There is truth in saying that we complicate a lot in modern society. We complicate relationships, situations, thoughts, truth, belief, love, and life. Whether our manifestation of complication is buying, doing, having, saying or exercising too much, there is space to heal and grow.
Here are 5 tangible ways to help simplify your life today...
1. Turn OFF your phone: Not down, not on aeroplane, OFF. There are times when that thing just shouldn't enter a physical space. Try leaving it at home and going for a walk. Try having a nightly curfew, say 9pm. Delete the Facebook application from your phone and promise yourself to only access it on your computer. Put your phone in the cupboard and don't pick it up. Begin with an hour, increase to two, and before you know it you will spend an entire day without it. I know what you're thinking: that's impossible. Well, remember when you were a kid? Those of you over 30 will remember the days when our mums and dads took us on picnics and the phone was left at home, attached to the wall – where it belongs! Want to use your phone for something else? Take your handheld camera with you. Trust me, it will become a fashion again. Lead the way.
2. Move with an intention towards slowness: I have a tendency to rush. In my pitta desire to achieve and cross it off my to-do list I rush and press on and traverse the lines of normal, quiet existence. Slow down sisters and brothers. Right down. Begin with your yoga practice. Try to incorporate a yin, restorative or yoga nidra style of practice into your weekly schedule. If weekly is unrealistic, try to do it monthly, preferably around the time of the full moon. It may also sound crazy, but in an effort to do less, actually scheduling downtime can be of benefit. Figure out what this means to you. Perhaps it is journalling, or a long guided meditation, or getting into your garden and really being there.
3. Be still: I have a pact with myself to sit down and drink cups of tea from one of my favourite cups and saucers every single day. This was my way of honouring the stillness that was available to me while caring for a young and growing energetic family. Those of you on a similar journey will be able to relate, sometimes it takes conscious awareness to sit down while drinking tea, or eating food, or simply just relaxing. There is moving slowly, and then there is sitting completely still. So sit. Go ahead. Sit down and be still. Close your eyes and drop your focus within. Settle your inner gaze to the third eye point and melt into that place of utter peacefulness and quiet. Internal stillness can be mimicked by external stillness. Find that.
4. Smooth talking: I discovered a quote that I loved about speech: Before you speak, think: it is true? Is it helpful? Is it intelligent? Is it necessary? Is it kind? And I liked this, a lot. Every time I spoke out for the next week I took my attention to my fridge where I had copied this quote and accessed my thought. Ok, not every time. But many times I caught myself and pondered. And then I made the best effort I could to simplify speech. When speech is simplified, it becomes more direct, more purposeful and, surprisingly, louder. Rumi is quoted as saying "raise your words, not your voice, it is rain that grows flowers, not thunder". He knew.
5. Make "less is more" your weekly mantra: There is so much stuff we don't need. So much. Just take a look around you. We hold on and pick up and draw tight and carry on and continue collecting and we get full. Absolutely. Drop it. Drop it now. And no, you don't need it. That thing will not make you more or better or fulfilled in yourself. Basically, unless something is broken, you don't need another one. Help decrease landfill and fix as much stuff as you can. Less is more doesn't just include things, but also thoughts, feelings and food. The concept of aparigraha, or grasping, is a poignant one to bring up here and helps to keep us focused on our journey. If you have a question in your mind about whether or not you really need something, close your eyes and imagine how you would feel without it.
I love the following translation of Yoga Sutra 2.7-9 by Geshe Michael Roach and Christie McNally:
“Assailed by what feels good,
we begin to like things.
Assailed by what feels bad,
we begin to dislike things.
Grasping is a thought
that comes all on its own,
even for those who understand,
and then grows even stranger.
Life is a practice, and a journey, so go forward and be gentle with yourself. Try one of these tips at a time. Dedicate your process to simplicity. And on your way, observe, be still and enjoy.
KATE PIPPOS is a mother, lover, yoga instructor, spiritual growth story teller, poet, creator and birth Coach. She lives in Sydney with her ever evolving young family, discovering inspiration in the whisperings of waves that flow through her mind daily. Her mission in life is to cultivate and radiate inner peace, wisdom and compassion so that she can be an inspiration to her children and help build an even more beautiful world. She looks forward to sharing her stories with you, here, there or somewhere, but mostly in the space between our hearts. Follow her here: lovespirityoga.blogspot.com