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 at Thoreau Farm, we encourage people 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. Every once in a while, we collect selections to share with our online audience. Here are our favorites from our most recent visitors.
~ More nature & less stuff! Nature can calm us, protect us, and completely sustain us. We need to care for it now, more than ever. Thank you for the lessons, Henry! ~ Melissa
~ I turn to observe the natural world and share moments and revelations captured through a lens. ~ Raymond
~ I choose to do what aligns most with whatever force it is inside me that compels me to live at all. I don’t hesitate to do things differently. ~ Abby
~ I enjoy being in a private place in nature. I think about the wonderful mixture of gases that I inhale and the biochemical processes of photosynthesis that produce our oxygen, food and water. As I exhale, I thank the plants by giving them the carbon dioxide that they need to live and to continue to extend life on our unique and beautiful planet. ~ Al
~ By continuously reminding myself to come back to the present with no conceptual framework, looking at things (and people!) with wonder and full attention, and realizing the truth and beauty of the unfettered self. ~ Jonathan
~ I make sure I spend some time every day, to listen to the birds & see what nature has brought to my backyard. It brings me peace & happiness – living deliberately. ~ Amy
~ I try and probably fail more often than not. But keep trying because the alternative is unimaginable.
~ I take long walks & hikes. I write poetry. I reared two sons to recognize the earth as their precious second brother. Thank you for such a wonderful tour of Henry’s birthplace!
~ I bought my grandparents old house and am restoring it. Developers wanted to bulldoze it. I am inspired by not only HDT but those who keep his legacy alive! ~ Charles
~ Appreciating and enjoying the little things in life, which really are the big things! ~ Susan
~ 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
~ If you don’t need it – don’t throw it away – find a home for it – someone’s trash = another person’s treasure!
~ I chose to devote my life to helping my fellow veterans, who struggle with their own scars of war, both seen and unseen. I try to tell and show them that someone cares about them very much, and that we never leave our comrades behind. If I can make a difference in their lives, then I have accomplished something worthwhile. ~ JB
~ Using “old technology” in a new way. Rain barrels, battery powered lawn mower, string trimmer
~ What did Thoreau say, “only when I come 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” – then I spelled it out — & am trying to be “deliberate” now!
~ I try not to judge people that my co-workers don’t like. ~ Mandalena
~ I have changed my life to take care of my mother who has dementia, 24 hours a day. ~ Karen
~ Listen to the birds near – and far away – learn their language – teach this to children & sow seeds for the joy of stillness, quiet, meditation for the Thoreaus yet to come … ~ Carolina
~ I believe Henry D. would smile just knowing how much he influenced my generation. ~ Bob
~ Writing a book to bring awareness to the tragedies of war I experienced as a woman & the simplistic travel around the world I needed to do to get my spirit back & how to enjoy nature & other cultures. Respect the Earth.
~ We sold our home & bought a trailer to see the world. To live deliberately takes courage. To say no to stuff & possessions is freeing.
~ Live in the moment, and be as happy as you can be. Surround yourself with people who embrace sanity.
How have YOU chosen to live deliberately?
To see more visitor responses, see our previous compilations: