Why is simple so hard?

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metaphor on the presence of women in society
metaphor on the presence of women in society

I have just three things to teach:

simplicity, patience, and compassion.

These are your greatest treasures.

Simple in actions and in thoughts,

your return to the Source of Being.

Lao Tzu

I can make things complicated. I can create knots in my stomach. I can throw wrenches into gears. I can blow things up. I can stumble and fall. I can choose words of the year like deciduous and  surrender. In my heart, I yearn for simplicity. I yearn for the clarity of a fish swimming off Key West pristine waters. I yearn for the peace of a cat napping with her paws gently placed over her eyes. I yearn for the relief of warm rain. I yearn for the honesty of mile 12 in a half marathon. I yearn for the constancy of old friendships. I yearn for the fleeting moment when the laundry is done. I yearn for the release of making amends. I yearn for the pulse of life to move through my entire body. These things are simple in the truest sense of simple. They stand in direct opposition to knots, wrenches, explosions, and falls.

Why is simple elusive?

Shiny things attract.

I am pulled to shiny things. Shiny things are seldom simple. Shiny things can be more expensive than I can afford. Shiny things can numb the pain but not treat the disease. Shiny things can divert my attention just long enough to forget but not solve. Cost, numbness, and diversion are not simple. My effort to step away from shiny things has been helped by a gratitude practice, an effort to surround myself with people who are not driven by shiny things, and experiences that find their luster in their authenticity and wholeness.

Complicated can be habitual and sexy.

The desire to unlearn the habit of complicating things, and simplify my life, has framed my last few years. It took me a while to learn that I truly can stop making things complicated. Complication is a choice. I don’t have to choose it. My privilege has allowed me to accumulate and ponder and that has made complicating things possible and even sexy. Complication is sexy like the mysterious ex that ghosted you. Complication is sexy in the telling and retelling of our tales. Complication is sexy like the unattainable goal that you set again and again and never really intend to achieve. In many ways, complication is the easy way out.

Simple takes practice.

There is hope in my journey to find simple. Practice makes things possible. Hope is the capacity to be drowning in a mess of complication and choose to breathe. Hope is the knowledge that I do not have to be stuck in whatever pain I might be feeling. Hope is the love of deep connection and honesty. Hope is the joy I feel everyday in my journey to find simple.

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