25 February 2011

Introduction (or What to Expect from Emergent Liberation)

I became interested in voluntary simplicity in the early 1990's as a result of watching a wonderful program on PBS titled Affluenza . Later, the producers followed up with Escape from Affluenza; chock full of ideas for living more simply and more consciously.

The benefits of adopting a lifestyle of voluntary simplicity seem to have universal appeal as many of the world's religions have praised it as an ideal. Quakers, Hindus, the early Greeks, Buddhists, Puritans and the Transcendentalists have all added their voices to the promotion of simple living. Indeed, as a Pagan, I have been drawn like a moth to a flame--to the benefits of living a simple life.

In his seminal book Voluntary Simplicity, Duane Elgin outlines the tendencies and benefits of those who follow a simple living lifestyle including:
  • More time and energy to devote to personal relationships
  • Develops the full spectrum of their potential physically, mentally and spiritually
  • Feels an intimate connection to the Earth and reverence for Nature.
  • Feels compassion and concern for the world's poor and develops a commitment to social justice
  • Lowered overall levels of personal consumption
  • Patterns of consumption are altered in favor of goods that do not pollute, are durable and/or repairable
  • Dietary habits shift to more natural, whole foods and away from processed "foods" loaded with sugars, salt, fat and preservatives
  • Reduced clutter and complexities in their lives and homes
  • Pursuit of vocations that contribute to the well-being of the world
  • Develops personal skills that contribute to greater self-reliance
  • Favors smaller and well-planned living environments that foster community
  • Favors non-sexist patterns in relationships
I immediately sensed the powerful potential for living more simply after watching Affluenza. I devoured as many books on voluntary simplicity as I could find. Many of the trends and benefits outlined above were ideals that the Pagan community already embraced. In my observation however, it seems the Pagan community lacks a framework and the tools with which to fully realize these benefits in their lives. Who among us in the Pagan community wouldn't want to more fully develop themselves? Who among us doesn't long for an intimate connection with Nature? Who among us doesn't deeply desire a vibrant and supportive community?

A wonderful concept I was introduced to is Ernest Callenbach's The Green Triangle. The three points of the triangle are health, money and environment; improve one "point" or area in your life and inevitably, you improve the other two points. For example, let's say you decide to save money by commuting to work on your bicycle. You save money because you are no longer having to buy gas and with less wear-and-tear on your vehicle, the costs associated with maintaining it are reduced. The environment is improved by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, noise pollution and traffic. Your health and body are improved with the increase in exercise.

It is the concept of The Green Triangle, that informs the foundation of this blog. All three points on the Green Triangle have significant overlap and/or complex interrelations and dependencies. I hope to unpack these complex relationships and offer tips and methodology for working through obstacles to a more conscious way of living. It is my sincerest aspiration that this work will enable the Pagan community (and anyone else who finds it useful) to create and fortify the lives they wish to lead. I believe that these practices and lifestyle modifications can lead to liberation from outmoded patterns and habits which no longer serve us. This work is dedicated to liberating us all to consciously create the lives we want - hence, Emergent Liberation.

I expect to publish Emergent Liberation three times each week - each day will be loosely focused on a different point of the Green Triangle. I welcome comments from my readers and trust that everyone will engage with the material, other readers and the author with respect and thoughtfulness.

Namaste and Blessed Be!

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