Visions. They can be powerful, fleeting, and rapidly evolving things.
If you've heard of SimpleREV already, odds are you think it's just an annual event in Minneapolis every October.
And if you're really paying attention, maybe you know we have a cool community-sourced video series called What Simple Living Means to Me or a dormant (and hopefully soon-to-be revived) podcast called All Things SimpleREV.
But that's where SimpleREV stops … right? Intimate annual event. Occasional content here and there. Sporadic posts on Facebook or Twitter. End of story.
The reality? That's just the beginning.
I need to share an updated SimpleREV vision with you. One where hundreds of towns, cities, and regions have their own free, recurring, and local simple living gatherings.
One where nobody needs to come to Minneapolis to camp out at the crossroads of community and simplicity. Heck, you won't even need the Internet to participate!
Imagine thousands of people in hundreds of small, in-person groups – all dedicated to recreating a simple world.
Why? Because your home tuff is where you can make the biggest difference. How? Through deep connections to people and your environment … the kind where talk fuels action, action creates change, and change ignites a new narrative about what's possible.
Seriously, Joel. How's This Gonna Work?
Local hosts are given training, tools, and a flexible framework to organize simple living focused gatherings.
One culture adores storytelling, so they weave each other in and out of motivating storylines. Tales of breaking consumerism's shackles to embrace inner-contentment give rise to “At-a-boy!”s and “Right on, lady!”s.
Another group is all about the practical “how to” of meditation or yoga to focus their thoughts and tame their emotions. Monthly workshops become central as participant-led and participant-driven engagement helps even the shyest person believe there are no “attendees” with SimpleREV.
Yet another crew of inspiring, fantastically flawed, self-aware folks dig big hugs, shared group activities between gatherings, and a closing gratitude ritual that rivals Thanksgiving for warm smiles.
The structure is important. The fun pictures and silly videos of fellow SimpleREV peeps are great. And the friendships are potentially life-long.
Each of these local groups has their own vibe, gathering frequency, emphasis, and traditions. Their impact starts small … maybe someone tries out permaculture here or builds a tiny house there.
But then the concentric circles begin to ripple out. The next town over notices the SimpleREV inspired and community-run aquaponics farm and wants one, too. Monthly gatherings aren't enough for the Brooklyn crew, so they hop on the subway to join the Queens posse to cross-pollinate ideas, connections, and always – always, always, always – action.
Eventually, the waves of sustainability and compassion lap at the shores of Dublin. The community-oriented spirit takes to the wind and brings it mindful, slow living presence to Istanbul.
Now, the small bubbles of each group grow huge and overlap. SimpleREVers from Tokyo seek out SimpleREVers in Nairobi and Johannesburg when they travel. Distant communities engage with each other online and share best practices on how to homestead, why minimalism is so fulfilling, and what they do in their local gatherings.
Yet the undercurrent is the same everywhere. All SimpleREVers are united by an intentional life. They're driven to stop comparing, to stop competing so much and, instead, lead with generosity. Each person is humble and powerful.
And it all starts with one host in your city who decides he or she needs to bring people together around simple living.
Imagine All the People
Can you feel how happy people are to have others who believe what they do? Can you imagine the joy of consistently being with people who get you, who don't want you to justify why you do all the “crazy” stuff you do?
Can you picture the person waking up from their auto-pilot, consumption-driven lifestyle and learning how to reclaim their ancestral birthright to be simple?
I can hear Amirah, the nomadic yoga instructor, saying, “It's time to stop running from country to country just trying to find a place where I belong. You – SimpleREVers – are my people and I'll never feel isolated again.”
I can see the light in Rich's eyes – the formerly detached, helpless, and complacent workaholic father – as his simple living seeds take root. He still talks about how he doesn't believe “all your slow living, let's all hug mumbo-jumbo,” but he's no longer tied to B.S. social expectations when he's with “his guys.” His SimpleREV pals smile because they're encouraged that even people like Rich can change … and finally find self-renewing hope in the crucible of community.
All the while, Martha's surveying the scene as her cynicism that deep simplicity isn't possible in her lifetime slowly evaporates. Her sly grin says it all. The “been there, done that” attitude, the “I've been drinking the simplifying Kool-Aid for decades” superiority recede until all that's left is a more grateful, helpful person.
People across the world trade in their scarcity mindset for one of vibrant abundance. The manipulated, deceived, and conflicted become influential, intentionally vulnerable, and empowered. The System promoting hyper-consumerism, overwhelming schedules, impossible parenting expectations, purposeless work, and fast food diets continues to crumble.
And each SimpleREV local gathering gets us one step closer to a community – and eventually a society – that we can all be proud of.
Small groups. Small commitments. Small actions. They all build up to something amazing.
Local communities where people feel like they truly belong. Simple living as the default … as a way of being … that's what we get.
So What Now?
We (The SimpleREV Brain Trust) need to keep creating the infrastructure to make saying “Hell yes!” to forming and co-owning SimpleREV local gatherings a no-brainer.
We need to refine and package up a Field Kit for self-motivated simple living champs to rock in their own way. We need to train a new generation of community organizers who are resourceful, resilient, and know that we got their backs when things get rough.
Start scouting a specific spot for your future SimpleREV local gatherings. Get familiar with tech like Eventbrite that makes RSVPing easy.
Recruit friends and family members to co-host with you, spread the word, give a fantastic hug, high-five, or handshake, or capture the connection with a camera.
Yes, we're still going to draw SimpleREVers to Minneapolis (and hopefully in other countries down the road). Yes, we still plan to publish great community-sourced videos, get our podcast going again, and crank up a blog one of these days.
But the biggest impact happens where you are with the people you already know and deserve to know.
SimpleREV will be ready for you to spring into action soon. So get ready to camp at the crossroads of simplicity and community with us (which you can explore first when you subscribe to our email newsletter).
This is my vision of SimpleREV's heart and soul. What's yours?
P.S. Sarah Wehkamp is also instrumental in setting and implementing our vision for SimpleREV. We're nowhere without each other.