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The Joy of Living Simply

Updated: Jun 21, 2019

By Olivia Belanger




Some of the most blissful moments of the last year have swept through me as I stood at the kitchen counter peeling potatoes. For me, that is the jewel of living off-grid, the purpose of it. To live in a way where the mind can genuinely become quiet, where life is simple and the ordinary tasks reveal themselves as they are, as beautiful. It is in these moments, peeling the potatoes, that I can fully understand why my heart was pulling me so far away from the city and into the mountains. Into stillness and silence. My heart was longing to be heard.


When I first came to the ashram, slowing down from the high speed of travel and get-what-you-want-when-you-want-it city life was disorienting. It stretched my mind to just not be able to text my friends, or to not be able to buy a chai latte. I had always been a city girl, I grew up Toronto surrounded by condominiums and restaurants. I was never “outdoorsy.” I had never even spent a night in a tent until I was 22. So coming way up into the wilds of northern BC, to live off grid with no smoothie bars or cell service was a major leap out of my comfort zone. After about a week of letting go of was not able to do, all of this space that was otherwise occupied by craving and planning opened up. It was like I was on a loud train and finally got off between stops in middle of the night to look at the stars. I could finally see the stars…literally, I had the time and the space to just get to know the stars.

There is something so special about baking your own bread. Kneading the dough by hand, moving slowing, watching it rise. To be able to slow down enough to be fully present with each aspect of preparing a meal.

There is something so special about baking your own bread. Kneading the dough by hand, moving slowing, watching it rise. To be able to slow down enough to be fully present with each aspect of preparing a meal. To be able to pour love into each bowl. For me, it was a deeply empowering experience learning how to do things by myself, from scratch. Like chopping firewood and finding wild raspberries. It’s possible to live very comfortably without the things you think you can’t live without. I find myself peeling potatoes at the ashram. I find myself kicking the mud off my rubber boots. I find myself walking down the path on my way to bed. I find myself in these moments of such intense ordinariness, these moments so unexceptional, so simple that my mind has so little to occupy with that the shameless beauty of it all shines through. When I return to the city these days, it’s not with disdain or frustration but a new appreciation. I can peel potatoes in nearly any kitchen in the world. This is the virtue of living off the grid, I am learning, not to escape from some horrible dystopia but to enter into the joy of simple living. There is magic in knowing what time the sun rises and what shape the moon is tonight. There is wisdom is washing the dishes, my friends. There is wisdom in the little things.


This is the virtue of living off the grid, I am learning, not to escape from some horrible dystopia but to enter into the joy of simple living. There is magic is knowing what time the sun rises and what shape the moon is tonight. There is wisdom in washing the dishes, my friends. There is wisdom in the little things.


Written by Olivia Belanger

Nass Valley, BC, Canada
250-999-9182

 anuttarayoga@gmail.com

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