Simplicit: Living Off Grid


    Guest blog by Tim Scarbrough

    Simplicity ….for many months now this seems to be a place I must inhabit…a place of peaceful simplicity. A definition of the word ‘simplicity’ is a thing that is plain, natural, or easy to understand. It might be pluralized as "..simplicities of pastoral living"

    Yet, to further the concept I think the perception of simplicity is as personal as the feelings a sunrise might create in your heart…or perhaps the giggle of a baby or the mew of a kitten. Is it a place of raw basic emotion? Perhaps one of nostalgia or sweet memory?

    Cutting down on sugary food is better for your health as well. These are things such as candy bars, pastries, chocolate, cookies, cakes, and jelly donuts. Not only do they not fill you up, they cause you to want to eat more due to the sugar rush. Go for healthy snacks instead like fruits, salads, pure juices, and unprocessed foods.

    I believe all these examples are true and much more than many of us might consider. Let me elaborate from a recent discovery as I was recovering from some of the worst effects of radiation and hormone treatments as I fought prostate cancer.

    Pure and simple…..I recently rediscovered my front porch….a place of simplicity.

    I have a small farm in rural southern Illinois and have always had a great view from my porch. I’d commonly see bees and trees, dogs and cats, …..gradual and sometimes rapid growth of plant life especially mid-summer crabgrass and field corn. Before my divorce some years ago, in 22 years married our porch was seldom used…not at all for meetings, quiet time with God, calm reflections, or meditation.

    Exercise can also help you sleep better at night. As little as 10 minutes of aerobic exercise, such as walking or cycling, can drastically improve nighttime sleep quality but please avoid strenuous workouts close to bedtime.

    Last year a former girlfriend of mine gave me a nice cigar…and we sat together and laughed, smoked it and drank a little just spending quality time together…on the porch.

    I newly saw, even in the beginning of 2020, my porch was a place that gave me comfort…in this place I found a peace that I’d not known since my marriage was sound, and all of my children were smaller, living inside.

    How utterly simple and profoundly peaceful!

    In my deep pain from treatments, work stresses, and old terrible memories that bubble up from time to time I was able to sit comfortably on my porch, just me and the Lord. Sometimes with a glass of tea or coffee, maybe a pipe of aromatic tobacco and a brandy…there I found a deeper place of simplicity and peace. Afresh I saw trees and grass. With new insight I saw my small herds of goats and sheep grazing. Hummingbirds, honeybees and wasps buzzed by… and goldfinches flew across the yard.

    Make a “me” list. What makes you happy? Running, grocery shopping solo, hot coffee with a friend, etc. Find a way to do at least three things on that list every week. It makes me feel like I can still have a bit of me when everyone else in my life seems to need 100 percent of me, too.

    I could see the faint expression of a breeze through a leaf on a low branch or through only the top of the boughs of very tall trees…a thunder storm might cause the rain to fall and the trees to bend but there I sat, enjoying the sight and feel of it all. A dog or cat at my feet…and I was not suffering but just basically at rest. I might have been utterly exhausted or feeling terrible but I could find peace sitting there and letting the wind blow and simply just be.

    porch view

    View from the porch.

    For some months since this rediscovery, my porch remains a place of simple peace. An escape for me from a world of pestilence and uncertainty, in all seasons a location to quietly commune with God and the world he created — a basic place of simple joy.

    Get what you give! Always giving and never taking? This is the short road to compassion fatigue. Give to yourself and receive from others, otherwise you’ll get to a point where you have nothing left to give. And hey, if you can’t receive from others, how can you expect them to receive from you?

    I encourage you to search your home for this special secret place. I guarantee it just need to search it out. Once you find it, make it your own and use it often if not daily.

    Each of us needs this to live life in order to decompress or be quiet amidst worldly noise. Your body, mind and especially your soul will be thankful of the decision and the time spent in this peaceful place of simplicity.

    Seek it Out….right now!


    Many Blessings!!

    Tim Scarbrough is a retired Army veteran, single dad of four awesome kids and owner of a small farm. He serves others through his local church, mentorship and public speaking in Toastmasters, and building missions with Habitat for Humanity.

    Your dirtiest foot forward. If your ankles, knees, and hips ache from running on pavement, head for the dirt. Soft trails or graded roads are a lot easier on your joints than the hard stuff. Also, dirt surfaces tend to be uneven, forcing you to slow down a bit and focus on where to put your feet – great for agility and concentration.

    Aur Beck has lived completely off-grid for over 35 years. He has traveled with his family through 24 states and 14,000 recorded miles by horse-drawn wagon. Aur is a presenter at The Climate Reality Project, a fellow addict at Oil Addicts Anonymous International and a talk show co-host at WDBX Community Radio for Southern Illinois 91.1 FM. Find him on the Living Off Grid, Really!?!? Facebook page, and read all of Aur's MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here .