Researching a Simple Life

For a long time I have had this nagging thought in my head that what I am looking for is something akin to monastic and artistic communities. I have always held a passion for creativity, for sharing life, our blessings, and skills, and living in a simple, sustainable, and environmentally friendly way. It seemed a duty deep in my heart to try my best to offer hospitality, to serve people and the world, and recently a lot of that has taken me back to the roots of my faith, and literal roots growing in my vegetable garden.

That does not mean I am an expert AT ALL, but I have decided to take a few steps, one at a time, to try and actually move towards this idea (I wrote a little about this here). One of these steps, especially for me, is research and so I have spoken to people and collected suggested resources that might help, which I am sharing below. By working through some of these I hope to come to a fuller understanding of what I am hoping to achieve, what I need to do, and how un-simple the simple life really is.

My dream is of three parts: a retreat/community of hospitality; a zero-waste farm/shop/resource centre; a creative hub or pod for artists to work communally, collaborative, whilst encouraged and inspired by each other.

I will also be writing small amounts about what I learn over the coming months from conversation and research I do. If you fancy adding to this please do get in contact or share resources in the comments below. My belief is that when information is shared freely we are all better off for it.

Ready? Me neither!

Places to visit:

The Community of St Anselm, Lambeth Palace, London
Earth.Food.Love, Totness, Devon
Ffald-y-Brenin, Pembrokeshire, Wales
Findhorn, Moray, Scotland
The Holy Island of Lindisfarne, Northumberland
Iona Community, Argyll, Scotland
L’Arche UK (various)
Lee Abbey, Lynton, North Devon
Northumbria Community, Felton, Northumbria
The Order of the Mustard Seed/24-7 Prayer Gathering (currently dispersed)
Othona, Bradwell-on-Sea, Essex
POD @ No.42, Bishop Auckland
Scargill Movement, Skipton, North Yorkshire

Books to read:

Life Together – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Letters from the Desert – Carlo Carretto
Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals – Shane Claiborne
The Irresistible Revolution – Shane Claiborne
Becoming a True Spiritual Community: A Profound Vision of What the Church Can Be – Larry Crabb
Letters from the Desert – Charles De Foucauld
Awareness – Anthony De Mello
A Life-Giving Way: A Commentary on the Rule of St. Benedict – Esther De Waal
Chasing the Wild Goose; The Story of the Iona Community – Ron Ferguson
Punk Monk: New Monasticism and the Ancient Art of Breathing – Andy Freeman & Pete Grieg
The Grace Outpouring – Roy Godwin
Red Moon Rising – Pete Grieg
The Vision and the Vow: A Call to Discipleship – Pete Grieg
“Modern life is killing creativity…” – Joseph Hartropp
Radical Hospitality: Benedict’s Way of Love – Daniel Homan
Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community – Dr Martin Luther King Jr.
A Sunlit Absence: Silence, Awareness, and Contemplation – Martin Laird
Into the Silent Land: The Practice of Contemplation – Martin Laird
The Greenwood Years – Revd. Ronald Messenger
Celtic Daily Prayer 1 & 2 – Northumbria Community
The Way of the Heart: The Spirituality of the Desert Fathers and Mothers – Henri J. M. Nouwen
An Ark for the Poor: The Story of L’Arche – Jean Vanier
The Gospel of John, The Gospel of Relationship – Jean Vanier
The Heart of L’Arche: A Spirituality for Every Day – Jean Vanier
Mental Health: The Inclusive Church Resource – Jean Vanier & John Swinton
Signs of the Times: Seven Paths of Hope for a Troubled World – Jean Vanier
Sayings of the Desert Fathers: The Alphabetical Collection – Benedicta Ward (trans.)
The Orthodox Way – Kallistos Ware
The Power of the Name – Kallistos Ware


Guild of St John & St Mary Magdalene
Hadewijch: The Complete Works – Mother Columba Hart
Jesus, the Word to be Spoken – Mother Teresa

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