By Corinne H. Smith
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” ~ “Where I Lived, and What I Lived For,” WALDEN
At the end of our house tours, we encourage our visitors to consider how Thoreau’s philosophies apply to their own lives. How have they chosen to live deliberately? How have they turned thought into action? To share their answers, guests write their declarations on cards and tack them up on our bulletin board. In the “off season,” we collect selections to share with our online audience. Here are our favorites from our visitors in 2013. (To go back and read the ones from 2012, click here.)
– Ride a bike. The world becomes simpler …
– Listening to the land helps me learn how to live on my own.
– I try to speak up when I think my thoughts will make a difference. I listen to my instincts when I am not sure what to do.
– Realizing the great abundance and blessing I have – by just being aware. I have decluttered and simply given away “stuff,” realizing that relationship with “stuff” is not as important as relationship with people. (G)
– We checked off all we could from our own “list” and have now opened our home to teach about solar power / farm living. We can all do more, but at some point have to share “how” and hope to pass it on.
– We try to eat sustainably for our own health and for the environment. We keep up with current issues and thoughts and occasionally delve into history for insight.
– I try to maintain an open enough mind, so that even those who may cause me to doubt the goodness of humankind, also have something to teach me about my own nature.
– By having a nice walk into the wood of Mendon every weekend.
– I try to stay in the moment, especially by going on nature walks and paying attention to Life! (TR, Waltham MA)
– I teach, always from the perspective of the silenced. “Much Madness is divinest Sense…” ~ Emily Dickinson
– I try to treat others as I would want to be treated and RESPECTED.
– I make sure I find some time every day to listen to the birds and see what nature has brought into my backyard. It brings me peace and happiness – Living deliberately. (Amy, Stoughton)
– I have stopped using plastic where I can – storing in mason jars. I deliberately make friends and spread kindness and positivity. (Karen)
– Take care of the place you live and know where your consumption materials come from and where your trash goes. (Oliwa)
– I turn the heat way down at night without my wife knowing.
– I was an English teacher for 31 years and called my classroom “The Athena Academy.” I taught my students that the goddess of wisdom had gray eyes because that is where wisdom lies: in not thinking in black and white but instead in the infinite shades of gray. This was central to my teaching approach – deliberately echoing some of Thoreau.
– I use my time in ministry with students – helping them mature, grow in their knowledge of God and their values. I find my greatest connections with God through nature and meditation and am motivated to love others and have compassion because most men live lives of quiet desperation. (Corrie O.)
– Run with my dog off-leash through the woods observing flora and fauna, reflecting each night in the wonders I live in. Grow herbs, fruits and vegetables organically with our own compost. (Sandra B.)
– I have chosen a career that is in line with my values and also would meld well with Thoreau’s ideas. I have always strived to live simply with relatively few possessions, and put more energy and intention into human and natural interactions. (Anoush)
– Do what you love; love what you do.
– I am living the life I’ve imagined!
– By staying attuned to the needs, both physical and emotional, of others. By not taking too much, thereby leaving enough for others. “Leave only footprints, take only memories, kill only time.” (MS, Kauneonga LA)
– Live as if today was the last day you had. Absorb as much as you can, enjoy the learning. Make your life and the lives of others more meaningful in a way that better suits your interests and talents. (Jolante)
– What did Thoreau say? “…only when I came to die, to find out I hadn’t lived.” So I thought about what I wanted to be sure to have “done,” “been,” “experienced,” “felt” – and then I spelled it out and am trying to be “deliberate” now.
– I believe Henry would smile just knowing how much he influenced my generation. (Bob M.)
We feel inspired by our friends’ examples. What about YOU, blog readers? How have YOU chosen to live deliberately? Our online bulletin board awaits your input.