The purpose of the San Diego Voluntary Simplicity Group is to touch people's lives with the ideas of voluntary simplicity and to support them in
Living Simpler Lives: Living more simply may mean getting rid clutter, paring down the number of activities we try to fit into a day, clearing our minds of mental clutter, clarifying our values, taking time to enjoy simple pleasures in life, identifying our passions, living a more balanced life, spending and consuming less, getting out of debt, saving money, taking control of our finances, living in a way that is friendly to the earth or eating lower on the food chain. Individuals define simple living for themselves.
Making Conscious Choices: A simpler life comes as a result of carefully considering the choices we make in all areas of our lives. As we explore our lives through personal reflection and in conversation with others, we tap into our authentic selves and learn how to live more consistent with our values. Once we slow down enough to identify our core values, it becomes easier to shed those parts of our lives that are extraneous and do not bring meaning to life, and to focus on what matters most to us.
Taking Care of the Planet: Many of the choices we make to simplify benefit the environment. For example, when we choose to consume less or spend less, we use less of the world's resources, effectively leaving them "in the ground" for future generations and avoiding the creation of toxic waste that are byproducts of many manufacturing processes. Similarly, when we choose to drive less in order to get more exercise or to spend less money, we cause less pollution in our environment. Living simply is good for the earth.
The first meeting of the San Diego Voluntary Simplicity Group was held in May 1996. We started out small, meeting in a different place each month -- in homes, at the library, and at the park. Suellen Sorenson and Marge Wurgel provided the initial leadership.
In April 1997, the San Diego Voluntary Simplicity Group found a sponsor and a permanent meeting place at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Diego ("First Church"). First Church supports the work of Voluntary Simplicity because Unitarian Universalism supports an open and honest inquiry about life values and respect for each other and the environment. The San Diego Voluntary Simplicity Group currently operates as a task force of the Social Action Committee of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Diego.
We attract people from within the church and many from the broader community. Since its inception, over 350 individuals have attended one or more meetings. Approximately 30 individuals are active members who volunteer their time to coordinate group activities.
The San Diego Voluntary Simplicity Group meets monthly to discuss topics relating to Voluntary Simplicity. We meet the second Monday of every month from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM. See the Get Involved section of this web site for further information about our meetings and how you can participate.
We have explored a variety of topics over the years. For example, living a balanced life, building community, improving our finances, developing personal skills, connecting with the earth, and working for social justice. For a more complete list of topics, see the San Diego Voluntary Simplicity Group Topic History.
In February 2000, the San Diego Voluntary Simplicity Group organized a lecture and workshop on voluntary simplicity featuring Cecile Andrews, a noted author and leader in the voluntary simplicity movement. Over 250 people attended the lecture and conference, funded by grants from the Helen Meyers Forum and the Social Justice Endowment Fund of First Church. The goal of the conference was to inspire individuals to make changes in their personal lives, to consume less, live simpler and more meaningful lives and live with less environmental impact.