A simple life is mindful. It’s meaningful because you notice the beauty in the details, in the basics, in the moment. To cultivate the power of simplicity you need to observe, absorb and assimilate. Then simplicity becomes an integral part of your life.
The little leaf that could
Years ago, I sat at the edge of a sandpile in Central Park in New York City. On the ground I saw an inch-high sprout with two broad leaves emerging energetically from the sand.
Looking upward, I noticed that I was sitting beneath a giant tree – very old, very wise – which had dropped the seedling in a place it could grow. I got the message.
We are each “dropped” from Tao, the All-That-Is, in a place in which we may grow. I’m not sure the sprout at the edge of the sandpile in Central Park made it for very much longer, but I’ve been lucky to be planted in places in which I can grow, if not thrive.
For me, the power of simplicity can be observed in our relationships with our natural surroundings.
The clouds have a mission
I love the clouds in the Midwest. They’re expressive and dynamic. Their simplicity offers meaningful life lessons. Clouds float. They change shape. Sometimes they carry rain, sometimes they just lounge around in the sky. What a powerful lesson that is – to just allow life to unfold. Just be where you are, do whatever shows up to do, and float through the afternoon.
The wind sings a song
Do you listen to the wind when you walk outside? Sometimes it truly whistles in your ears. Sometimes it brings tears to your eyes. Other times it cools your cheek or rearranges your hair.
That’s a lot for a simple breeze to do. There’s a lot of power in simply showing up.
The night is never silent
And there’s great power in the night. A whole group of animals actively go about their life at night. Insects make cheerful noises. The moon illuminates the landscape. And there you are – simply sitting in the night, listening and feeling and being a part of nature.
Nature is the clue to understanding simplicity
Birds’ feet are adapted so they can hang onto a branch. Animals’ teeth have certain shapes depending on the animals’ diet. Rivers calmly nurture growth along their banks, or spill madly over into the surrounding territory. The cause of flooding is too much rain too rapidly.
Is “not too much” the key to using nature as our guideline to simplicity?
Notice the little things
I think simplicity and mindfulness walk hand in hand. If you see too much, release something. It may be an idea or an object. When you make self-aware choices, you keep close to you the things that are meaningful, that inspire you, that encourage you to move forward or keep going.
Self-aware mindfulness allows you to appreciate the beauty and simplicity and significance of every bite, of each step, of the hug you just exchanged. It’s easy to overlook the power of simple things.
Possessions are not your life
We trade off too much for possessions – our time, our talent, our energy. I watched when, even though she had young children at home, the wife in one household went to work full time in order to move into a yet bigger house. I see the compulsion to own more and newer gadgets. It’s the trade-offs that are made that need to be monitored
There is contentment in simplicity
I’ve had the opportunity to do a lot of things in my life, which is possibly why I can see an opportunity and say, “I did that – or at least a version of that.” I don’t have to do it again – unless it’s something aligned with my passion.
I downsized three times in three years. I’m content where I am now, although I admit I still have too much stuff. The more I release, the more usable space I have. Simple is good.
Notice the little things
I take time to savor the warm body of the cat in my lap and the purring that periodically rumbles through it. I stop my work to listen to the sound of rain beating against my window while I’m warm and cozy indoors. The sunset that is so beautiful that it deserves all of my attention – and gets it. The voices coming from outside in the hall when two friends meet make me smile.
There is peace in simplicity
Sit silently and just “be”. Give yourself time to quieten your thoughts, relax your body and begin to listen. Appreciate where you are – how safe you are, how secure you are. Appreciate your part in achieving this place in your life. Give gratitude for your well-being.
Take steps toward simplicity
There are physical steps to simplicity, like taking out more than you bring in, but I’m speaking of a simple life – a life of mindful self-awareness where much is appreciated.
You have to become more self-aware. You have to take time to appreciate something as small as a seedling in a sandbox. And you want to learn the life lessons that nature offers in her ongoing, never-ending, always-changing cycles.
Go with the flow of nature. Let life come to you. Shape things as they come. Be self-aware. Deepen your spiritual awareness. Choose in the moment of now.
Life is simple – take one step at a time, one choice at a time.
You can do that!
To Sing a Deeper Song consider:
How to Plan in Unfolding Cycles
26-Are You Selfish, Self-Aware or Self-Absorbed?
12- How To Nurture Yourself if You are a Rock
17 – Exploring The Village of Nothingness
We Are Part of a Larger Spiritual Order
You Are All-That-Is
Eliminate the Unnecessary
What Message Are You Modeling?
How Do You Nourish Your Roots
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