Life is only as complicated as we choose to make it.
Last week I began to explore the many ways we move far away from the relatively simple things we actually want for our lives. For most people, these include finding love, peace, joy and feeling good. Previously I postulated that as children we instinctively understand this, but as we grow and develop we start to add layers and steps and these things get complicated.
What are some ways in which we can simplify these things again? I have some thoughts on this, but they are a little scattered, so please bear with me.
Let’s talk about love. Love is quite probably one of the most infuriating, ludicrous, surreal concepts we know. When we were children love was simple. As adults, it is this multi-faceted, layered, nuanced thing that frequently makes little to no sense.
The thing of it is, love is not more complicated than it was when we were children. We have simply added complexities to it. When we stop and look at the sky, or play with a dog or cat, or listen to the laughter of children, or participate in that activity that makes us lose all track of time and place, that is love in its most pure, most simple form.
It is really important to note that EVERYBODY deserves love. And more than that, YOU are lovable. You are completely and fully deserving of love, end of story.
For a lot of people that’s a REALLY hard concept to wrap your head around. You’ve had terrible relationships along the way, you’ve been scorned or been accused of scorning someone, you’ve given love but it was not returned. That’s the key right there. You gave love. Even when it is not returned in kind, the act is there, and that’s really huge.
Love is not something to be feared. Love in its most pure form is energy, and we in our most pure form are energy. Everything in the universe at its core is energy. When we see this for what it is, we can more easily feel it in the everyday. It is not the grandiose stuff of romance and passion, it is the simplicity of the sunrise, the flowers blooming, the birds in flight.
That’s far too simple to be realistic. Is it? Children and animals give love freely because it really is that simple. The labels and layers are entirely our own creation. When we recognize that, we can begin to work with love more easily on that simpler level.
Peace? We can find peace when we take more time to just simply breathe. How often do we wake up late, run around the house getting everything we need for the day together, fight traffic on the way to work, put out all the fires at our job, come home and do chores and then see the day has gone?
Find a moment to take a deep breath. A purposeful, deep, cleansing breath. Let it out. Do it again. This can take less than a minute, but this simple act can be so utterly calming and peaceful it can completely reshape a moment, or even a whole day.
We we need to better self-care. What does that mean? We all get so caught up in our responsibilities and needs and requirements and duties and such that we frequently let ourselves go. We eat like crap, neglect exercise and put on flab, we don’t give ourselves time to read or meditate, we push and never just allow time to stop.
When we find peace we find joy. Joy is also a simple idea. It is not a vacation, or a day off work, or fantastic sex with a lover, though joy is found in all these things. Joy is the simple act of allowing ourselves peace, and to simply appreciate art and beauty and the people around us.
All of this is about ways to make ourselves feel good. Because we love to complicate this concept, we frequently neglect how many little things can and do make us feel good. Because we find ourselves looking for the grandiose ideas, we do not allow ourselves to feel good from the simple things.
Examples include eating tasty food, reading a good book, playing a video game, watching a movie, meditating, being with friends and loved ones. Rather than get caught up in all the complicated variations and multi-faceted aspects of this, we need to allow ourselves to just feel good about the tiny, seemingly minute bits that occur every day.
We understood this as children, and we got lost in playing outside or coloring or running around or whatever activity we were doing. Remembering some of that, we can begin to see again that these things still make us feel good.
There is no one true way to do this. But we can all pause when we begin to over-think, over-analyze, and consider the complicated notions of love, peace, joy and things that make us feel good. We can seek the simpler, uncomplicated ideas out, and allow ourselves to accept them and that its more than ok to enjoy them.
In Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist, he wrote about the alchemical idea of the Emerald Tablet. To all intents and purposes, the meaning of life, the universe and everything was written on an emerald. Not a giant emerald, either. And yet those who wish to study alchemy to turn lead into gold and to create the elixir of life write out codes and complex formulas in order to understand something mind-numbingly simple. The main character of the story studies the world around him, and learns that the secret to this is knowing our own hearts, our own minds, our own souls. If you’ve never read this book, I cannot recommend it enough.
My point is, however, that we do not need to give so much energy to complicating our lives. The happier, simpler time has nothing to do with a period in history, it has to do with childhood and the uncomplicated notions of love, peace, joy and feeling good. When we accept that for what it is, we can work to accept that feeling good can be mind-numbingly simple if we let it be.
What simple things make you feel good?
GOAL LOG – Week 37:
Diet: Improving. I continue to mostly avoid sugar, and I am doing better with portioning.
Exercise: Fencing happened twice last week, and I got to the gym twice and did archery.
Writing: One day of writing. Still working to improve on this.
Meditation: I meditated every day last week, for a minimum of at least 4 minutes.
Gratitude: I wrote five things I was grateful for every day last week.
This is the two-hundred forty-seventh entry in my series. These weekly posts are ideas and my personal experiences in walking along the path of life. I share this journey as part of my desire to make a difference in this world along the way.
Thank you for joining me. Feel free to re-blog and share.
The first year of Pathwalking, including some expanded ideas, is available here.
If you enjoy Pathwalking, you may also want to read my Five Easy Steps to Change the World for the Better.