You know that feeling you get when someone says or writes something far better than you could have? I love that feeling. Here are 10 of the more memorable times it happened to me in 2010:
When anthropologists spend time with aboriginal peoples, one of the very first things they almost always comment on is that these are folks who spend so much time with their loved ones that they almost have no concept of privacy the way we do. I tend to think that is the default setting for the human brain and human psyche. I believe it’s time that we start living as Americans as if relationships are the things that matter to us the most, not our achievement, not our possessions, not our money. – Dr. Stephen S. Ilardi
Frugality is not the same thing as cheapness … Frugality is the exact opposite. Frugality is an embracing of quality. It’s an embracing of experiences. It’s really trying to look at, what are we spending our money on? Why are we spending this money? – Chris Farrell
For the privileged, the pleasure of staying home means being reunited with, or finally getting to know, or finally settling down to make the beloved place that home can and should be, and it means getting out of the limbo of nowheres that transnational corporate products and their natural habitats—malls, chains, airports, asphalt wastelands—occupy. It means reclaiming home as a rhythmic, coherent kind of time. – Rebecca Solnit
What’s really sad to me is not that people don’t send their kids out to play [anymore]. Let’s be clear what we’re talking about: get up in the morning, walk out the door, say, “Bye Mom,” and don’t come back ‘til dinnertime. And your mom has no idea where you are, or who you’re hanging out with, or what you’re doing. It’s just not an issue. That’s the kind of freedom we’re talking about. And what’s sad is not just that my kids don’t get that, that I don’t let them do that, that I don’t feel like it’s possible anymore somehow, but if I did … and when we do send our kids outside, there’s no one out there to play with. They’re just in this deserted moonscape, where something terrible happened to all the children, and they’ve been taken away. Where are they all? They’re all inside. It’s not right, and I think we know it’s not right, and I think it’s a persistent source of guilt for parents. – Michael Chabon
Whatever work I am doing – editing a magazine or lecturing or whatever other work I am doing – I never hurry. … I say, there’s plenty of time. I don’t feel any kind of stress or strain when I do something. I do slowly, and I do with love and with care, and that way I can live a simple and slow life. I do only one thing at a time, and when I’m doing that thing, I do only that thing. – Satish Kumar
Somewhere along the line, I had stopped believing the evidence that was before me and started believing one of the central myths of modern American culture: that a family requires a pile of money just to survive in some sort of comfort and that “his and her” dual careers were an improvement over times past. – Shannon Hayes
I’m critical of these focuses on individual lifestyle changes, you know it’s our fault that there’s global warming because we didn’t ride our bike, or we didn’t recycle, or we didn’t carry our own bag to the store. Of course I think we should do all those things and we should definitely strive to live as low impact as possible. But we’re operating within a system where the current is moving us toward greater ecological devastation. So these individual actions that we can do, it’s kind of like getting better and better at swimming upstream. …. Rather than nagging our friends to take public transportation even if it takes five times as long and costs twice as much money, let’s work together to get better public transportation, so that the more ecological action is the new default. We need to make doing the right thing as easy as falling off a log… – Annie Leonard
We are so used to being in our metal-and-glass boxes that we forget how wonderful the rain is. And when the weather is good, cars isolate you from that. You don’t get to feel the sun on your shoulders, the wind in your face, the fresh smell of licorice when you pass a certain plant, see the squirrels dart past or the ducks mock you with their quack. – Leo Babauta
This is an increasingly noisy era — people shout at each other in print, at work, on TV. I believe the volume is directly related to our need to be listened to. In public places, in the media, we reward the loudest and most outrageous. People are literally clamoring for attention, and they’ll do whatever it takes to be noticed. Things will only get louder until we figure out how to sit down and listen. – Margaret J. Wheatley
Thus began my “secular Sabbath” — a term I found floating around on blogs — a day a week where I would be free of screens, bells and beeps. An old-fashioned day not only of rest but of relief. … Once I moved beyond the fear of being unavailable and what it might cost me, I experienced what, if I wasn’t such a skeptic, I would call a lightness of being. I felt connected to myself rather than my computer. I had time to think and distance from normal demands. I got to stop. – Mark Bittman
* Don’t forget, tomorrow is the first day of winter and the shortest day of the year. The solstice this year coincides with a full moon – a rare event. (The next time it will happen is on December 21, 2094.) And this year there will also be a total lunar eclipse on the winter solstice starting at 1:33 A.M. eastern standard time. It’s a special day for so many reasons. You can find simple ways to celebrate here.
Who or what inspired you this year?