Simplicity: Revisited, and Revised?

Simple, East Coast sunrise. Nothing better.

Simplicity. In the ten years since I started this blog, I have concluded that:

1. Simplicity is not a place. It is a mindset.

2. Simplicity appears, then disappears.

3. It is worth finding again and again.

I’ve been missing this theme. We are no longer “on the road,” and because we are settled and grounded in a “real” house, with a “real” yard with “real” responsibilities, simplicity has eluded me. Eight years ago, I went to work, started making money, felt my ego grow, and allowed myself to become attached. While that was happening, the clutter grew, both in the physical world and in my head. One day I realized I had abandoned “the road to simplicity.”

After traveling around this country, living the free and easy vagabond life, I needed some grounding. It started off fine. Go to work, teach yoga and creativity, listen to life’s many complications and tragedies, empathize and process. Come home, work in the yard, cook food, eat and sleep. It started out simple. Then the road made a hard left turn and I lost my way.

I enjoyed my work, mostly. I was told repeatedly that I brought unique skills to the therapy groups. I was allowed a broad range of possibilities. My creative mind was always busy concocting new experiences for my patients. Yet, in the milieu, there was constant congestion, and confusion, and conflict. Some days I felt as if I was dragging a boat through an endless field of sticky mud. And the demons hovered in the corners with their sarcastic grins, waiting for me to give up. My work world had become extremely complicated, and emotionally draining.

In October of 2019 I did finally give up. The balance had changed. I no longer felt satisfied or appreciated. Simplicity was only a distant memory and I felt its absence. I knew I did not “have to work,” and decided I’d rather do what Voltaire said and “tend my garden.” So, with grace and sadness, I gathered my therapeutic toys and went home. That opened up so many doors! I continued to teach yoga here and there, and wrote a lot, and made stuff and, of course, I worked in the garden. Then there was Covid.

And that was the golden opportunity I had been looking for. Thankfully no one in my immediate circle got “the virus.” Staying home was good for me. I could still teach yoga online. I could still write and grow flowers and vegetables. I could start quilting again. With some lingering sadness over not working, I soon realized that I was actually thriving. My body and mind loved this lifestyle. My soul came alive again. I had found simplicity, or it found me.

That was two years ago and finally the masks are off, people are smiling and making eye contact, and it seems like the world has released a long, soothing collective sigh of relief. For the moment, all is well. Or, well enough to carry on. We found the courage to travel last Fall up to New England, which was fun and interesting and challenging. Now it’s time to go the other way–south, down the coast, through the charming coastal towns where time seems to slow down in rhythm with the tides.

I look forward to sitting by the ocean, listening to the waves and the seagulls and the deep southern accents, while consciously breathing in the salty air and slow paced ambience. Mostly I look forward to feeling my feet in the sand again and remembering to notice those precious moments of simplicity.

Sigh.

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