Pursuing Simplicity


(The view from when S and I went hiking on Sunday)

Simplicity is something I’ve been thinking about for a long time.

When I was 16 or 17, I talked to a woman I rarely see but who has known me my whole life. I was just starting to venture out into the dating world, and she offered me a piece of advice: “Keep it simple.”

I thought about it a lot, and still often consider her words.

In high school, I learned to apply the phrase in dating relationships first, as that was the arena in which the concept was introduced to me. I learned to take the things boys did and said at face value, rather than trying to extrapolate meaning or foresee their intentions. To me, keeping it simple meant to not jump in with my whole heart, but to let things unfold slowly.
I carried the advice all the way through my dating career and into my engagement and marriage. I never worried about when S would propose, and went to great lengths to ensure that he never felt pressured to propose within a certain timeframe or in a certain way. I valued and enjoyed every moment and every stage in the relationship. I had learned to keep it simple.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about my day-to-day living. I’ve thought about the foods I eat and the habits in which I engage and the technology I depend on. A lot of it is far from simple.

Prepackaged, processed food is far from simple. A tomato, a carrot, an egg is simple.

My thoughts are ordered but many. I think and I worry. I am one of those people who looks for standards with which to compare myself. That isn’t simple. Accepting and enjoying the here and now is simple.

Netflix and Facebook are not simple. They are easy to use, certainly, but they aren’t even real! It is a collection of words and pictures that exist on the Internet. True human contact – honesty and trust – is simple.

I have kind of assigned a ‘theme’ of simplicity to February.
This month, I’m doing a ‘juice cleanse’. Monday through Friday I am juicing twice a day, at breakfast and dinner, and I juice at least once on the weekend. I’m also eating, of course, because food is delicious, but I’m making an effort to not only be conscious of what I’m eating, but also of what my body is saying. (Am I hungry or am I just bored?)
I’ve also begun meditating. I’m aiming for 3 times a week, especially in this month. I’m doing 20 minutes at a time. All you do is sit comfortably with your spine straight and engaged, and focus on your breathing. When your mind wanders, you bring it back to your breathing. It’s amazing how many thoughts you have in such a short time! My brain is not used to such silence and rest. I feel so refreshed, my focus sharpened, when I finish.
I’m also dedicating one night a week to no phones, computers, Netflix, or movies. Just existing. Additionally, I have deleted the Facebook app from my phone, so I no longer receive instant notifications.

The first week went well. I’m excited to see how I will feel at the end of the month.

Do you do anything to seek out simplicity?

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