Talking about simplicity, Leo Babuta, a simplicity blogger and author, puts it beautifully:
“The point of simple living, for me, has got to be:
A soft place to land
A wide margin of error
Room to breathe
Lots of places to find baseline happiness in each and every day.”
While simplicity could mean different things to different people, the way I see it, these five are essentials.
Being true to oneself
Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.Oscar Wilde
Taking the pressure off yourself to be anything other than who you truly are. Such ease in that, isn’t it? Feels free. Sans masks.
It’s extremely hard and complex to pretend to be someone else and force yourself to behave in manners against your inner core. That can get quite exhausting.
In his talk, Dr Wayne Dyer throws some light on what he learned from one of his earliest teachers Abraham Maslow. According to him the three things that separate highly functioning people whom he calls self actualisers , are that:
1. They are independent of the good opinion of others.
2. They are detached from the outcome
3. They are not invested in power or control over others.
Is this what stops us from being who we really are? Are we so heavily invested in what others think and feel about us? Or are we so attached to the outcome that the results become more important than the process and being authentic? Or is it that we want a hold over others?
It’s worth thinking about.
The elimination of ‘drama’ from one’s life
The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.Hans Hofman
This is the letting go of:
* The ‘He said She said’ of life, or what we call gossip,
* The pointing of fingers,
* The keeping up with the Joneses,
* And the unhealthy mental manipulations that as a society we often engage in.
Someone once told me, “You cannot choose the cards dealt to you but you can choose how you play the game.” It surely struck a chord with me at a certain level. While clearly, not everything is always under our control but a lot is. For me this really is about :
* The ATTITUDE I CHOOSE to adopt—is it positive or negative, externally focused or internally focussed? Victim or master?
* The WORDS that come out of my mouth—are they nourishing, encouraging and appreciative or judgement laden, malicious and discouraging?
* The KIND OF PEOPLE I choose to surround myself with—are they in alignment with my core values or does being with them cause me to compromise on my values?
These are all choices I get to make which could either simplify my life or complicate it further.
In the Divergent, author Veronica Roth, mentions:
One Choice, decided your friends.
One Choice, defines your beliefs.
One Choice, determines your loyalties — Forever.
Once choice can transform you.”
So choose wisely.
The acceptance of those who are different from oneself
It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognise, accept, and celebrate those differences.Audre Lorde, Our Dead Behind Us: Poems
This is about attempting to let go of the prejudices and judgements one carries. Sometimes I am successful at this and sometimes I am not. But I am aware and keep trying.
What if, we could genuinely accept differences? It would certainly end a lot of the conflict in our own minds and in our own life.
Underneath it all, we all have the same feelings. Have similar wants, needs, desires and motivations.
There is an exercise I do when a judgement pops into my monkey mind. I imagine myself as that person—their circumstances, culture and the background they grew up in. The experience of life they have had. Their pain. Their hurt. Their conditioning. More often than not, on doing this I find my judgement fading. At the very least an understanding seeps in.
Maybe this is what the essence of empathy is? Possible.
You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.Harper Lee, To Kill a Mocking Bird
Acceptance of the fact that none of us are perfect
Perfectionism is the enemy of happiness. Embrace being perfectly imperfect. Learn from your mistakes and forgive yourself, you’ll be happier. We make mistakes because we are imperfect. Learn from your mistakes, forgive yourself, and keep moving forward.Roy T Bennett, The Light in the Heart
Whoa! What a relief? Isn’t it? Imagine if we could do this for us as well as others in our life. The freedom in it. More often than not we are extremely hard on ourselves and on others in our life.
Continuously strive to be better without worrying about being perfect. There is immense joy in being seen and loved just the way you are. An acceptance. Peace. No games. Simple, right? We all mess up sometimes. It’s ok.
The important thing is that we learn from it. We decide to do better next time. We hold our chin up and lift ourselves up. We smile and try again and give the others in our life the space to do the same.
As Dr. Dyer put it,“You cannot find moving ahead and moving forward by hanging on to what you used to be”. “Don’t hold yourself back,” he says, “unless ‘back’ is where you want to be.”
The joy of wonder and play
The great man is he who does not lose his child’s heart.Mencius
As adults we very often let our childlike heart die. It’s the part of us that:
• Sees the wonder of a beautiful butterfly,
• Enjoys the playfulness of complete abandon with loved ones,
• Revels in the freedom of a genuine heartfelt laugh,
• Savours the simplicity of watching the rain from the windowpane.
This is the part of ourselves that we need, to bring simplicity back in our lives. When was that last time you laughed your heart out?
Author Leo Rosten puts it beautifully, “O, to be sure, we laugh less and play less and wear uncomfortable disguises like adults, but beneath the costume is the child we always are, whose needs are simple, whose daily life is still best described by fairy tales.”
So ask yourself, how can you simplify your life today?