Longing for Simplicity
“Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious and adding the meaningful.” (John Maeda in The Laws of Simplicity: Design, Technology, Business, Life)
Do you long for simplicity? In the chaos and confusion of overwhelm and overload, do you instinctively know your life wasn’t meant to be this way?
Our bodies crave simplicity. They long for whole foods instead of processed filler. They want activity balanced with rest. When our muscles tense and stomachs ache, our bodies are telling us to satisfy the craving for simplicity.
Our minds seek simplicity too. When our thoughts whirl and our heads pound from decision overload, that’s our clue to slow down, to simplify. A clue most ignore.
Why do we ignore the signal’s our bodies and minds send us as they cry out for simplicity? Do we really believe there’s no way out, no other way to live?
Now consider the soul. As our lives burst with activity and commitment, somewhere deep inside — in the truest part of ourselves — we recognize the lack, the emptiness of it all. We realize that in the overwhelm of life, our souls are underwhelmed because we’ve neglected their care.
While overwhelm and overload happen almost without effort, simplicity only comes through disciplined and deliberate choices. Experience tells me that the motivation for making those choices only comes when my focus falls to my Creator, to his desire for my life. Nothing else works.
I’ve wavered between simplicity and overwhelm. I’ve wanted one but felt trapped in the other. Until my body and mind said, “No more,” and I finally heard my spirit’s “feed me” cry, I lived constantly worn out and depressed.
Then I pursued — and found — a simple life. You can too. How?
- Learn the value of small steps. Educate. Try. Assess. Educate more. Try again and again and again.
- Learn to rest. Develop an appreciation for quietness. Realize that life doesn’t need to constantly be filled with noise and activity.
- Learn to say “No.” A quality “yes” only comes by saying “no.” We just can’t do anything well without letting other things go.
- Learn the value of reading. Scripture first and often. Then, lots of positive and uplifting books that feed and inspire you. Refuse to say, “I can’t.” It’s an excuse to avoid the hard work. Reading trains your mind to think like nothing else can.
- Learn to prioritize. Most decisions involve good, better, or best, not good or bad. Find out what’s most important and make it the most important.
The simple life still comes as a struggle for me, but I’ve tasted it enough to know not to let it go. I’m holding on the best I can, often returning to what brought me there.
Listen to the clues. Slow down. Pursue balance. Step out of the chaos. Feed your soul. Struggle for simplicity. It’s worth the effort.