More from and about
Elaine St. James
(biographical info at bottom of page)

  

I have a friend who has developed a special ritual for getting up in the
morning. She wakes up a few minutes before daybreak and makes herself
a special cup of tea ... She knew that even if the rest of the day turns hectic,
she'll have one memory of something beginning exactly the way she likes it.

   

So our lives get frittered away by a social engagement here, a luncheon there, an evening of television here, or the habit of working evenings or weekends or both on projects that we don't have all that much interest in.  And the things we really want to do, in our heart of hearts, get put on the back burner.  One of the things simplifying your life will do is free up time for you to figure out what really matters to you, and then enable you to arrange your time so you can do it.

      
When I think back to my hectic lifestyle, I have to admit that one of the reasons I allowed my life to continue to be so complicated is that I hadn't slowed down enough in recent years to figure out what I wanted to do, not only in terms of my work life, but in terms of a lot of my personal choices.
  
Often one of the stumbling blocks to living a simpler life is our inability or unwillingness to change how we play some of the games that got us into these complicated lives in the first place.
  
  
There are often many things we feel we should do that, in fact, we don't really have to do. Getting to the point where we can tell the difference is a major milestone in the simplification process.
   
I've heard from and talked to many people who described how Mother Nature simplified their lives for them. They'd lost their home and many or all of their possessions through fires, floods, earthquakes, mudslides, or some other disaster. Losing everything you own under such circumstances can be devastating, but the people I've heard from all saw their loss, ultimately, as a blessing.
    "The fire saved us the agony of deciding what to keep and what to get rid of," one woman wrote. And once all those things were no longer there, she and her husband saw how they had weighed them down and complicated their lives.
     

Living life fully doesn't mean having it all, going everywhere,
doing everything, and being all things to all people.
Many of us are beginning to see that too much is too much.

   

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There are often many things we feel we should do that, in fact, we don't
really have to do. Getting to the point where we can tell the difference
is a major milestone in the simplification process.

   

The need to make wise choices encompasses every area of our lives.
Since we have time for only a limited amount of stuff, we need to
choose wisely what stuff we're going to allow to take up that time.
Since we have only a limited amount of time to spend with friends
or to engage in leisure activities, we need to choose
our friends and our activities wisely.

   

It takes courage to buck the tide, but once you start to experience the freedom
that comes from actively creating your own interpretation of success, youíll find
it easy to move on from people who havenít yet figured out that having it all
or spending long hours at an unsatisfying job will never define
who they truly are, no matter how high the pay.

   

    
Elaine St. James is a best-selling author and has been acclaimed by The New York Times as the leader of the simplicity movement. She has appeared on numerous national and international television and radio programs, including The Oprah Winfrey Show and Good Morning America. She ran a successful real estate business before beginning the process of simplifying her own life in 1990. She and her husband now live in Santa Barbara, California.
  

    

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Other people:  Alan Watts - Albert Einstein - Albert Schweitzer - Andy Rooney - Anne Frank - Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Anne Wilson Schaef
- Annie Dillard - Anthony Robbins - Ari Kiev - Artur Rubenstein - Barbara Johnson - Benjamin Disraeli
Benjamin Franklin
- Benjamin Hoff - Bernie Siegel - Bertrand Russell - Betty Eadie - Booker T. Washington
Charlotte Davis Kasl
- Cheryl Richardson - Cristina Feldman - C.S. Lewis - the Dalai Lama - Dale Carnegie - Deepak Chopra
Don Miguel Ruiz
- Earl Nightingale - Elaine St. James - Eleanor Roosevelt - Elisabeth Kuebler-Ross - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Emmet Fox
- Frederick Buechner - George Bernard Shaw - George Santayana - George Washington Carver - Gerald Jampolsky
Harold Kushner
- Harry Emerson Fosdick - Helen Keller - Henry David Thoreau - Henry James - Henry Van Dyke
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
- Henry Ward Beecher - Hugh Prather - Immanuel Kant - Iyanla Vanzant - Jack Canfield
James Allen
- Jennifer James - Jim Rohn - Joan Borysenko - Joan Chittister - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe - John Izzo
John Ruskin
- Joni Eareckson Tada - Joseph M. Marshall III - Julia Cameron - Kent Nerburn - Khalil Gibran
Leo Buscaglia
- Leonard Jacobson - Leslie Levine - Lucinda Bassett - Lydia Maria Child - Lynn Grabhorn - Marcus Aurelius
Marianne Williamson
- Martin Luther King, Jr. - Maya Angelou - Melody Beattie - Michael Goddart - Mitch Albom
Mohandas Gandhi
- Morrie Schwartz - Mother Teresa - M. Scott Peck - Nathaniel Branden - Nikos Kazantzakis - Norman Cousins
Norman Vincent Peale
- Og Mandino - Oprah Winfrey - Oriah - Orison Swett Marden - Pau Casals - Peace Pilgrim - Phillips Brooks
Rabindranath Tagore
- Rachel Carson - Rachel Naomi Remen - Rainer Maria Rilke - Ralph Waldo Trine - Richard Bach
Richard Carlson
- Robert Frost - Robert Fulghum - Robert Louis Stevenson - Russell Baker - Sarah Ban Breathnach
Shakti Gawain
- Soren Kierkegaard - Stephen Covey - Stephen C. Paul - Sue Patton Thoele - Susan L. Taylor
Sylvia Boorstein
- Thich Nhat Hanh - Thomas Carlyle - Thomas Kinkade - Thomas Merton - Tom Walsh - Victor Cherbuliez
Wayne Dyer
- Wilferd A. Peterson - Willa Cather - William James - William Wordsworth - Zig Ziglar

   

       
    

Yes, life can be mysterious and confusing--but there's much of life that's actually rather dependable and reliable.  Some principles apply to life in so many different contexts that they can truly be called universal--and learning what they are and how to approach them and use them can teach us some of the most important lessons that we've ever learned.
My doctorate is in Teaching and Learning.  I use it a lot when I teach at school, but I also do my best to apply what I've learned to the life I'm living, and to observe how others live their lives.  What makes them happy or unhappy, stressed or peaceful, selfish or generous, compassionate or arrogant?  In this book, I've done my best to pass on to you what I've learned from people in my life, writers whose works I've read, and stories that I've heard.  Perhaps these principles can be a positive part of your life, too!
Universal Principles of Living Life Fully.  Awareness of these principles can explain a lot and take much of the frustration out of the lives we lead.