Simplicity, as a way of being, goes way beyond making dinner in six ingredients or less. It is more than consolidating errands or cutting back on spending. And it is deeper than limiting the number of invitations given to a birthday party or reducing the size of the front yard flower bed. While these ideas are helpful in the short term, they do little to reduce the stress levels of an overly complicated way of living in the bigger picture of life.
Certainly do make those changes as you journey toward a more simplified lifestyle. However, as you embark upon the adventure of disentangling the complex minutes, hours, and days that make up your life, remember that the keys to achieving personal goals can only be found deep within yourself.
A common characteristic of people (no one group in particular, just a basic human trait) is the interminable need to control. We have an insatiable desire to exert our own control over others, over the community, over nature…everything. The best thing we can do with that need?
Let it go.
Every morning when I wake up, I check my e-mail on my very fun little smartphone, and I read my own personalized note that comes from the Universe itself (sign up to receive yours at www.tut.com – always fun and entertaining to read, and more often than not, also thought-provoking). A part of my note the other day said, “Only in hindsight will the miracles become obvious.”
Isn’t that exactly right? It certainly is for me. All of the bumps and twists in the road along this journey of life have amounted to precisely that…miracles, both small and large. Think about it…the hardest, toughest, most heart-wrenching and difficult situations to navigate in life are the very same situations that have opened up doorways to new, tremendous, golden opportunities. Could I see that as I passed through those tough times?
No, not at all.
And the worst moments within those times were a direct result of my own need to try and control those situations. Things just don’t work like that.
As John Steinbeck said, “A journey is like a marriage…the certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.”
As you search your soul for direction on your simplification journey, it is important to recognize exactly where you fall on the “Need for Control” Spectrum. Once you recognize where you fall, think hard about all of those specific situations which you are trying to control on some level. And then come to a mutual understanding with this statement:
The only thing you have control over is yourself.
That’s it, plain and simple. The internal recognition of this fact has the potential to bring an overwhelming semblance of simplicity to your life. By letting go of the perpetually overbearing need to control anything other than yourself, you are giving the gift of time and peace to your mind and your soul.
The decisions you make will be based in ensuring that you maintain control over your own actions, reactions, words, and thoughts.
If everyone on earth were to be so responsible, the miracles found within a simplified lifestyle would never cease.