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Monday, December 5, 2011


"The trouble with simple living is that, though it can be joyful, rich, and creative, it isn't simple."
- Doris Janzen Longacre
"The little things? The little moments? They aren't little."
- John Zabat-Zinn
"People say "I want peace." If you remove I (ego), and your want (desire), you are left with peace."
- Satya Sai Baba
"I'm living so far beyond my income that we may almost be said to be living apart."
- E. E. Cummings
"Friends, books, a garden, and perhaps his pen,
Delightful industry enjoy'd at home,
An Nature, in her cultivated trim
Dress'ed to his taste, inviting him abroad -
Can he want occupation who has these?"
- William Cowper, The Task, 1780
"With a few flowers in my garden, half a dozen pictures and some books, I live without envy."
- Lope de Vega
"Abandon the urge to simplify everything, to look for formulas and easy answers, and to begin to think multi-dimensionally, to glory in the mystery and paradoxes of life, not to be dismayed by the multitude of causes and consequences that are inherent in each experience -- to appreciate the fact that life is complex."
- M. Scott Peck
"Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity."
- Charles Mingus
"Manifest plainness,
Embrace simplicity,

Reduce selfishness,
Have few desires."
- Lao-Tzu,
Tao Te Ching
Small is Beautiful by E.F. Schumacher
Voluntary Simplicity by Duane Elgin
Chop Wood Carry Water edited by Rick Fields
Time and the Art of Living by Robert Grudin
"Most of the critical things in life, which become the starting points for human destiny, are little things."
- R. Smith
"When speech comes from a quiet heart, it has the strength of the orchid, and the fragrance of rock."
- Stephen Mitchell, Four Watercolors by Tao-chi
"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow."
- Melody Beattie
"Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things."
- Robert Brault
"A taste for simplicity cannot last for long."
- Eugene Delacroix
"We learn from our gardens to deal with the most urgent question of the time: How much is enough?"
- Wendell Berry
"You have succeeded in life when all you really want is only what you really need."
- Vernon Howard
"The art of contentment is the recognition that the most satisfying and the most dependably refreshing experiences of life lie not in great things but in little. The rarity of happiness among those who achieved much is evidence that achievement is not in itself the assurance of a happy life. The great, like the humble, may have to find their satisfaction in the same plain things."
- Edgar A. Collard, 1974
"For fast acting relief; try slowing down."
- Lily Tomlin
"Our affluent society contains those of talent and insight who are driven to prefer poverty, to choose it, rather than submit to the desolation of an empty abundance."
- Michael Harrington
"Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like."
- Will Rogers
The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff
"When I dance, I dance, when I sleep, I sleep; yes, and when I walk alone in a beautiful orchard, if my thoughts drift to far-off matters for some part of the time, for some other part I lead them back again to the walk, the orchard, to the sweetness of this solitude, to myself."
- Montaigne
"Material blessings, when they pay beyond the category of need, are weirdly fruitful of headache."
- Philip Wylie
"A garden has a curious innocent way of consuming cash while all the time you are under the illusion that
you are spending nothing."
- Esther Meynell
"Desired substance, things, patterns, or sequences of experience that are in some sense "good" for the organism - items of diet, conditions of life, temperature, entertainment, sex, and so forth - are never such that more of the something is always better than less of the something. Rather, for all objects and experiences, there is a quantity that has optimum value. Above that quantity, the variable becomes toxic. To fall below that value is to be deprived."
- Gregory Bateson,
Mind and Nature
"The aspects of things that are most important to us are hidden because of their simplicity and familiarity."
- Ludwig Wittgenstein
"I never had any other desire so strong, and so like covetousness, as that.... I might be master at last of a small house and a large garden, with very moderate conveniences joined to them, and there dedicate the remainder of my life to the culture of them and the study of nature."
- Abraham Cowley
"Precisely the least, the softest, lightest, a lizard's rustling, a breath, a flash, a moment - a little makes the way
of the best happiness."
- Frederich Nietzsche,
Thus Spake Zarathustra
"We struggle with the complexities and avoid the simplicities."
- Norman Vincent Peale
"Live simply, so others may simply live."- Gandhi
"Frugality is one of the most beautiful and joyful words in the English language, and yet one that we are culturally cut off from understanding and enjoying. The consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things."
- Elise Boulding
"The point in life is to know what's enough; why envy those otherwold immortals?
With the happiness held in one inch-square heart you can fill the whole space between heaven and earth."
- Gensei (1623-1668)
"Making simple matters complex or complex matters simple are both bad gardening techniques.
Simplifying our relations to things sometimes allows us to live more complex intellectual and emotional lives. Repetition and diversification are Nature's formulas.

Simplifying and simplicity are never simple matters.

The empty garden is already full.
The happiest gardeners have simply learned how to relax.
The simplest garden is never simple.

It takes four seasons to know one year.

Complexity is closer to the Truth.

Diversity, multiplicity, relations, combinations, mixtures, complexity ... rarely just one process or one thing. Location, location, location ... is also true for plants.

Never just One: fruit, a hoe, the moving Sun."
- Michael P. Garofalo,
Pulling Onions
"The simplest things give me ideas."
- Joan Miro
"Reduce the complexity of life by eliminating the needless wants of life, and the labors of life reduce themselves."
- Edwin Way Teale
"Simplicity does not precede complexity, but follows it."
- Alan Perlis
"The art of simplicity is a puzzle of complexity."
- Douglas Horton
To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter. . .to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird's nest or a wildflower in spring - these are some of the rewards of the simple life."
- John Burroughs
"The point of philosophy is to start with something so simple as not to seem worth stating, and to end with something so paradoxical that no one will believe it."
- Bertrand Russell
"If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need."
- Cicero
"Live simply that others might simply live."
- Elizabeth Seaton
"Nature uses as little as possible of anything."
- Johannes Keppler
"Reduce the complexity of life by eliminating the needless wants of life, and the labors of life reduce themselves."
- Edwin Teale
"Simplicity is the essence of happiness."
- Cedric Bledsoe
"While washing the dishes one should only be washing the dishes, which means that while washing the dishes one should be completely aware of the fact that one is washing the dishes. At first glance, that might seem a little silly: why put so much stress on a simple thing? But that's precisely the point. The fact that I am standing there and washing the dishes is a wondrous reality. I'm being completely myself, following my breath, conscious of my presence, and conscious of my thoughts and actions. There's no way I can be tossed around mindlessly like a bottle slapped here and there on the waves."
- Thich Nat Hahn
"A little simplification would be the first step toward rational living, I think."
- Eleanor Roosevelt
"If you want to feel rich, just count all the things you have that money can't buy."
"Straightforwardness and simplicity are in keeping with goodness. The things that are essential are acquired with little bother; it is the luxuries that call for toil and effort. To want simply what is enough nowadays suggests to people primitiveness and squalor."
- Seneca,
Letters from a Stoic
"I have come to terms with the future. From this day onward I will walk easy on the earth. Plant trees. Kill no living things. Live in harmony with all creatures. I will restore the earth where I am. Use no more of its resources than I need. And listen, listen to what it is telling me."
- M.J. Slim Hooey
"Things should be as simple as possible, but not simpler."
- Albert Einstein
"The day, water, sun, moon, night ... I do not have to purchase these things with money."
- Plautus
"He who buys what he does not need steals from himself."
- Author Unknown
"I like to walk about among the beautiful things that adorn the world; but private wealth I should decline, or any sort of personal possessions, because they would take away my liberty."
- George Santayana
Secrets of Simplicity by Mary Carlomagno
"An elegant sufficiency, content,
Retirement, rural quiet, friendship, books,

Ease and alternate labour, useful life,

Progressive virtue, and approving Heaven!"
- James Thomson, 1700-1748,
"Dare to be naive."
- Buckminster Fuller
"To know you have enough is to be rich."
- Lao-Tzu,
Tao Te Ching
"Good heavens, of what uncostly material is our earthly happiness composed... if we only knew it. What incomes have we not had from a flower, and how unfailing are the dividends of the seasons."
- James Russell Lowell
"Seek simplicity and distrust it."
- Alfred North Whitehead
"Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials."
- Lin Yutang
"A man must be able to cut a knot, for everything cannot be untied; he must know how to disengage what is essential from the detail in which it is enwrapped, for everything cannot be equally considered; in a word, he must be able to simplify his duties, his business and his life."
- Henri Frederic Amiel
"So, friends, every day do something that won't compute. Love the Lord. Love the world. Work for nothing. Take all that you have and be poor. Love someone who does not deserve it. Denounce the government and embrace the flag. Hope to live in that free republic for which it stands."
- Wendell Berry
"Practically speaking, a life that is vowed to simplicity, appropriate boldness, good humor, gratitude, unstinting work and play, and lots of walking brings us close to the actual existing world and its wholeness."
- Gary Snyder
"Voluntary simplicity means going fewer places in one day rather than more, seeing less so I can see more, doing less so I can do more, acquiring less so I can have more."
- John Kabat-Zinn
"A person who undertakes to grow a garden at home, by practices that will preserve rather than exploit the economy of the soil, has his mind precisely against what is wrong with us.... What I am saying is that if we apply our minds directly and competently to the needs of the earth, then we will have begun to make fundamental and necessary changes in our minds. We will begin to understand and to mistrust and to change our wasteful economy, which markets not just the produce of the earth, but also the earth's ability to produce."
- Wendell Berry
"If you mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things,
This is the best season of your life."
- Wu-Men
"A garden isn't meant to be useful. It's for joy."
- Rumer Godden
"Happiness depends, as Nature shows,
Less on exterior things than most suppose."
- William Cowper
"The day, water, sun, moon, night ...
I do not have to purchase these things with money."
- Plautus
"Like a great poet, Nature knows how to produce the greatest effects with the most limited means."
- Heinrich Heine
"Life is really simple, but men insist on making it complicated."
- Confucius
"That man is richest whose pleasures are the cheapest."
- Henry David Thoreau, 1856
"You can't force simplicity; but you can invite it in by finding as much richness as possible in the few things at hand. Simplicity doesn't mean meagerness but rather a certain kind of richness, the fullness that appears when we stop stuffing the world with things."
- Thomas Moore, The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life
"The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak."
- Hans Hofmann
"Man is an over-complicated organism. If he is doomed to extinction he will die out for want of simplicity."
- Ezra Pound
"If the art of gardening is at last to turn back from her extravagances and rest with her other sisters, it is, above everything, necessary to have clearly before you what you require . . . It is certainly tasteless and inconsistent to
desire to encompass the world with a garden-wall, but very practicable and reasonable to make a garden . . . into a characteristic whole to the eye, heart, and understanding alike."
- Schiller
"Poor and content is rich and rich enough."
- William Shakespeare
"Nothing is as simple as we hope it will be."
- Jim Horning
"We should all do what, in the long run, gives us joy, even if it is only picking grapes or sorting the laundry."
- E.B. White
"In the hope of reaching the moon men fail to see the flowers that blossom at their feet."
- Albert Schweitzer
"Simplicity, clarity, singleness: these are the attributes that give our lives power and vividness and joy."
- Richard Halloway
"Our guiding idea has been, other things being equal, complexity in a model indicates vacuousness rather than sophistication."
- J. M. Maciejowski
"Simple pleasures are the last refuge of the complex."
- Oscar Wilde
"My riches consist not in the extent of my possessions but in the fewness of my wants."
- J. Botherton
"The day is of infinite length for him who knows how to appreciate and use it."
- Goethe
"In a single sentence the moral is: admit that complexity always increases, first from the model you fit to the data,
thence to the model you use to think about and plan about the experiment and its analysis, and thence to the true situation."
- Tukey
"Plurality should not be assumed without necessity."
- William of Ockham
"You can never get enough of what you don't need to make you happy."
- Eric Hoffer
"What is commonest and cheapest and nearest and easiest is Me,
Me going in for my chances, spending for vast returns,
Adorning myself to bestow myself on the first that will take me,
Not asking the sky to come down to my goodwill,
Scattering if freely forever."
- Walt Whitman
"It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all."
- Laura IngallsWilder
To live content with small means, to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion, to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not rich, to study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly, to listen to stars and birds, to babes and sages, with open heart, to bear all cheerfully, do all bravely, await occasions, hurry never, in a word to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common, this is to be my symphony."
- William Henry Channing
"Like William Morris, Joe Hollis asks us to perceive paradise gardening as a juncture where artfulness directly serves life. In fact, we might go so far as to define this paradise as the place where art is indistinguishable from life, and where simplicity is codified as the best path for achieving happiness."
- Jim Nollman
"How refreshing, the whinny of a packhorse unloaded of everything!"
- Zen saying
"I go about looking at horses and cattle. They eat grass, make love, work when they have to, bear their young. I am sick with envy of them."
- Sherwood Anderson
"I'd like to live as a poor man with lots of money."
- Pablo Picasso
"The world has to learn that the actual pleasure derived from material things is of rather low quality on the whole and less even in quantity than it looks to those who have not tried it."
- Oliver Wendell Holmes
"Less is more."
- Mies van der Rohe
"Less is a bore."
- Robert Venturi
"The noble simplicity in the works of nature only too often originates in the noble shortsightedness of him who observes it."
- G.C. Lichtenberg
"If you cultivate a healthy poverty and simplicity, so that finding a penny will literally make your day, then, since the world is in fact planted in pennies, you have with your poverty bought a lifetime of days."
- Annie Dillard
"Simplicity is a pleasant thing in children, or at any age, but it is not necessarily admirable, nor is affectation altogether a thing of evil. To be normal, to be at home in the world, with a prospect of power, usefulness, or success, the person must have that imaginative insight into other minds that underlies tact and savoir-faire, morality and beneficence. This insight involves sophistication, some understanding and sharing of the clandestine
impulses of human nature. A simplicity that is merely the lack of this insight indicates a sort of defect."

- Charles Horton Cooley
"The best things in life are nearest: Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life's plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life."
- Robert Louis Stevenson
"Be wary of any enterprise that requires new clothes."
- Henry David Thoreau
"I see humanity now as one vast plant, needing for its highest fulfillment only love, the natural blessings of the great outdoors, and intelligent crossing and selection. In the span of my own lifetime I have observed such wondrous progress in plant evolution that I look forward optimistically to a healthy, happy world as soon as its children are taught the principles of simple and rational living. We must return to nature and nature's god."
- Luther Burbank
"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."
- Leonardo da Vinci
"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius--and a lot of courage--to move in the opposite direction."
- E. F. Schumacker
"Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of nonessentials."
- Lin Yu Tang
Chaos: Making a New Science by James Gleick
The Essence Of Chaos by Edward Lorenz
"Two wings lift a person up from earthly concerns: Simplicity in intention, and Purity in feeling."
- Thomas Kempis
"Yes, in the poor man's garden grow
Far more than herbs and flowers -
Kind thoughts, contentment, peace of mind,
And joy for weary hours."
"Life is beautiful in its simplicity."
- Thomas Matthiessen
"Simplicity of character is no hindrance to the subtlety of intellect."
- John Morley
"But there is a spirituality that is more like a lowly emanation from the most humble and earthbound things; that of a particular house, a garden, a neighborhood, a grove of trees, a pristine beach, a holy well, a field of wheat. Here spirituality is indistinguishable from enchantment, for in an enchanted world the things of nature and even of culture reek of holiness. Enchantment is nothing more than spirituality deeply rooted in the earth."
- Thomas Moore,
The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life, p. 340
"You can't have everything; where would you put it?"
- Steven Wright
"Teach us delight in the simple things,
And mirth that has no bitter springs;
Forgiveness free of evil done,
And love to all men beneath the sun."
- Rudyard Kipling
"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness."
- Henry David Thoreau
"The ordinary arts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest."
- Thomas More
"The pure and simple truth is rarely pure, and never simple."
- Oscar Wilde
"Simplicity involves unburdening your life, and living more lightly with fewer distractions that interfere with a high quality life, as defined uniquely by each individual. You will find people living simply in large cities, rural areas and everything in between."
- Linda Breen Pierce
"The whole is simpler than the sum of its parts."
- Willard Gibbs
"For peace of mind, we need to resign as general manager of the universe."
- Larry Eisenberg
"My themes will not be far-fetched. I will tell of homely every-day phenomena and adventures."
- Henry David Thoreau
"whatever's merely willful,
and not miraculous
(be never it so skilful)
must wither fail and cease
- but better than to grow
beauty knows no"
- E. E. Cummings
"It's not a single idea, but many ideas and attitudes, including a reverence for nature and a preference for country life; a desire for maximum personal self-reliance and creative leisure; a concern for family nurture and community cohesion; a certain hostility toward luxury; a belief that the primary reward of work should be well-being rather than money; a certain nostalgia for the supposed simplicities of the past and an anxiety about the technological and bureaucratic complexities of the present and the future; and a taste for the plain and functional."- Countryside Magazine and Small Stock Journal
"Everything is complex and everything is simple. The rose has no why attached to it, it blooms because it blooms, how no thought of itself, or desire to be seen. What could be more complicated than a rose for someone who wants to understand it? What could be simpler for someone who wants nothing? The complexity of thinking, the simplicity of beholding."
- Andre Comte-Sponville,
A Small Treatise on the Great Virtues
"To simplify complications is the first essential of success."
- George Earle Buckle
"Part of the problem today is that we have a surplus of simple answers and a shortage of simple problems."
- Syracuse Herald
"He lacks much who has no aptitude for idleness."
- Louise Beebe Wilder
"Our life is frittered away by detail.
Simplify, simplify, simplify!
Simplicity of life and elevation of purpose."
- Henry David Thoreau
"I believe we would be happier to have a personal revolution in our individual lives and go back to simpler living and more direct thinking. It is the simple things of life that make living worthwhile, the sweet fundamental things such as love and duty, work and rest, and living close to nature. There are not hothouse blossoms that can compare in beauty and fragrance with my bouquet of wildflowers."
- Laura Ingalls Wilder
"Learning to produce our own food is essential if we are to ever truly take control of our own lives. It liberates us from the role of passive consumer, remote from real decisions, alienated from nature."
Primal Seeds
"One must first seek to love plants and nature, and then to cultivate that happy peace of mind which is satisfied with little. He will be happier if he has no rigid and arbitrary ideals, for gardens are coquettish, particularly
with the novice."
- Libery Hyde Bailey
"However mean your life is, meet it and live it: do not shun it and call it hard names. Cultivate poverty like a garden herb, like sage. Do not trouble yourself much to get new things, whether clothes or friends. Things do not change, we change. Sell your clothes and keep your thoughts."
- Henry David Thoreau
"The Tao of Tsu-jan [i.e., being true to one's nature] is like a tree. The more it grows (to have plenty), the more distant it is from the roots; the less it grows (to have little), the less distant it is from the roots. If one always increases, then one becomes removed from the true essence."
- Ariane Rump,
Commentary on the Lao Tsu by Wang Pi
"Maybe a person's time would be as well spent raising food as raising money to buy food."
- Frank A. Clark
"Everything is both simpler than we can imagine, and more complicated that we can conceive."
- Goethe
"Only the ephemeral is of lasting value."
- Ionesco

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