Why is simplicity so difficult?
We live in a culture that thrives on doing and accumulating. Removing ourselves from this reality is not easy. Choosing simplicity is counter-cultural.
First, we are social beings and like to feel connected to others. When others are engaged in faster-paced lifestyles it can be hard to disconnect; we can feel isolated.
Time can feel like an enemy of simplicity, as well. With all the to do's in our lives, there doesn't ever seem to be enough time. Our entire human-created schedule puts work at the forefront of how we spend most of our days with a tiny slice left to do everything else; we get the bonus of a couple of days "off."
Another obstacle in releasing our hold on the cultural demands is money. We all need it (hence those five devotional days to the god called Work). Even if we minimize what we must have to a trunk load of essentials, we still need a place to rest that trunk (and ourselves, of course) and food to keep us alive.
Simplicity, however, can be something we strive toward. It can make room for more joyful social connections as well as bring mindfulness to how we spend our time and money.
Simplicity begins with choices.
We constantly make choices, but rarely do we infuse them with consciousness. We usually move through the day with the same doings of the day before and thus end up with the same life. Many of us complain about it, but don't take the time to change what we do.
Simplicity can be a matter of deciding what we don't want in our lives and slowly eliminating them. Begin with a purge of material objects that no longer serve you. Take an extra trunk load to the nearest thrift store, or donate it to a women and children's shelter.
Getting rid of things that you no longer need is good practice for releasing relationships that are toxic. This is simpler than it seems. Stop sending Christmas cards to everyone, forget a few birthdays here and there and start screening all of your calls. This may sound cold, but is a toxic relationship good for anyone? The bottom line is that relationships that are not healthy actually drain our time, sometimes our money and add a heavy weight on our souls.
When we release the "extra" relationships in our lives that aren't serving us, we make room for more heart centered relationships with the people we love. We also create space for new, healthy relationships to grow.
Take time back! Remember how you spend your time is ultimately up to you. It is your choice to feel guilty about what you do or don't do with your time. How do you want to spend each day?
Whether you choose to work less or eliminate expenses, both can lead to a simpler, more fulfilling life. What if you created a list of essentials? Real essentials.
When you think of essentials, think of your essence. What aligns with the essence of who you are?
Do you need to have 235 channels to watch? Do you need the big SUV with its trunk load of expenses? Do you really need your credit cards? For that matter, do you need to pay them off so you can keep your good credit? Do you need good credit?
Letting go can feel frightening, but can also be a great relief.
Can you hear your heart sigh?
Detachment certainly takes practice, so start small and work your way toward the "biggies."
Know there are no have to's in cultivating a life of simplicity. Only choices. And, believe it or not, choosing simplicity can be simpler than you think.