inside-out simplicity

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Life-Changing Keys to your Most Important Relationships

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    Good art enters the soul,

    appeals to the heart,

    and makes new ideas plausible.

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    dedicated to those who have modeled for me the joys of a united heart.

    2010 by Joshua Becker. All rights reserved.

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    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Joshua Becker writes regularly at Becoming Minimalist a blog dedicated

    to inspiring others to pursue minimalism and simplicity. He is the author of

    two books: Simplify and Inside-Out Simplicity.

    He lives in Essex, Vermont with his beautiful wife and two small children,

    ages 7 and 4. As one of today's leading proponents of rational

    minimalism, Joshua presents a

    unique approach to simplicity that

    is based in the heart, soul, and

    mind. You will enjoy his unique

    blend of illustrative stories,

    theoretical principle, and practical

    application.

    After all, if his typical family of four

    living in the suburbs can simplify

    their life, so can you!

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    TABLE OF CONTENTS

    PAGE

    THE BOOK I WAS AFRAID TO WRITE 07

    THE BOOK I COULDNT WAIT TO WRITE 09

    WHAT IS SIMPLICITY? 10

    WHY RELATIONSHIPS MATTER 14

    1. OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH OURSELVES 16

    2. OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH OTHERS 32

    3. OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH OUR SPOUSE 44

    4. OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH OUR CHILDREN 51

    5. OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH POSSESSIONS/MONEY 70

    6. WHY OUR WORDS MATTER 85

    7. WHY OUR SEXUALITY MATTERS 95

    8. WHY OUR SPIRITUALITY MATTERS 98

    SEEK SIGNIFICANCE 103

    ADDITIONAL RESOURCES 107

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    WELCOME TO THE BOOK I WAS AFRAID

    TO WRITE

    The idea for this book has been swirling in my mind for years. The outline

    has been on paper for months. Even many of the words had already been

    written. Yet, I was afraid to finish it.

    I have been nervous to release Inside-Out Simplicity because I know that

    issues of morality, lifestyle, and inside-out simplicity tend to be

    controversial. People get defensive. And they begin making assumptions

    about you and your motives.

    For that reason, I want to alleviate any fear that you or I may have

    concerning the contents of this book by attempting to address the four

    most common assumptions that are going to arise in the minds of the

    reader:

    ASSUMPTION #1: THE AUTHOR THINKS HES PERFECT

    TRUTH: I'm human. I struggle with many of the same relationship

    principles in this book... just like you. Believe me, I wish I was more

    generous, more encouraging, and more forgiving. I'm far from perfect just

    ask my wife. But I do believe that a simple life begins with a unified soul.

    And a unified soul begins by adopting many of the relational principles

    included in this book.

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    ASSUMPTION #2: THE AUTHOR THINKS HES BETTER

    THAN ME.

    TRUTH: Nothing could be further from the truth. We all have weaknesses.

    We excel in some areas and struggle in others. I do not think I am better

    than you. I have already humbly admitted that I wrestle with many of the

    topics covered in this book. I have the same struggles as you. Were all

    humans together. Throughout most of this book I am writing to myself - just

    trying to further my life along this journey to simplicity as well as yours.

    ASSUMPTION #3: THIS STANDARD IS TOO DIFFICULT.

    TRUTH: The principles in this book do not outline the prerequisites for

    simplicity. They do not define the starting line. Instead, they define the

    finish line - the ultimate goal. But simplicity in life can be found in the

    journey towards these principles. Begin to adopt them, one by one, and

    you will understand what I mean.

    ASSUMPTION #4: I DISAGREE WITH ONE POINT, THE

    WHOLE BOOK IS WRONG.

    TRUTH: At some point during your reading, you are going to disagree with

    me (I assume the chapters on sexuality and spirituality will be particularly

    debated). Or at least, it is my hope that you disagree at some point along

    the way. This book is meant to challenge your heart at its deepest levels. It

    is meant to make new ideas plausible. Therefore, I hope you disagree at

    some point... and that new ideas cause all of us to think harder about this

    journey called life. And may we all become better because of it.

    Now that Ive gotten my fears out of the way

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    WELCOME TO THE BOOK I COULDNT

    WAIT TO WRITE

    Two years ago, we became minimalists. We made the decision to

    intentionally minimize our possessions and simplify our life.

    Since then, we have been on a journey to understand what that means for

    us and our two children. The process of simplification has since made its

    way into our goals, time commitments, parenting strategy, and our

    marriage. Essentially, it has influenced all of the important relationships in

    our life. Along the way, we noticed that healthy relationships are absolutely

    essential to a simplified life.

    And I couldnt wait to share what weve observed and learned along the

    way.

    Be ready. This book goes well beyond the external fixes to our complicated

    lives and focuses on the heart issues required for a simplified life. It is

    based on the premise that a truly simplified lifestyle begins in a persons

    soul. And it will help the reader find an inside-out simplicity by focusing on

    the key life-changing principles necessary in their most important

    relationships.

    It is meant to challenge you.

    It is meant to encourage you.

    It is meant to inspire you.

    It is destined to help you find a simpler way of life.

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    WHAT IS SIMPLICITY?

    Simplicity, clarity, singleness: These are the attributes that give our lives

    power and vividness and joy as they are also the marks of great art. -

    Richard Holloway

    Simplicity is clarity, purpose, and intentionality. It is marked by the

    intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of

    everything that distracts us from it. It is a life lived in unity. And once you

    find it, you will never go back.

    SIMPLICITY IS FREEDOM FROM THE PASSION TO

    POSSESS

    Modern culture has bought into the lie that the good life is found in

    accumulating things - in possessing as much as possible. They believe

    that more is better and that happiness can be purchased at a department

    store.

    But they are wrong.

    Simplicity brings freedom from the all-consuming passion to possess. It

    steps off the treadmill of consumerism and dares to seek happiness

    elsewhere. It values relationships, experiences, and soul-care. And in

    doing so, it finds life.

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    If you desire freedom from the passion to possess, this book is for you.

    SIMPLICITY IS FREEDOM FROM MODERN MANIA

    Our world lives at a feverish pace. We are too hurried, too rushed, and too

    stressed. We work long, passionate hours to pay the bills, but fall deeper

    into debt. We rush from one activity to another - even multitasking along

    the way, but never seem to get everything done. We remain in constant

    connection with others through our cell phones, but true life-changing

    relationships continue to allude us.

    Simplicity slows down life and frees us from this modern hysteria to live

    faster. It finds freedom to disengage. It seeks to keep only the essentials. It

    seeks to remove the frivolous and keeps the significant. And in doing so, it

    values the intentional endeavors that add value to life.

    If you desire freedom from modern mania, this book is for you.

    SIMPLICITY IS FREEDOM FROM DUPLICITY.

    Although nobody intentionally chooses it, most people live in duplicity.

    They live one life around their family, one life around their co-workers, and

    another life around their neighbors. The lifestyle they have chosen requires

    them to portray a certain image dependant upon their circumstances. They

    are tossed and turned by the most recent advertising campaign or the

    demands of their employer.

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    On the other hand, a simple life is united and consistent. It has learned a

    lifestyle that is completely transferrable no matter the situation. It is the

    same life on Friday evening as it is on Sunday morning... as it is on

    Monday morning. It is reliable, dependable and unfluctuating. It works in all

    circumstances.

    If you desire unity in your life, this book is for you.

    SIMPLICITY IS COUNTER-CULTURAL

    We live in a world that idolizes celebrities. They are photographed for

    magazines, interviewed on the radio, and recorded for television. Their

    lives are held up as the golden standard and are envied by many.

    People who live simple lives are not championed by the media in the same

    way. They dont fit into the consumerist culture that is promoted by

    corporations and politicians.

    Yet, they live a life that is attractive and inviting. While most people are

    chasing after success, glamour, and fame, simplicity calls out to us with a

    smaller, quieter, calmer voice. It invites us to slow down, consume less,

    but enjoy more. And when we meet someone living a simple life, we often

    recognize that we h