(Springtime flowers in Chattanooga)
March is nearly done; April starts the day after tomorrow. Spring is officially here and with the things blooming all around my mind has turned toward thoughts of new beginnings. Humans like to start fresh. January holds a strong appeal with its newness and resolutions and good intentions. While I appreciate the starting of a new year, I like to be reminded of renewal throughout the year. The season’s change is a natural marker for a beginning and is a good time, I think, to reassess.
This year, I did not make New Year’s Resolutions. However, 2015 already seems to have a theme of simplicity, of boiling down. I’ve been letting go of a lot of things this year, and while I’ve picked up new tasks and new projects, I have mostly been stripping things down to the bare bones – finding the minimum of what I truly need.
I’ve incorporated yoga into my everyday life. I’ve begun meditating regularly (what this video for scientific information about how meditation effects the body). I’ve changed my diet. I’ve pursued my hobbies and have built more structure in my days and weeks. I’ve begun regularly cycling through my wardrobe and house, getting rid of more than half of my clothes and many of my possessions. I’ve consciously stopped over-analyzing things and searching myself for answers and meanings and intentions. I’ve spent less time attached to social media and electronic devices, instead spending time in nature, with people, or in a book.
In short, I’ve chosen to care less about things that don’t matter and to refocus my energy on things that do.
Did you know that clutter in your house has been scientifically linked to high stress levels and depression? (It’s real – google it!) It’s no secret that meditation is calming, and we’ve all heard the phrase ‘food is the best medicine’. I’ve begun to see these benefits firsthand. Getting rid of the unnecessary in my life and reordering the important things has awarded me with a deep sense of satisfaction and peace that I’ve never felt before. Not little fleeting moments of peace, but an overall sense of rest, that everything is perfect exactly as it is.
Therein lies the heart of what I’ve learned about simplicity in March: the peace and beauty and art in just being.
I am reminded strongly of a quote I have come to love:
“Now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.” – John Steinbeck, East of Eden (Full disclaimer: I have not read the book.)
Choosing to pursue simplicity felt a lot like giving up at first. Indeed, I did give up – I surrendered to the fact that I will never be perfect. Now, when I look around, I see that everything is good, including my life and myself.