On Tuesday nights I usually go and watch a spot of telly with my friend Barbara who lives around the corner from me. Recently she downloaded a fascinating Channel 4 series called “Living with the Amish” and both of us are completely hooked on it.
As the title implies, the show follows the events that unfold when a diverse bunch of British teenagers get dropped into life with the Amish in Ohio, America. They have to live by their rules, wear their clothes and do what they do. It is a powerful investigation of how people choose to live, and what really makes people happy.
We live in such an exciting era. People like Tim Ferris and Chris Guillebeau have brought “Lifestyle Design” into the spotlight. Our nine-to-five existences are being questioned. People are starting to investigate different ways of being in the world.
It seems consumerism has left the majority of us feeling hollow and endlessly unsatisfied, and in our search for meaning we are slowly uncovering older ways of doing and being in the world. It is one of the main things I appreciate about being a Sangoma: it has offered me a different framework to live in.
The most striking thing about the show is how deeply all of the British kids are affected by the profound sense of community they experience whilst living with the Amish. They are not alone. When the Amish learn that one of the teenagers has no family and has been living on his own for years, they literally cry for him.
If you have been thinking about living a more minimalist life, if you are interested in really looking at what it means to be content with your own story, I strongly recommend that you watch this very powerful series.