"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
making the complicated simple,
awesomely simple, that's creativity."
- Charles Mingus
Have few desires."
- Lao-Tzu, Tao Te Ching
Epicurean Simplicity By Stephanie Mills. Washington, Shearwater Books, Island Press, 2002. 207 pages. ISBN: 9781559636902. VSCL.
"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
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
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
- 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
to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like."
- Will Rogers
"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,
when they pay beyond the category of need, are weirdly fruitful of headache."
- Philip Wylie
"A garden has a curious innocent way
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
"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."
"Live simply that others
might simply live."
- Elizabeth Seaton
"Nature uses as little as possible of
- 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
- 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
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."
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
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."
"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
"An elegant sufficiency, content,
Retirement, rural quiet, friendship, books,
Ease and alternate labour, useful life,
Progressive virtue, and approving Heaven!"
- James Thomson, 1700-1748, Spring
"Dare to be naive."
- Buckminster Fuller
"To know you have enough is to be
- 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
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
This is the best season of your life."
"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."
"Like a great poet, Nature knows how to produce
the greatest effects with the most limited means."
- Heinrich Heine
really simple, but men insist on making it complicated."
"That man is richest whose pleasures are the
- Henry David Thoreau, 1856
"You can't force simplicity; but you can invite it in by finding as much
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
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."
"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."
"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."
"Plurality should not be assumed
- 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
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
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
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
Months and Seasons
Quotes, Poems, Sayings, Verses, Lore, Myths, Holidays
Celebrations, Folklore, Reading, Links, Quotations
Information, Weather, Gardening Chores
Compiled by Mike Garofalo
"I see humanity now as one vast plant, needing for its highest
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
- 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
"Two wings lift a person up from
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
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
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
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
- 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
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
- Louise Beebe Wilder
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."
"Only the ephemeral is of lasting value."
The Good Life Website
Compiled by Mike Garofalo
Last modified or updated on February 20, 2016.
First posted online in August of 2002.
Green Way Research, Red Bluff, California
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