Well, many of you know that I recently announced that in February 2008 I will retire my play, Doin’ Time in the Homo No Mo Halfway House–How I Survived the Ex-Gay Movement! I am still working out the gala finish to the play (and yes I am working on a DVD version of it although I want everyone to see it live).
I have experienced other changes too. My time at New England Yearly Meeting (an annual gathering of Quakers from New England) moved me deeply, particularly in my commitment to living a simply. I may even cancel one of my three cell phones!
The Testimony of Simplicity (via wikipedia)
The Testimony of Simplicity is the Quaker belief that a person ought to live his or her life simply in order to focus on what is most important and ignore or play down what is least important. It is the practice among Quakers (members of the Religious Society of Friends) of being more concerned with one’s inner condition than one’s outward appearance and with other people more than oneself. Friends believe that a person’s spiritual life and character are more important than the quantity of goods he possesses or his monetary worth. Friends also believe that one should use one’s resources, including money and time, deliberately in ways that are most likely to make life truly better for oneself and others.
Some ways I have incorporated the Testimony of Simplicity in my life include how I spend my money and time. Over the last few years I have tried to buy at least half of my clothing from charity shops like the Salvation Army. This not only saves money, but it also moves me away from the direct support of unfair labor practices for people in the clothing industry.
Part of the reason for being a vegan has to do with simplicity. A simple vegetable-based diet is cheaper and has less of an impact on the planet (and wonderfully healthy for most people). Lately I have been shopping for locally grown produce when possible. Some of you know that I have toyed with a raw vegan diet–delightfully simple, but not always practical when one travels a lot.
With travel I have made various changes and considerations, the biggest being when I got rid of my car in the summer of 2005. This has saved me money, helps the planet, connects me with my community and simplifies my life. When I have had a car, it was so easy to spend lots of time driving around doing unnecessary chores and shopping.
When I can, I walk. If I can’t walk, I take the bus. If I can’t take the bus, I try to share a ride with a friend or borrow a car. If I can’t borrow a car, I rent a car. If the distance is too far, I take the train. If the distance is too far for the train, I fly.
I adore the Internet, but I am also addicted to it. I do not have an Internet connection at home other than through my Treo 700P phone (which I will most likely dump soon). When I had the Internet at home, I spent far too much time on-line and got very little done for the time spent typing away. Keeping my house quiet and restful (some say boring), helps me live a simpler life. I haven’t had a TV for years. Don’t get me wrong I LOVE TV and watch it whenever I travel, but I want to keep my home TV-free.
Also, two years ago I downsized from a one-bedroom to a studio apartment. Not only is it cheaper but cozier. My rent is dirt cheap and includes utility, so it is something I don’t have to worry about. Having a small space is easier to clean and forces me to think about what I really need and don’t need. It feels yummy to give things away.
Diet, clothing, travel, home. I never thought I could simplify these things, but as I do, I find that I have more freedom, not less. Having less monthly expenses free me up to do more with less. Eating a simple diet keeps me healthy. Having a quiet simple home centers me and takes off lots of stress.
Recently I instituted a HUGE change. I do not know what initiated it, but suddenly out of blue I created a massive shift in my lifestyle. Of course it is one of those changes most people can’t see outwardly (the best changes are often that way). But this change affects my every move I make and one that I can sense every waking hour.
Yes, after four decades I have transitioned my undergarments from briefs to boxers (without the interim step of those clinging boxer-briefs that ride up your legs).
Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?