 years living in the forest behind a university campus, and snuck into the woods late at night, living under a tarp in the rain or the cold, and now he can live within any means at all."
|Steev Odell, of Rabbit's Moon Tea Arts|
Thank you Andy. That was very beautiful article.
A few corrections, just so as not to romanticize my suffering too much. I didn't live under a tarp for three years. I lived in a very well built yurt structure made from wire, twine and large 12-feet-tall redwood branches that I reverse engineered from a friend's shelter I took down and rebuilt it exactly as was 100 yards away. It was cross-hatched and very complicated and when I took it down after three years I thought to myself, "How did I ever do this?"
It was very well maintained and had enough space for me to have a futon bed on top of crates on top of plywood on top of four sheets of foam so the futon was extra comfy. Like, deeply comfortable. I would get excited going home because I knew I had a extremely comfy bed in the forest. I also had five blankets. It was warm even in the winter.
The roof was actually thick clear plastic sheets, it was malleable like a tarp would be but far more durable and long lasting. I had to tend to it in the rain, like one would a ship in a storm at sea, to make sure none of the riggings loosed themselves, but it was an integrity that I am still astounded by to this day.
Not much suffering at all. And especially, just for clarity on the subject of living situation. Not just a trap in the rain. Lots of people did that. I had a curiosity cabinet, a tea area, two book shelves, all within this little yurt.
Wish you could have seen it.
|Simplifying your life does NOT mean deprivation. The rich life of the Oizumi family. I wrote about them in Chapter one.|