Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Simplicity and Purpose

“Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify, simplify! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb-nail.”   

Thoreau, Henry David

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

Leonardo da Vinci

The simplest things are often the truest.

Richard Bach

I’m going to try again.  I tried writing a blog, but I didn’t like where it was going.  Maybe I’ll go back to it or maybe I’ll delete it.  It’s been an emotionally trying day, but at the end of it I made a good decision to go home early and not go out.  I’m glad I did.  I think it’s important to take care of oneself, especially when going through difficulties.  And when aren’t we going through difficulties?
The problem often is we go through difficulties without taking care of ourselves.  Or the way we take care of ourselves is not appropriate.  We eat the wrong foods, watch too much television, don’t get enough sleep and smoke or drink too much.
For me there are several ways of taking care of myself.
·      Meditation
·      Studying
·      Prayer
·      Exercise
·      Spending time with people I love
·      Writing
·      Reading

And, yes, I take in the occasional movie, TV show or a stack of comic books with a big bowl of popcorn.  I laugh with my daughters or I think about my house on the beach.  I play an online game.  And I try to do at least one of these things every day, because life can be stressful every day.
For a country that spends so much time and money on leisure, most people I know don’t seem very relaxed.  Tonight I had a chance to go to a meeting and see some friends, but I knew the meeting would be intense because that is the nature of these get-togethers.  I didn’t want intense.  And I didn’t want to make the long drive.  So I went home.  I took care of myself.  I started writing.  I meditated.  I put on some restful music.  I worked on this blog.  All of these things are far more relaxing than my original plans. 
“Simplify.  Simplify. Simplify,” said Thoreau. 
I see nothing wrong with this.  There is a whole cottage industry based on the idea of simplification, including books and magazines.  I think it’s important to not only simplify one’s physical environment, but also one’s emotional environment.  I have trouble with the physical environment sometimes.  My car is usually a mess and I know I have way too many things.  I am, however, getting better at simplifying my emotional environment.  Here’s how I’m doing it or have done it:
·      I don’t hold on too tightly to possessions.  I have a lot of things, but I could easily get rid of or give away most things I own without a second thought. 
·      I try to keep my commitments.  Commitments create clarity and clarity creates simplicity.
·      I try not to make too many commitments by saying “no” more often.  I did this the other day and it felt like a weight was lifted from my shoulders.  More accurately, it felt like the weight had never been put on my shoulders in the first place.
·      I write down my goals and keep them in front of me (literally).
·      I work on self-improvement because my shortcomings complicate my life.
·      I forgive.
·      I practice gratitude.
·      I do what I love.
·      I enjoy what I have without needing to buy more.

A good friend once said, “Life is not complicated.” 
Yesterday my oldest daughter said the same thing. 
I think most of us choose to make life complicated.  I’m trying to simplify it so I can stay in my Purpose.  It’s also interesting how the ideas to Get Started and to Keep Going are incredibly simple.  They can’t be any simpler or clearer than that.