Simplicity is in; according to the Trends Research Institute, 15% of America's 77 million baby boomers will have joined the movement by the end of the decade. Inwardly rich and outwardly simple, voluntary simplicity is both a reaction and an antidote to the spiritually void, harried and materialistic lifestyle that pervades our culture.
In Seattle, the mecca of the movement, Cecile Andrews is renowned for her workshops on voluntary simplicity and her seminars on creating simplicity circles (groups dedicated to pursuing simplicity in their own lives). In The Circle of Simplicity she explains how, instead of working to exhaustion, we should focus on our creativity, participate in community life, and be more concerned about the planet. In the end, simplicity means different things to different people. For some it means changing careers; for others it's deciding to walk to work. Regardless of how we adopt the principles of simplicity, Andrews asserts, we will be able to live a more satisfying, rewarding existence.
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The Circle of Simplicity speaks to readers seeking to find greater peace and happiness by eliminating some of the clutter and distraction in their lives. Andrews offers detailed instructions on how to form and run a simplicity circle, a support group for the terminally harried. Her book emphasizes the value of slowing down as a way to find time to reconnect with a community. But Andrews's idea of simplicity is vague, the remedy for a wide variety of discontents. For her it means, for one thing, eating out often, because cooking makes her "crabby." Instead of embracing the frugality advocated in other books, The Circle of Simplicity mostly echoes the weightless profundities of what used to be called the human potential movement. Andrews does not actually urge us to do our own thing, but she comes close.About the Author:
Cecile Andrews is a community educator, writes a weekly column for The Seattle Times, has hosted a Seattle NPR show, and runs simplicity circles regularly. She has a doctorate from Stanford University and lives in Seattle, WA.
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