Whether we are ready or not, the cycles of nature and nature’s rhythms can lead us to re-examine certain aspects of our (increasingly complex) lives. One such change in rhythm is the gradual transition from autumn to winter (at least in the northern hemisphere). The days tend to get shorter and we begin to retreat indoors after having enjoyed the long daylight hours of summer. As the seasons change, the opportunity arises to ask the question – how do we prepare for what is ahead? I have been lately asking the question – how do I reduce the complexity in my daily life and return to more of simplicity?
One place to begin to answer this question is to examine the areas of my life that are unnecessarily complex. How much technology do I really need in my life? I was shopping for a cooking range and my seaarch yielded a ‘smart range’. Do I really need something that (mostly) cooks rice and vegetables, and boils water for pasta, to be equipped with WiFi?! I deem that as unnecessary complexity. Do I really need my new car to have five to seven different ‘safety’ technologies to beep at me, apply brakes and even steer the car for me as I change lanes without signaling? I am not sure. The list goes on, but you get the idea. If we let it, complexity will take over our lives as surely as the leaves fall when autumn comes.
So, what are some alternatives to reduce complexity? Consider this. We can choose (to return to) simplicity in the (most) important areas of our lives. First, we get to choose, to identify the (most) important areas. Then we identify the (unnecessary) complexities in that life area, and either reduce them or eliminate them. For example, consider the important area of food. Do you (mostly) live to eat, or do you eat to live? Open your refrigerator or your pantry? What does it look like? Can you simplify his aspect of your life?
Another (important) area that can use reduction in life-complexity is our ‘mental’ food intake. Every piece of information that we ingest has the ability to influence our thoughts, and requires mental energy to process. How much ‘information’ and from how many ‘sources’ do we really need in our daily life? Are we at risk of creating inordinate mental complexity for ourselves due to our constant ‘junk food’ like information intake habits? Is that why the levels of stress and anxiety across many of society’s demographics are approaching all-time highs?
I hope you get the idea. I only touched on life-complexity, as related to our physical and mental ‘intake’ patterns above. As we identify the complex patterns that we would like to change, adjust or maybe even eliminate, we create internal awareness. The next time we have to make a decision or a choice in that life area, we can make a better-informed decision. How much ‘smarts’ do I really need in that cooking range?!
As we make better decisions, which may coincide with a return towards simplicity, we will find that we create time and space for ourselves. We may ‘discover’ time for the activities that we have been meaning-to or wanting-to do for a while. Time for ctivities like (daily) writing, exercise, reading, meditation, slow cooking, calling (on) people and listening, taking a nap in the mid-afternoon on a rainy Saturday, and much more.
There are many gifts that returning to simplicity can return to us. Who knows? They may be some of the most important gifts that we give to ourselves in the coming season.
P.S. Join me and the #SpiritChat community as we explore a return to simplicity – Sunday, November 5th at 9amEST / 2pm UTC / 7:30pm IST on twitter. Please note that due to the one hour time change (USA ‘falls back’ to ‘standard’ time!), the chat may occur an hour later than usual in your time zone. Namaste.