Our Discussions

Pragmatic Approaches to Simplify One's Life

1 (a pedar)
I don't think followings apply to me, Mine could not possibly be more simplified!!( see my comments in [] )
Might be good for YOU!
1. Get up 15 minutes earlier in the morning. The inevitable morning mishaps will be less stressful. [Thanks to my daughter, even 15 hours early won't make any...]
21. Make friends with non-worriers. Nothing can get you into the habit of worrying faster than associating with chronic worriers. [Only option then is, dead people!]

2 (a madar)
I find it fooling in the sense that it is the western way of simplifying one's life, i.e., simplify the details of your life, without changing the main course.
This society puts one in a race where one will never be a winner and that makes life complicated: one has to work hard, and stay in the race of making more $$ and spending more $$ and always worry about losing the race!
I think those of us who have lived in a third world country and now have the privilege of living in such a rich country can truly appreciate what we have and stay away from the race and enjoy a simple life. but the hard thing is to pass it on to our children!
I took my children to Target a couple of weeks ago where they insisted on buying this and that. I tried to explain to them how people in Iran struggle to make the bare necessities of a simple life, and why we should not spend money on luxury, etc. when we got to the cashier, my son asked the cashier very loud,"Did you know that people in Iran are very poor?"
3 (a mother)
about poor children in Iran: Some are, and in America, in the Appalachians, the Reservations and every major inner city area. 25% of American children live below the poverty level.
I agree with madar #2's basic perceptions of difference. As an American, married to an Iranian, and, who lived in Iran 'zaman-e jang', I learned a few powerful lessons. I don't need most everything I thought I did, and I have most everything I need.
I waited in line with my coupons for everything from meat to naft. I learned that styofoam trays with nice cuts of meat are not born that way and you feel a whole lot different about waste when you look at what you are about to eat while it can still look back.
I learned that good friends, good conversation and the blessings of health and happiness were far more important than the Louis Vuitton luggage I always worried about. (Heck, now, I am of the opinion, that if it is clean, looks like a Kmart blue light special and has a color coded cord on it for easy identification, that is the best way to travel. Talk about a reduction in customs charges!)
Avoid conspicuous consumption and, you are right, instead of simply simplifying the details, overhaul the priorities. Do I REALLY need that? If I do..why? How can I eliminate my needs and be content with my haves?
I think many people are becoming sick and tired of being sick and tired and are searching for MORE. Not more things, MORE quality of life. I asked many friends if they were going to the big 13 Bidar party at the Park and over and over again I heard "I can't stand what it's become."
Everyone complains about the parade of clothes, cars, things, and more things. It is NOT what IT has become, it IS what WE have become and only WE can change it. We all know the old saying, "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem."
I am going back next year. Back to Iran, back with my children, back with my husband, back to OUR friends, OUR family, OUR own simplicity. While not everyone CAN do that, everyone can return to themselves and their own Truths. I know Iranian people. I have lived among them since the age of 18 and I am now 40. I have learned from them, admire them, respect them and call them my family and friends. As with every people, there are the good ones and there are the bad ones, but, the good has, in my experience, so far outweighed the bad, that the bad is almost negligible.
When the plane descends, and you feel the Alborz Mountains are hugging you home, you know that the spirit of Iranians have left a deep and most wonderous impression on your soul.
Thank you for everything. It is ALL quite simple.
4 (a pedar)
Two question:
1. What's the Eastern "way of simplifying one's life"?
(already is simple, isn't a convincing answer; today's life in Iran is a good evidence )
2. Doesn't kids always ask you to buy this or that, while in stores specially the one which carry Toys?
or it's just a phenomena specific to Iranian kids?
5 (a mother)
Answers to the above questions by pedar #4:
1. Simplifying one's life is a process of the individual, not of the society. I believe any reference to an 'Eastern" way of simplifying one's life, is with regard to the thought processes, and not the consumer practices, albeit the two are inter connected.
Oft times, the return to simplicity has origins of the mystical aspects of all religions, and a return to Self. Each religion has it's 'Sufi' element and that in and of itself begs its adherents to follow simplicity and rid themselves of this constant need. Although, it is wrongly inferred to be an 'Eastern' phenomena, one may easily view it in a historical context and explain this assumption.
2.I believe most children reared in societies which focus on wanting, and are constantly baraged with media marketing, find themselves on a never ending journey of "need."
"But, Mom! I neeeed that Teletubbie!"
"Pedar, I HAVE to HAVE that Furby!" Each trip to a store is an exercise in futility, for all parents know this trip will not be the last, and the wanting and needing are never satisfied. Children , however, who are raised with minimal marketing blitzes if any,
are quite content with one "thing" or making "things" or pretending "things" and if brought to a toy store as Toy R US, are overwhelmed.
Although, the phenomena under discussion is not unique to the Iranian or American child, it is unique to the majority of the world's children who are brought up with thoughts of food not Furbys.
It is our responsibility as parents to connect our children with reality, so they may understand the difference between 'needing' and 'unecessary wanting'. A holiday at a soup kitchen, collecting gifts for those without, explaining our finances and the finances of others...connecting.
6 (a madar)
Being part a a two parent working professional family with a good amount of disposable income and a constant guilt feeling that we are not paying enough attention to our son's need , I was constantly being manipulated by him to buy the latest version of every toy in the market. His room is littered with 6 different video game devices , each with 10 cartridges , in addition to regular computer games and ....... . Of all the expensive toys that he got last year , the one that he enjoyed most was when I bought 3 white T shirts for $3 each and spent two hours with him on a project dying these shirts. He wears them proudly to school every day and asks me to come up with a similar project for him.
I don't want to sound like Dr. Laura (god knows I hate her guts) , but we can simplify our lives by cutting down on our materialistic needs and spend more quality times with the loved ones. And we should stop blaming the western lifestyle for our busy schedules , because mostly it is our own ambitions and "Cheshm -o - hamcheshmi" that takes us there.
Please send your replies and/or opinions regarding this subject to madar-pedar@surya.eecs.berkeley.edu.

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