I’ve been in a process of simplifying my life for the last few years. I’ve let go of stuff, careers, people, habits, thoughts and all that overwhelm that used to dominate my everyday life.
I have less of that now, but still, it seems a hunger is awakened in me. A deep deep desire, that I’ve just started to tap into.
I want even less. I want simpler.
I’ve learned to say no. I say no to so much these days, you wouldn’t believe it. Over the last three and a half years, since we decided to leave the city and have our second baby, I’ve said no to speaking gigs, leading workshops, giving sessions, coaching writers, big beautiful book projects; I’ve said no to exciting travels, to parties, to weddings, to hanging out; I’ve said no to buying new clothes, to renovating the kitchen, to shiny magazines, to television, to social media.
Honestly, sometimes it amazes me that there’s anything left. But there is. There’s plenty. The more I let go of, the clearer one thing becomes to me. I talked to a friend about it the other day. I said:
I’m slowly realizing exactly how little that fits into a human life.
She smiled a hesitant smile. What a depressing thought. But I don’t feel that way. I find it earth-shattering, mind-boggling, radical. But not depressing. It goes against everything we learn growing up in this culture. You can have it all. You can do it all. You deserve it all. If only you learn how to – multi task, become more stress resilient, manage your time, make the money, put in the hours, shape up, become leaner, faster – you can have it all.
It’s not true.
I don’t believe that anymore. The more of the noise, the distractions and the man-made obligations I remove from my own life, the clearer it becomes:
If we are to experience our life, and what we do in our days, fully, wholeheartedly, we can only ever do one thing at a time.
And the things that are truly important to us claim almost all the time and space we have available. Family, love, home, our work, play and expression.
Even that’s a full plate. Even from that short list, some things will have to give during certain periods of your life. If you or your kid becomes ill, maybe that’s all that fits for a long time. If you’re starting your own business from scratch, maybe that’s all you’ll be doing for the next two years.
I’m retreating further and further away from the pace dictated as normal by our current culture. It’s nothing normal about it. It’s destructive. Anyone who can read statistics know this.
People are crumbling under the pressure, and medicating or learning a few stress reducing techniques won’t make a bit of a difference, if we’re doing it with the purpose of getting ourselves back in the game.
So very few of us fit in that game.
I’m not in it anymore. I can’t. I won’t. I look at it from a far and I marvel at the madness. What are we doing to ourselves? What are we doing to our children?
I just want less.
I want simpler.
If that makes me a person who’s out of synch with her own time, so be it. I want heart-time, not clock-time. My body craves a different rythm. Love asks for my full presence. My creativity demands deeper immersion, stronger focus, in order to open the faucets and flow.
None of that multitasking, strategizing, optimizing.
Just less of everything.
Just space. Space for a life lived consciously. Feet walking this marvel of an earth and truly touching her with every footstep. Truly making love to the atmosphere with every breath entering this body. The impossible softness of a puppy’s fur. The ancient heaving of branches in the wind. Tears flowing. Because it’s all just too beautiful.
I don’t even know how to make it through a day in my life and not be floored, in bewildered awe, by the mystery of my very existance.
Should I need to add something more to that? Improve that?
I’m retreating from the crazy and as I do, I’m getting ever closer to the heart of things. It’s pulsating heavily, rythmically, beneath my feet. I can feel it now, in a way I never have before. It reverberates through my whole body.
Come just a little closer, and you’ll feel it too. Through the tips of our fingers as they touch, as our hearts synch to a new rythm.