What thins your soul?

thin soul vs. thin life(1)(1)

thin soul vs. thin life(2)

Here’s a totally random and useless fact about me: I love researching and buying domain names. I think this love comes from a combination of my writerly attraction to giving things titles, and my nerdy interest in sociology.

I bring this up because originally this site was going to be called “A Thicker Life.” I bought the domain, AThickerLife.com, several days before I settled on Simple Life Lab. Now if you’re confused about what a thicker life is, and maybe a little creeped out by the word “thick” (out of context it feels a little creepster to me, too, which is one reason I decided against it), let me explain: Last winter I read a book that talked about how many of us are experiencing a “thinness of soul” in our busy, over-saturated, overstimulated lives. The phrase immediately resonated with me. I frequently feel thin, like butter spread over too much toast (thanks, Bilboa Baggins, for the analogy).

In contrast, a thicker life is nice and fatty, brimming with good, wholesome stuff. This looks different for different people, but universally I think it includes satisfying personal relationships, an abiding sense of purposefulness in our labor, a strength and vitality in our physical selves, and a wholeness (let’s call this joy) in our spirits.

Here’s what thins my soul, and what I’d rather be doing instead


> things that give me a thinness of soul: too many hours looking at a screen, mindless media consumption, too much work to do, buying what I’d rather create, too many hours in the office and away from home/nature, clutter

> things that move me toward a thicker life: creating stuff (you’ll learn that I’m a maker), using my hands/body, being outdoors, enjoying people, worship/prayer/journaling

Though the phrase “thicker life” didn’t make the cut for a domain name, it’s the goal of my “lab experiments” toward more simple living. My “thinness of soul” list is like a target, and my lab experiments are my attempts to systematically destroy them.

So if you, too, feel like you’re sick of looking at screens (and yet, perversely, can’t look away. Damn you, Internet!), let’s work on that. If you sense deep in your heart that making things from scratch would be infinitely more satisfying than buying them, let’s work on that. If you’re working too much, dear God let’s work on that.

Because I’ve been attracted to simple living for a long time, I’ve already developed several “formulas” that’ve worked for me for these things. But there’s still a long way to go, which is good because I enjoy the challenge, and it gives us something to keep trying and talking about together.

Try it: Make your own thin/thick list

To conclude, I have something for you to do: Make your own thin/thick list. Type up your list on your phone, or scratch it out on paper. Then share what’s on your list with me. I’m particularly interested in ideas that are different than mine, so comment below or tag me on Instagram.

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