Tuesday, May 16, 2006

craving simple

There's something so beautiful about simplicity.

I especially notice this when things are complicated. Take a day -- you wake up, simple -- then everything after that gets away from you. Depending on what's happening, your day can pick up speed like a runaway train with no brakes!! You almost can't wait to crash, cuz at least then you'll be able to stop!!

Sometimes there are different ways to get crazed, which don't necessarily involve speed so much as feeling like you're covered in superglue and everything is sticking to you and you keep picking up more and more layers as you go along, bogging you down, slowing you down.

Other days its like you have amnesia and you simply forget simple and you make everything 50 x harder than it has to be, frustrating yourself, others and piling more and more 'argh' onto what could have been 'aaaah'. You can suffocate yourself with it and not realize until you can't stop sighing out your tension, or feel those muscles clenching in response to your rising stress levels and it dawns on you that you've let go of easy and swapped it out for difficult.

When I start longing, then i start listening, listening to my common sense, which I admit I sorely neglect sometimes. Do you know what i mean? Like its saying to me "HEY! HEY!!! I'm here. Hello?! Why not keep it simple?" Complexity even seeps into my dreams in the form of anxiety, struggling, frustration. Talk about wake up calls! No pun intended. When my dreams are stressful, i know i've got a problem.

When I start feeling like i've got to daydream of a simple ice cream scooping job in order to be able to live with neverending production deadlines, endless stat requests, pressures to churn out complicated volumes with perfection and accuracy. . i find myself longing to bake cranberry scones and brew tea for wonderful imaginary customers. Sometimes i long to hula hoop with my laughing grandchildren in the green of my backyard in the middle of a work day just because i feel like it! Other times its not even daydreaming, but just finding that I not only long to pare my life down but I need to. Pare down all the stuff that's in my house. Use up all the food in the fridge and not waste or throw it out. Not have 5 bottles of hair products in the shower, but just one. Pare down so that I'm only reading 1 book at a time. Pare it all down -- why do i tend to fill up every night of the week? Why not just have one night without a plan? Why do I need to hang onto things i don't use? Why not pare down my thoughts, so I can cope with the multitude of them and have some peace in my noggin - especially at night when i'm trying to sleep. Multitasking!!!!??? Who says this is a good thing?! Half of society does! Women pride themselves on it. Why?!!! Why be so proud about building on layers of cloying responsibility? Why can't I be like my husband who does one thing, does it well and then moves on?! Simple.

Kids are simple. They aren't sophisticated. They don't strive to be a certain way, they're just themselves. I love that. It doesn't take much to impress them. I love that about them too. They laugh easily. They cry the same way. They smile. They dance as soon as they hear music. Kids speak the truth. I'm on my second 'go around' with little children in my life - grandchildren. I love what they teach me, cuz when my daughters were little i may have learned the same things from them; but it seems that i've forgotten and as they grew and became more sophisticated and adult, i became re-complicated again!! The kiddies make me forget everything . . and i just play or read them a story, throw a blanket over myself and 'wooh' like a ghost or cuddle a spike-haired baby doll in a facecloth 'bunting bag' and plant a kiss on its fabric cheek; all of which delight James and Erica to no end and teach me to relax.

My dog reminds me of simple. Sometimes i envy her!!! All she ever has to do is eat, drink, go for lovely walks, run around in the yard chasing squirrels and chipmunks, sniff fire hydrants, get held like a baby and petted and coochie cooed, lay around all day and all night, get treats, steal food from the kiddies' plates and crawl under our bed to hide when all of this gets to be too much for her. Yes, I'm jealous!!!

Well, its now become the simpler time of day. . ahhhhh. . . gotta breathe that in and store enough up to get me through tomorrow!!!! and the next day and the next. . . I have one word cross-stitched onto fabric, in a wooden frame -- it sits on top of my fridge and speaks to me every day -- i think maybe i need one in every room of my house and in both of my cars. . .

the word is "simplify"


Lindsay said...

I hear you! I always wish the constant obligations and responsibilites would just stop for one day - appointments, meetings, deadlines, bills, work, housework, etc. I've noticed since I've started working here is that I am now a slave to the clock. I have a set time that I have to get up, leave, pick up my partner, get to and finish our houses by...time is always of the essence and I'm always rushing around at breakneck speed trying to fit all of these tasks into the small parcels of time I have allotted to them! I have come to appreciate the weekend like never before - I can wake up at 8:30 and who cares? I can laze around in my pajamas until noon and let the kids watch a movie in their underwear and it doesn't matter! I don't have to glance at the clock once from Friday night to Sunday night, I love it!

Kathryn said...

aren't the weekends soooooooo great?!!! I think weekends help us live longer!!! I'm now at a point in my life where I want to retire. . I've been working since i was 17. I'm so tired of it. . its been 27 years now that I've been in the work force. and i STILL have 21 left!!!! EGADS!!! Somebody smack me and tell me that i must retire early!!! that would make things really simple!!

sanityflair said...

i'm gonna be making people jealous and envious here but i'm on holiday now. and it lasts till august 8. and err... i won't be working? eeks. haha. but i don't think simplicity always accompanies the territory of being unoccupied, of not working. i think simplicity has to just being still in the spirit. hmmm. why is that in singapore, we still look at clocks on weekends? :P

Krista said...

I LOVE that word - simplify! I noticed a real need for paring down in my life lately too. Since Yoga is my most recent hobby/passion, I've been looking into the benefits of meditation. I'm reading "Perfect Health" by Deepak Chopra right now, and he tells a story of this stressed-out, widowed Doctor who had been diagnosed with leukemia managing to decrease his white blood cell count by %50 mainly through meditation, and some other Ayurvedic therapies. Very interesting how the body and mind can work together to heal themselves if we only give them the chance to!

Kathryn said...

oh Minwei!!! you lucky girl!!! i'm just a TAD jealous!!! You enjoy your time off!

i like your thoughts on being still in your spirit. . i have been running around way too much lately, not being still at all. .

Krista. . that's so cool about how that man could alter his white blood cell count by breathing and meditation, etc. . the mind and body do work well together if we allow them to!!

simplify. . today i need that word more than ever!!!

*breath out! *

Tee said...

I always try to remember to simplify! The emotion that pushes me to remember that is the same one that often yearns to sell all my wordly belongings and move to a third world country. It sounds crazy to some people but it sounds like living real life to me... I used to want to move to El Salvador (if it weren't for my family here, etc.) - They didn't have cell phones and car insurance. They didn't have 500 channels and gigantic grocery stores. When I went there they had simple markets with simple foods to nourish you. If you wanted to make a phone call, some even had to go to a payphone because they didn't have a phone in the house. If someone called you someone would run to your house and let you know you had a call down at the phone. LOL. Car insurance? HA! Didn't exist - people wouldn't be able to afford it anyway. They had less of everything and yet they were happier. They relaxed in hammocks - hammocks everywhere - outside the house, inside the house, take them with you to tie to something for a day at the beach. People rode in the back of pick up trucks scrunched together and they liked it - they felt the wind blow - they talked to each other.
Things are still like that to some degree in some places, but every time my mother-in-law comes back from vacationing there she comes with stories of how things are getting more and more like here. She saw a woman at the market carrying her wares on her head and talking on a cellphone... So sad!

Kathryn said...

wow, Tee. . i love that life you describe. I do get longings to lead a much simpler life -- my longings used to take the form of living on a farm, baking, growing my own produce, you know? I had this romantic notion of simplicity . .a rosy 1890s dream. . . so out of touch! Oh well, our dreams can be however we want them to be! I do agree that the north american lifestyle is a complicated, stressful and sometimes unhealthy one. .