Windows to Wisdom: “Simplify your life. Make room wherever and whenever you can for new ideas, new experiences, new friends, and new experiences.”
Have you ever asked yourself, “What do I really need to be happy?” Most of us live wrapped in a cocoon of material abundance. Even if, and maybe especially if, we think we do not have enough, most of us have everything we need. Perhaps it is our propensity to keep looking and striving for more that makes it impossible for us to appreciate what is right in front of us. The noise in our head blocks the path to our heart.
Many over fifty, particularly women, have fallen on hard times financially. Choices and happenstance, divorce, job loss, medical expenses can pile up to the point where we feel as though we are living in a vice. If we’re not careful, self-pity and despair will become our outlook on life. We may become so focused on what we do not have, on our lack, that we forget to be grateful for all that remains.
Simplifying one’s life in all areas creates space for the “enough” to filter through. Eliminating the longing, the self-pity, the demand we place on ourselves to keep up with our own expectations, opens a window and allows the fresh breezes of a new perspective, a new appreciation for what is right in front of us, to blow in and wash away the debris of the past. Contentment may just be right in front of us, right within reach. We simply need to make room for it.
Simplifying is a process and a practice, not an exercise we do once. To carry the expectation that we can sweep through our lives, strip everything away and walk away free and at peace is an illusion. You see the process of simplifying is both internal and external and one depends on, and supports, the other. It requires changing many thought patterns, habits and behaviors, each one a valuable step in the process. If we do not walk through the process we may find ourselves back where we started in no time.
Wherever you are in the process of simplifying begin there. Even if you’ve already eliminated all the extraneous things in your life that you think you can, take another look. Is there a habit of thought that does not serve you? Is there a book on your book shelf that someone else might benefit from? Push the edges of your comfort zone. It keeps us on our toes, it keeps the air moving within us, it keeps some space for the voice of our hearts to emerge.