Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Magic Number of 7

As always, when I speak to an audience I say what I need to hear. For the last couple months I have been paring away what  no longer interests me. I don't remember what initially sparked my interest but I googled the term minimalization and I was off and running.

It helped that in my monastic journey I was in quandary (I could claim quandary as my home town) and it happened that the next topic for me to digest was poverty.  As I looked at blogs about simplification I came across Jen Hatmakers book called 7:A Mutiny Against  Excess. To keep it short, she narrowed food choices, available clothing etc to 7 items for a month.

So, my food list was eggs, whole wheat bread, greens, apples, peanut butter, milk and dark chocolate. I count coffee, olive oil, salt and pepper as free and necessary ingredients. Amnesia similar to forgetting pain after childbirth prohibits me from remembering if it was difficult in the beginning. I have kept to the regimen more or less since. I find it to be very satisfactory in two major respects.

The first is that it has measurably increased my free time. The simplicity of food shopping, prep and cleanup is incredible. I stick to choices that support what is locally available in season in my New England area and I can easily afford organic choices with such a short shopping list.

Which brings me to the second satisfaction. I can align my eating habits to the vast majority of those in the world limited in choice and ability to store  foodstuffs for 'tomorrow'. I eat a day at a time what is available. I bring this up because I saw Ann Voskamp's photos of African children with big smiles eating big plates of rice and beans. I thought to myself that I would have needed to save some of it for tomorrow. How do you do that in most homes of the world that are rough shelter! Where is their refrigerator, Carol?

So, I pay homage as I eat a few bits of this and that. Simple food that sustains me, made with my hands. And my life feels fuller for having stripped away some excess. Do I eat differently at parties? You betcha, I test this and that but my appetite stays right sized and doesn't lead me around like it used to.

That's what's good about today!

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