Think Simple Now — a moment of clarity

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Simplify Your Life

Photo by Shannon

We’ve been deep-cleaning around the house lately: donating old clothes and getting rid of any extras that have been unused for sometime. In order to create ease with our daily routine, we’ve been simplifying our home and life.

My husband and I have a lot of random items from previous moves that we’ve been unable to shake – mainly sentiment that has spared numerous boxes of trinkets from our childhood or souvenirs from our travels.

But we honestly have no use for any of this stuff. They’re space-takers – they’re extras.

In an effort to simplify our life, we often turn to our material possessions: de-cluttering, donating, and organizing our space to create a sense of calm.


I imagine that one (or more) of the below may be true for each of us:

  • We feel the burden of too much stuff.
  • We bought a material item for temporary happiness.
  • We own big-ticket possessions — the home, the car, or the debt for whatever else — that we spend much of our time and energy working for.

I’m in whole-hearted agreement that the collection of materialism can have a nagging tendency to feel overwhelming at times.

Simplifying, on a life-scale, can seem like a daunting task— but I’m here to offer some good news:

We don’t have to reject all consumerism, move to a remote island, or follow a strict Zen routine in order to experience the inner peace that comes with simple living.

We can start now – this very moment – with all the daily extras we carry around with us.

Beyond physical clutter, most of us carry accumulated stuff with us each day – mentally.

Today, we can start getting rid of those extras:

  • The constant rushing through errands, conversations, and stop lights in order to get to the next moment – that’s extra.
  • The questioning of our intuition and straying from our values for temporary fulfillment – that’s extra.
  • The replaying of our busy, all-consuming to-do list throughout the day – that’s extra.
  • The long-winded lecture that accompanied the request of our significant other to put the toilet seat down – that’s extra.
  • The justifying excuse about why we didn’t fulfill a commitment – that’s extra.
  • The woulda-coulda-shoulda self-talk about the interview for a prospective job that happened a few hours ago – that’s extra.
  • The split attention of back-and-forth text messaging, while playing with our child– that’s extra.
  • The grasping for external diversions to distract us of what needs to be addressed internally – that’s extra.
  • The checking of emails sporadically throughout the day, while supposedly focusing on an important deadline – that’s extra.
  • The saying yes to a commitment, event, project, happy hour, baby shower when our schedule is already overbooked– that’s extra.
  • The all-consuming plan for the future that robs us of what we are doing now – that’s extra.
  • The agonizing over the piece of cake we managed to scarf down (oops!) hours earlier in the day – even that is extra.

We crowd our mind with extras each day – harmful self-talks, incessant worrying, attention-comprising multi-tasking, unnecessary busyness – that muffle the simplicity we can be experiencing right now.

If we did not carry the extras of mental clutter

We could begin to uncover the bliss of inner peace. We could show up, wholly, in everything that we do, deepening our connection to both ourselves and with others because we’re fully present with our attention.

Simply Your Life By Simplifying the Mind

The de-cluttering of a home may appear easier to navigate than the inner-world of mental and emotional clutter. But the two are not so different: just as with our physical world, we can begin to organize our inner-environment by creating space.

Here are a few ideas on where to begin:

  • Listen to your inner wisdom. What is speaking to you about the lack of clarity at this moment? Observe what is asking for your attention – then proceed to address, accept, forgive, or simply let go to create room for clarity.
  • Revisit and reconnect with your values. Discard all the commitments that do not serve your higher intents. Life is too precious to settle for a compromised scheduled; live each day aligned to your purpose.
  • Become aware of a recurring fear-based thought that may create clutter, anxiety or an overwhelming feeling– replace it with an empowering affirmation. For example, perhaps you often worry about tight finances. An affirmation to replace a negative thought of not having enough money could be: “I am prosperous, I am secure, and I am surrounded by an abundance of financial opportunity.”
  • Journal to detoxify on what’s going on inside. Allow the release of emotions onto a piece of paper to become a routine cleansing. Self-awareness is a powerful tool for constant clarity. So often we become stuck in a rut of mental exhaustion because we haven’t given ourselves the opportunity to release. Stay connected with your emotional and mental well-being by integrating journaling into your daily routine.
  • Begin a meditation practice for 20 minutes each day to sweep the mental barriers clean. Meditation is a sanctuary for a busy mind to relax.
  • Account for the overdue commitments, bills, and errands by purging them all onto a calendar with due dates. Many tasks only require a small, dedicated amount of time to complete; yet, it’s often easy to compound the urgency or difficulty by replaying the list over and over.The intent of putting these to-do’s on a calendar is to liberate our attention, and allow us to return to the present.

When we remove all the extras by creating more space…

We will begin to feel the simplicity of living each moment as it is meant to be.

We can freely bask in the awareness of being alive.

We are happier and lighter.

What inner wisdom kicks in for you when you’re faced with a lot to do?

What good habits can you share that cultivate a clutter-free mind that allows for simple living?

What can you do – today — to make space for clarity that will contribute to your well-being?

*Share your thoughts and wisdom with us in the comment section. See you there. :)

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About the author

Cat is a recent corporate escapee, now practicing as a full-time Zen Student. Her home, for the next year or so, is on various meditation cushions in the world.

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11 thoughts on Simplify Your Life

  1. I’m gonna have to share this with my mother…She’s a living example of how clutter of all kinds can stress you out. I’m not guilt-free either; my messy quarters have often caused me to live less-than-optimally.

    Fortunately, there are steps she (and I!) can take to simplify our lives, environments, and minds. Thank you for sharing them!

    Peace and blessings,
    - K

  2. Rahi
    Rahi

    Cat,

    What a wonderful, practical, empowering post! Its so clear and …so simple!! :)

    Thank you for the sharing.

    Love and blessings,
    R~

  3. Tell me about it, checking of emails throughout the day is really a hard habit to break. Been too conditioned to keep checking and responding to emails.

  4. You’re right, we can simplify more simply than we think, by simplifying our thinking. (I like that) If our mind is uncomplicated we’ll feel more spacious and life will flow more simply from that.

  5. I hope lots of people will read this post…

    I’ve been saying that simplicity (vs complex and busy life) is what we need to feel better, to feel more connected.

    Thanks Cat

    “Manifest plainness, embrace simplicity, reduce selfishness, have few desires.” Lao Tzu

  6. Baba Blacksheep

    Consumerism isn’t the problem.Overconsumerism Is.

    Great Article.

    :)

  7. Buchi Reddy B

    Wah.. What an article! I spend lot of my time in something which I don’t really need or like just to keep others happy. But, I should certainly change it to be simple and be relaxed.

    “Life is too precious to settle for a compromised scheduled; live each day aligned to your purpose.”

    I liked this a lot. I have decided not to compromise for any unwanted schedule from right away.

  8. I think in the West we ignore the advice in your excellent article at our peril – too busy, cluttered and chaotic lives can easily lead to stress, exhaustion, poor diet, sleep problems, depression and hypertension.

    It’s easy to say yes to doing more, but even when the ‘more’ is good stuff – like exercising, or spending time with family, we should remember we need to let go of something else in order to ‘find space’ in our lives.

    Doing less = more happiness

    -STEVE-

  9. Loved reading your article! For a lot of people, moving is when they declutter so we pretend we’re moving at least twice a year. It’s amazing what one can collect in such a short time. Our next step is simplifying the mind and living in the moment. Thanks for sharing.

  10. I find that simplifying your mind naturally leads to simplifying everything else in your life. It happened to me: at some point I wanted out of my cluttered life and so the extra stuff started making me feel bad, so I gradually got rid of it. It’s not perfect yet but it’s getting there!!

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