The Doors

From one door to the next: I have moved out and moved in. The familiar door in Tenna is slowly overgrowing, the quarters behind falling into a long sleep until I will return to them next winter.

The new door stands open, the little house behind it ready to accommodate me for a while. This is my hermitage, a quiet place, that will serve me for my silent retreat.

Behind these massive stone walls hides a simple home, Continue reading “The Doors”

The Doors

Von einer Tür zur anderen: Nun bin ich aus- und umgezogen. Die vertraute Tür in Tenna wächst so langsam zu, die Wohnung wird in eine Art Dornröschenschlaf verfallen bis ich dann im Winter wieder dahin zurück kehre.

Die neue Türe steht offen, das kleine Haus dahinter ist bereit mich für einige Zeit zu beherbergen. Dies ist meine Einsiedelei, der Ort der Stille, in den ich mich nun zurück gezogen habe.

Hinter diesen dicken Steinmauern verbirgt sich ein einfaches Zuhause, Continue reading “The Doors”

10 complex ways to lead a simple(r) life

Haus in Camana, Safiental. - House in Camana, located in the Nature Park Beverin, Switzerland.
Haus in Camana, Safiental. – House in Camana, located in the Nature Park Beverin, Switzerland.

In a postmodern trend to list anything for publication, I am adding ten attitudes and behaviours that could (hopefully) be endorsed by John Woolman to avoid superfluities. Continue reading “10 complex ways to lead a simple(r) life”

10 komplexe Weisen ein einfach(er)es Leben zu führen

Haus in Camana, Safiental. - House in Camana, located in the Nature Park Beverin, Switzerland.
Haus in Camana, Safiental. – House in Camana, located in the Nature Park Beverin, Switzerland.

Ganz im Sinne der postmodernen Erscheinung, alles Mögliche in Listenform zu publizieren, führe ich hier zehn Lebenseinstellungen und Verhaltensweisen an, die hoffentlich auch John Woolman vertreten könnte um Überflüssiges zu vermeiden. Continue reading “10 komplexe Weisen ein einfach(er)es Leben zu führen”

One Story of Simplicity – Reimagining the Good Life

‘Living in this intentional community of people with varied abilities was the first step away from a gainful career and towards voluntary poverty.’

Für eine deutsche Übersetzung klicke hier:
Eine einfache Geschichte

Othmar F. Arnold (2012)

My journey started more than fifty years ago in Switzerland. I was born the second child of four to parents who grew up still deeply embedded in the cultural fabric of a conservative Catholic society. The first fourteen years of my life I grew up comfortably and quite sheltered in a small town. My family was the perfect family: dad was working as an engineer (he was the first in his family to benefit from higher education, thus escaping the rural poverty of the peasant life or the hardship of the working class experienced by his forefathers). Mom stayed home after marriage, but before has mastered a professional qualification and has earned a living on her own (this was also a first in her family that had also very recent rural roots – her father was born into a migrant farm worker family with no possessions and very limited rights). They were very proud of their achievements and upward mobility in social class. They also had grand expectations for her children who were to be given all opportunities to make it to the top of modern society.

At age fourteen, I woke up from the dream. Continue reading “One Story of Simplicity – Reimagining the Good Life”

Stories of Simplicity – Reimagining the Good Life

The Simplicity Institute put out a call for stories for a book which aims to provide more insight into the various ways people are living simpler lives. It is worthwhile to browse through these stories. If you have your own story to tell, please submit it here: Stories of Simplicity.

The first book is available online and for free: “Stories of Simplicity – Reimagining the Good Life“. My own contribution can be found on pages 149 to 151 of the book.


For more publications from the Simplicity Institute you can follow this link: Publications.

Aufbruch – Departure (+de)

Aufbruch – Departure 

Auf los geht's los! - ready... set... !
Auf los geht’s los! – ready… set… !

(Deutsche Übersetzung folgt)

I am sitting with my black travel bag in front of me. I am checking the carry-on policies of the various airlines. The dimensions seem fine, a weight limit is not stated and I wouldn’t have a scale to check it anyhow. Later on the train and the ship, it won’t matter anymore. Good thing I am starting with the most restrictive mode of transportation.

The lid is still open: Continue reading “Aufbruch – Departure (+de)”

Simplicity in the marketplace

As we were gathered in silence this Sunday, it was easy to listen to and to hear the raindrops outside.”

The reference to rain shows that I wrote this account of my thoughts back in October when I was worshipping with the Victoria Friends Meeting – here in the Yukon it is currently -35 degrees and no rain in sight!

I was contemplating on the various ways they follow their journey in their natural cycle. Some of them will fall on the earth, the ground that is receptive to soak them up, to store it for the plants, and to release it in the cycle later. Others will run off and pool in a depression, being available for animals to quench their thirst. Yet others will fall on a roof, go down the gutter, onto the concrete, run off the roadways, into the sewer system and the storm drains. Some of them will need to go through a water treatment plant before they are released back into the wild, allowing them to join the natural cycle again.

Water - the essence of Life
Water – the essence of Life

Continue reading “Simplicity in the marketplace”

Contemplative construction

As I was looking in a contemplative gaze out the window – into a wintery morning scene with freshly blowing snow and some lights shining from the roof of a construction site across the street – I felt this gentle urge, this longing, to be doing something with my hands. I had this instant flash of memory of the project I was working off and on all summer long: a tiny house on wheels. I imagined how ideal it would be to have such an ongoing project set up and waiting for those moments where my hands call for meaningful activity.

The becoming of my passive-solar-design-tiny-house-on-a-trailer in summer 2012

But my little project is set aside for the winter. Choosing to embrace a simple lifestyle and not to maintain a permanent place to live has its consequences: I am not always in control and have to accept what the respective circumstances allow. Setting up the tiny house project within easy reach was not feasible this winter. Alas!

Continue reading “Contemplative construction”