Friday, November 14, 2008


This week has been rather hectic. Who knew starting a whole new life would be so complicated? Ideas and desires need to be transformed into concrete plans; concrete plans need to be broken down into manageable tasks; and even those tasks need to be incorporated into an ever-expanding set of to-do lists. But hey, for the first time in my life this whole process is leading me somewhere meaningful. That’s what makes this transition so rewarding; all the planning and task-making is, in fact, reinforcing the process of simplification. In all the ways that matter, you cannot have simplicity without going through the process. And it is the process itself (with all its complexities, material purges, and inevitable emotional highs and lows) which lends simplicity meaning and definition.

Speaking of simplification, I’ve been putting together the finishing touches on something I’ve been thinking about doing for some time now. It’s definitely not for everyone but it sure makes sense to me. Stay tuned.


Jerry Critter said...

Who knew that simplicity could be so complex and complicated.

Anonymous said...

I think there is a certain amount of complexity in everything - it just depends on how you look at it.

For example - our bike trip. In a lot of ways, this trip is waaayyyyy more complicated than life at home ever was! But in other ways, our needs have been reduced to shelter, food, and water. That's it. It's pretty darn simple when you think about it. And yet - trying to find those three basic things can be a huge challenge at time!k

Keep plugging away - it'll happen.


Watcher said...

So here's my favorite planning quote ever, which I read 20+ years ago on a bathroom stall wall in the philosophy dept of the university I attended:

"Careful planning and preparation is the key to a safe and swift journey" - Ulysses

On a more serious note, it always amazes me that things that seem and act so simple on the outside, like a single living cell, or a leaf or a Toyota truck, are so complicated inside. It's as though the key to simplicity is "perfect alignment of function" (to rip off a yoga term...)


rachaelgking said...

Simplicity is wonderful, but definitely complex to achieve. I hear you.

Anonymous said...

Yea, preparing to "live simiply" should seemingly reduce your tasks, but mine have increased as well. I'm suprised by how much money it will cost me too, just to get my sailboat ready to be self-sufficient (ie. solar panels, etc..).
I'm curious to know what you are planning.

-jd said...

I too definitely understand the making life simple=increased complexity/sometimes increased time commitment.

For example, we want to have a more simple household and save money on our heating bill this winter by burning more wood in our fireplace. Let me tell you...that wood doesn't chop itself! just ask my battered hands.

But, it's worth see my family sit in the glowing warmth of the living room, smiles on our faces...knowing that my sweat, and blood (not literally) is now keeping us all cozy. :)

Can't wait to hear the big plan.


Carolyn said...

I am a planner too. Ain't nothing wrong with that. Can't wait to see your big suprise!

P. S. I'm having a Giveaway!!

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Write a blog post about my giveaway and I will give you a second entry. Just be sure to add a comment with the link to your post.

Those without a blog can enter too. Just be sure to leave a way for me to contact you in your comment.

You can enter to win from November 12 thru November 26

I will announce the Winner on Saturday November 29

Kerry said...

Simplifying is complicated... the irony is amazing.

I'm excited to hear about your new plan.

Jack said...


The irony is definitely not lost on me.


Maybe complexity and simplicy are two sides of the same coin, ala drama and comedy.


Take your point. The irony may be by design.

Jack said...


Absolutely. Just think about your last vacation and how much crap you had to figure out (hotels, transportation, etc...) for the chance to relax and drink coctails all day.


There are some upfront costs, in terms of time and money, for sure. But it does depend on the focus of your simplicity. Your plans probably require more money to begin with. And yes, stay tuned!


Yeah, that's a perfect example. I know when I read that way back when it got me thinking about the logistics. On the other hand, it is soo much cheaper it totally makes sense. ON THE OTHER HAND, you get to chop a ton.

Jack said...


I'm with you, obviously. Oh, and I will check out the giveaway a little later this weekend.


Thanks for the comment. Yeah, me too.

Nicole said...

Jack, I undestand that the best laid plans lead to the best things in life. Just allow a little fluidity to the plan otherwise you might miss out on the occassional worthwhile suprise.

BTW, you're such a tease with your little references to the next thing without sharing any details.

Anonymous said...

As long as you remember to pack your toothbrush and the can opener... everything will be just fine. Life without either one of those is not so fine. (grin)

so don't give away your can opener! How you going to eat beans without it?

Elizabeth Halt said...

sounds like fun.

I like the act of planning, though I tend to ignore my plans once they're written down. I really just like to make lists. :)

bill h said...

Hey, it's odd, I thought about you yesterday while I was hiking. It was a beautiful day. I spent 30 minutes up on a bluff reading St. John of the Cross, a Spanish Mystic. Walking out, I found myself humming the old Shaker song,
'Tis the gift to be simple,
'tis the gift to be free,
'tis the gift to come down where you ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
It will be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we shan't be ashamed.
To turn, turn will be our delight,
'Til by turning, turning we come round right

Anyway, It caused me to reflect on simplicity and to ask the question why am I drawn to that. I know you've thought about that. It seems to me it can be simplicity is the absence of things that entangle you and seeking to shed those, or it can be a goal with it's own values.

Perhaps you've written about that somewhere, but I'm curious what draws you to simplicity?

Enjoying watching the journey,


Nicola said...

good for you!


Sharon J said...

Stop dangling carrots, Jack, and just tell us! ;)

Anonymous said...

Sharon J said...
Stop dangling carrots, Jack, and just tell us! ;)

And I just came in from checking on my rabbits outside so:
'enquiring rabbits want to know'
(heh heh har har har)
sorry. farm humor. I couldn't resist.

what bill said.. the concept simplicity being more than shedding stuff. I look at simplicity as a way of thinking. I went looking for it years ago. I figure when I have found the level of simplicity that I seek, it will follow over into my life. Might take awhile...years.

Have a good day. I'm going back out to play outside.

Anonymous said...

Jack - now you have me very curious about these plans....

Speaking of simplicity - there is nothing more wonderful than seeing my 6 year old nephew (for the first time in two years)who has lived in FLA for his life come to the New York Area and go ape over fallen leaves on the ground.....



Anonymous said...

When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we shan't be ashamed.
To turn, turn will be our delight,
'Til by turning, turning we come round right

Jack said...

Miss Scorpio,

Good point! But I do think the planning leads to unexpected surprises, if you let them in. :)


Swiss army knife of course!


A fellow list-maker, huh? Already need to hang out with you.

Jack said...


Very beautiful. Honestly, I think what draws me is the fact that the whatever it is that is the antithesis of simplicity totally repels me. The fact that I know what I don't want means that my journey is pretty clear. I hope that makes sense. I will definitely be writing about this going forward.




Sorry for the late reply. But now you know what I had up my sleeve.

Jack said...


I hope the playing was wonderful. And yes, I guess I see it as a way of life as well. See my last comment; it's sort of how I feel about this issue.


Isn't that wonderful? Kids definitely provide the right perspective.