THE MINDFULNESS OF SIMPLICITY
Updated: Jul 21, 2019
“There’s a realisation that each moment is fresh and new…We keep ourselves so busy, talking to ourselves, distancing ourselves… It’s coming back to this basic simplicity of the moment, where you can cultivate appreciation and you can see the world around you in a fresh and uninvolved way.” Pema Chodron
Simplicity. Semplicità. Simplicité. The word sounds so simple and easily rolls off your tongue yet manifesting it in our lives is something that many of us struggle with, me included. I love how as the last resplendent hours of 2014 slip quietly into 2015 (well maybe not so quietly depending upon how you spend your New Year’s Eve!), we will ponder what the year ahead will hold. What New Year’s resolutions will we make (and so often break)? What item will we tick off our bucket list? What new dreams will we embark upon?
There seems to be an increasing trend on social media this year; asking what will your WORD be for 2015? I have always had many dreams for the year ahead but I don’t know that I’ve ever nailed it down to one single, solitary word. As a writer, I love so MANY words…..how could I possibly pick just one? Several immediately sprung to mind but I had to choose just ONE (well I didn’t really have to…but I wanted to) so I decided to meditate on it.
For those of you who have read my previous post on Serendipity and Ordinary Magic, you will know that I believe in signs from the universe, revealing to me what I need to know, and that I have found the best way to tune into those signs is through my meditation practice. So I stopped for a little while and just listened. As we all know, in the frenetic lead up to Christmas, stopping isn’t something we get a lot of time to do. We race from shop to shop trying to secure the ‘perfect’ gift, fly from party to party in a mad race to catch up with friends before the clock strikes midnight on Christmas Eve.
Christmas Day rolls by in a blur of pretty coloured paper, delicious food, lots of laughs and way too much champagne (well it does in my house!) and then there is that sacred day in Australia called Boxing Day. I was only just informed by a friend that Boxing Day isn’t a universal tradition (apparently a lucky legacy of being part of the British Commonwealth!) I thought everybody enjoyed that decadent day to stop and regroup after Christmas; that one day per year where you get to lie around and do WHATEVER you want to do, with no need for cooking as the fridge is overflowing with Christmas leftovers and everyone can just help themselves. My sister spent the day glued to her lounge watching the Boxing Day test cricket, my hubby tinkered away on the Coi pond he is building in our backyard, my gorgeous girls danced their way through cyberspace on their laptops and I perched myself upon the lounge with a 400 page book…..and savoured every mouth-watering word.
Sorry, I have digressed…..oh yes, that’s right I STOPPED and I LISTENED and I realised the signs were all around me for my word. Just before Christmas I had bought myself a book called Simplify Structure Succeed, by Shannah Kennedy, and also bought a Mindfulness journal, the cover of which reads “Wherever you are, be all there” (Jim Elliot). Then yesterday, as I caught up on interesting blog posts I had tucked safely away into my pending file, I came across an interview on American 60 Minutes with Anderson Cooper. He interviewed Jon Kabat-Zinn, a Professor of Medicine at University of Massachusetts Medical School, who created a program called Mindfulness-based stress reduction. This program has been rolled out in hospitals, offices, some schools and even at Google’s head office. Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness as “the awareness that arises through paying attention on purpose in the present moment and non-judgmentally” Anderson Cooper goes on to say, “One of the things that Jon talks about is that everyone wants to figure out how to live longer. Maybe you’re not extending your life (through mindfulness), but you are present and living more of the moments of your life.”
Perhaps by now you’re saying “but I thought your word was Simplicity? So why all the talk about mindfulness?” When I delved more deeply into my perfect word for 2015, I realised that mindfulness was the conduit and simplicity was the intention. We are constantly barraged by the world in which we live. We have taken the concept of multi-tasking to ridiculous heights, to the point that we now struggle to maintain our focus unless we are juggling multiple balls in the air. But just STOP for a minute. Are we really focusing on those six concurrent tasks we are doing? Or are we doing them all imperfectly? I can arrive at work and my morning prior to that moment is a blur. From a cognitive perspective I can recite to you all that I have done from the moment I set foot out of bed until I climbed out of my car at my destination but was I actually present for any or all of it? Not really. How often do you arrive somewhere and go “oh, am I here already?”
So this year, it is my intention to change all that. I want to simplify my life, be more connected and calm, so I don’t miss a precious moment of it. I am striving to find a sense of inner peace. Years ago, I bought a fridge magnet which said “Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.”
I don’t yet have the answers as to how I will exactly do that but check back in with me same time next year and hopefully I will have some answers for you! My year will be about researching and trying out new ways of thinking and doing in order to be more present in my own life. None of us know how long we have to live so can we really afford to waste one precious minute? Happy New Year to you all! I would love to know what your word would be if you chose one.
“Our lives are journeys that nobody can take for us and nobody can spare us from; we have to do it on our own.” Marcel Proust