P is for Paula Huston

Sections of this topic

    I recommend to you holy simplicity. – St. Francis de Sales

    Paula Huston – an author, professor, wife and mother – wrote the book The Holy Way: Practices for a Simple Life from her experience trying to simplify her life so that she could bring more meaning, peace and spirituality to her life. I enjoyed being with her on this journey as I could relate to many things that she struggled with and appreciated many of the things she chose to change in her life. According to Paula, she identified and experienced these practices which transformed her life.

    Ten ways to bring about holy simplicity

    1. Solitude
    2. Silence
    3. Awareness
    4. Purity
    5. Devotion
    6. Right livelihood
    7. Confidence
    8. Integrity
    9. Generosity
    10. Tranquility

    Meaningful messages I received from these 10 ways

    I’ve had to anchor myself in a single, central reality – my longing for God – and allow everything else to arrange itself accordingly.

    Most of the clutter turns out to be internal verses external clutter, a result of the kind of person I am rather than the time and place in which I live.

    Spiritual life is under the public eye, yet somehow people must manage to withdraw into the private chamber of the heart in order to meet God.

    Simple does not mean easy.

    Solitude allows us to make room for the blessed and the transformative experience of being alone with God. Around this key we can build a unified life.

    Unless we go silent, we cannot hear his voice within us, which is so very still and small that it can be muffled by a stray thought.

    If we are to live simply, our choices must be deliberate ones.

    My wantings were a constant interruption to my concentration. Each time a desire rose, I had to intentionally deal with it – and this was taking literally hours out of my days.

    The quality of prayer has to do with the inner disposition of the mind and heart.

    When we find God, what we see is what was normally hidden: we see that we are not alone at all, but, in joining worshipfully together with our fellow human beings, we have become the very dwelling place of God.

    Cutting schedules, withdrawing from committees, skipping classes turning down opportunities; this is extremely uncomfortable business, especially in the eyes of the world. “I was slowly, deliberately, giving up my place in the center of things, my spot in the busy hub.”

    The life of holy simplicity is a life lived against the natural flow of things, a deliberate departure from business as usual.

    “It was not that the world grew small, but my heart was enlarged.” – St. Gregory

    It all comes back to love – God’s great love.


    For more resources, see our Library topic Spirituality in the Workplace.


    Janae Bower is an inspirational speaker, award-winning author and training consultant. She founded Finding IT, a company that specializes in personal and professional development getting to the heart of what matters most. She started Project GratOtude, a movement to increase gratitude in people’s lives.