“There is only one problem: everything! We like to talk about the ecological problem, the nuclear problem, the drug problem, the family problem, the violence problem, the alcohol problem, the species extinction problem,…each unrelated to each other. There is only one problem. It’s the way we live. The earth has only one problem. It’s the way we live. We suffer from a deep, cultural pathology.”
Four years ago I unexpectedly chose that ‘path less traveled’ and moved to beautiful Denmark. I chose to let go of my ‘usual busy ways’ and become semi-retired, built a solar active & passive home, ‘Tree Song’, and now spend most of my time in enjoyable solitude, walking my dogs through my forest property, gardening, growing vegetables and minding chooks! For now three years I have not felt the desire to return to Perth and even rarely travel to the big city, Albany! I am simply present at Tree Song, enjoying this ‘spaciousness’ and new ways of living – Being and doing. I have simply never felt happier.
Yet paradoxically this paradise Denmark, has the highest domestic violence rate in Australia, and significant rates of depression and divorce. It also has the highest IQ per population in Australia – with lots of well to do, professional and highly educated community members. I am also discovering that there are significant numbers of people who are burning out, not necessarily from over-work, but like others in the broader community, feeling at a loss or at odds with ‘modern life’ – that split between a contented soul-full life, and the incessant drive to make money, fight causes, care for others, or keep up with everyone (alternative ones or the social norm). Somehow just living in paradise is not enough! The ‘quietude’ of paradise perhaps disturbs?
When I was living in Perth I found the same dis-ease but it was the hectic pace that distressed many. ‘Are you busy?’ ‘How’s business?’ being the usual greeting! More than any other time in our lives we are all being faced with unprecedented global and personal changes and challenges – this year’s global financial crisis and the talk of more to come, faces all of us with life’s deep uncertainties and an even deeper Call to meaning-making. We are being asked to change our lifestyles simply and dramatically. In essence we need ‘Whole Health’ – to turn back the tides of increasing unsustainability and dis-ease. This Autumn and especially from now on, I invite us to take a ‘road less travelled’ for our future, simply savouring Simplicity!