The book that originally planted a seed of downshifting and self sufficiency in my mind was John Seymours Complete Guide to self sufficiency. If you have not read any of John's books, they offer motivation that even in the world today it is possible to make a contribution. His motto( as I recall) was based on the phrase,
one will do what one can doand that has been in my mind ever since. So even if you feel global warming is too much and people tell you that your contribution is worthless, remind yourself that if more people were to do the same........it will add up to a greater impact. To add to that point, the Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell makes a good read.
Wishcraft by Barbara Sher is a book which provides a guide to get you thinking about what exactly you want to do ( however ridiculous the idea may sound) and motivates you to create a plan with steps that you can do now towards your goals. Its a great tool for procrastinators and people who think they have an idea of downshifting for instance and are unsure how they will ever make it a reality.
A great shift for me was to evaluate what my values and beliefs were and to make a commitment to start living in tune with those and prioritise my life accordingly. Needless to say ' money and materialism' had figured at the top of my life before a wake up call of illness. That moment , visible inbalance in the way I lived and worked , gave me the impetus to make changes. What I am trying to get across here is that if you want to downshift because something urges you to inside your being, do not wait until you crash down.
Fear of the unknown is the biggest hurdle to overcome and living without a paycheck also seems difficult. If you chip away at letting go of all the material commitments you have made over the years then slowly you can release and let go. Time really is money .We have reached a point in our downshifting where after decluttering and reducing consumption our house actually is too big and we are ready to live in a smaller house. Don't get me wrong, I love where I live, but reducing our living space is also a step towards reducing our ecological footprint. Its taken 3 years to get to that point but slowly we get there. I had no idea that I had worked hard to get a bigger house to put all my enlarged stuff in it. Just shows.
A good guide to the balance between money and life is Joe Domiguez's book, Your Money or your Life.
Hope that inspires you to go and search more about your own vision. And if you feel inclined to buy these books..check out the library, but if you still want to buy them, you could make a contribution by purchasing them through the berrycottage bookstore in the sidelink. Just a thought.....