Simplify, simplify, simplify

Soft sweep of sideways raspberry plants

Good evening.  Dinner is finished and the driveway plowed.  Light still illuminates our fair land, an impossible feat at this hour over a month ago.  It won’t be really dark until some time after 7 p.m.

I wandered downstairs to meditate a few minutes ago but couldn’t quit thinking about tonight’s blog.  The words kept crowding around in my mind saying, “Write this!”  “No, write this!”  “Please can’t we stop meditating and just go write?”  “Please, can’t we meditate later?”

So up the green-carpeted circular stairway I crept, careful not to wake Barry after his long hours of plowing the driveway.  He’s taking an after-dinner nap.

Simple. Bare plant bones.

The words voted and decided they wanted to talk about simplifying.  (I am helpless when it’s a unanimous vote and simply must provide the typing fingers.)

Have any of you thought of simplifying your life lately?  Of determining whether your energy and deepest desires match?  And, if discovering they no longer seem quite accurate, attempting to determine what old habits, actions, ideas and thoughts need to be released…and which new ones might be cultivated?

Still life on snow.

I’ve been carving much more space in my days the last week.  Not on the computer too much.  Not checking email, blog, Facebook excessively.  Not playing computer card games way too much.  Giving myself long stretches of time to contemplate, reflect, create, dream, meditate, pray and ponder.

Ahhh…this feels so very good.  Right.  The deepest inner voice says “simplify” and lately it’s been possible to listen.  And to carve space.

Duet in flower and stem

Have you heard that when we multi-task we think we’re being more efficient?  When in actuality, we’re not.  As we attempt to do this and that, and that and this, and this, too…our attention diffuses.  We aren’t really present for anything.  We’re fragmented. We’re going through the motions but we’re not really completely there.

We’re not there in the kitchen drinking the juice.  (We’re thinking about something that happened yesterday.)  We’re not truly listening to our friend (We’re thinking about what we’re going to say next.)  We’re brushing our teeth and stoking the fire at the same time.  We’re putting on our boots and packing lunch almost simultaneously.  We’re going fast, fast, fast…with way too many ingredients diluting our experience.

Sideways stem.

A couple of weeks ago I took a good hard look at all the ways I wasted energy.  Diluted experience.  Refused to be present.  Rushed too much.  And decided to retreat from so much busy-ness. (A lot of it was internal busy-ness.)

I cut back on commitments and groups and time-wasting activities.  And it feels so darn good.  Already creativity and newness is accelerating, zinging up, itching to express itself.

Bell of Queen Anne's Lace

Any one else experienced the same thing?  Any one else cleaned a closet, determined a new course of action, decided to simplify?  Any one else feeling more present in your life, more content?

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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33 Responses to Simplify, simplify, simplify

  1. elisa says:

    YES!! And, I just read this the other day(http://www.hermitary.com/thatch/?p=869 ), and it’s been swirling rationally around all of those other ‘pressing’ yanks that the mind is attempting to insist is NOW and is sort of now, but is really a now reoccurring.

  2. Kathy says:

    Elisa, good article about the difference between minimalism and simplicity. YES! Simplicity really doesn’t lose anything…if I’m saying this right at all…it’s more like we gain everything. Hmmm, better shut up before I dig myself in a hole, LOL. I like the concept of a reoccurring now. Hope all is going well with you.

  3. bjspring says:

    I like your philosophy and your photography.

  4. Kathy – This blog sings to my heart because I live simplicity. I have very few things — very few things, indeed. I crave and thrive in space with nothing in it. Recently my husband (saver) and I (thrower) had a discussion where he asked, “Why are you so adamant about not having stuff?” I explained that it affronts my ZENsibilities.

  5. Dawn says:

    Read an article this week, possibly even yesterday, somewhere, about this very topic. About sorting out what is urgent and important v.s. urgent and not important, v.s. not urgent and important…you get it. And throwing out the relationships, tasks, things that are not urgent AND important or at least Important! Not sure this last sentence made sense…but you know what I mean. Also read one on cleaning out closets which I desperately need to do.

    The closest I have come to feeling like I simplified was when I quit my very stressful banking job to go back to grad school and become a librarian. Now my life is even more simple as I don’t do either! So you’d think I’d have time to get that closet emptied!

    Loved the duet plant photo.

  6. Your blog reminds me to breathe today.

  7. Fountainpen says:

    Kathy and all: About yixing teapots… (pronounced “YEESHING”). There are hundreds available….check Plymouth Tea Company:yixing teapots for a lovely one: MODERNE is the name….
    or check Ebay many…or just type into Google: yixing teapots….you will be amazed at the variety….

    They are made of a black clay from only one place in China…..they hold the heat of the tea water so wonderfully….and they are lovely, just lovely, and not heavy at all…..I like the simple classic styles best of all…..

    Copied info:
    A Yixing (‘yeeshing’) teapot is the brewing vessel of choice for the tea connoisseur. Made of a unique, mineral-rich clay found only in the Yixing province of China, their use dates back to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). These pots are very durable and can withstand the rigors of daily use. Natural oils from tea are absorbed with each brewing, “seasoning” the pot and intensifying its color and finish.

    Happy Googling for YIXING TEAPOTS….!!!!

    Fountainpen…..

    Home > Teaware > Teapots > “Moderne” Yixing Teapot
    “Moderne” Yixing Teapot
    A Yixing (‘yeeshing’) teapot is the brewing vessel of choice for the tea connoisseur. Made of a unique, mineral-rich clay found only in the Yixing province of China, their use dates back to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). These pots are very durable and can withstand the rigors of daily use. Natural oils from tea are absorbed with each brewing, “seasoning” the pot and intensifying its color and finish.

    6.5 x 3 inches
    (14oz) capacity.

  8. amy says:

    beautiful images…I can feel the depth to the shadows in the snow around the plants and twigs…again, I enjoy your thoughts for the day

  9. Cindy Lou says:

    Beautifully simple thoughts and photos….love the last one of the Queen Anne’s.

    Being a lifelong tea drinker (love the smell of coffee, but can’t drink it) I’m excited by the yixing teapots. Can’t wait to explore about them!

    • Fountainpen says:

      Cindy Lou: I need to clarify that yixing teapots are only for STEEPING
      tea after you have put boiling water into it…If you were to put the pot directly onto a burner, the pot would break immediately because it is make of clay……

      Also, if you do get one, and there are literally hundreds and hundreds available, please “cure” it before first use….Look up on Google how to prepare an yixing teapot before first use……it is a relatively process and they recommend doing it….

      Good luck….I will be eager to see if you like the one that Plymouth Tea company offers…..Many many other tea companies offer them. or just type into Google: yixing teapots…..and like magic….you find many many!!!!
      Fountainpen

  10. Simplify…it’s on my To Do List. Honest!

    An excellent post, Kathy. During my blog’s last photo assignment. Isa from Switzerland shared something I think you would enjoy seeing and knowing about. Here’s the link: http://isathreadsoflife.wordpress.com/2010/02/01/simplicity/

    Your photos are beautiful and simple.

  11. quietpaths says:

    Fundamental and important stuff for our immediate lives. I love how you present it all out so peacefully.

  12. Jane says:

    I think achieving simplicity is one of those states that one never truly “reaches” unless they’re living under sand. I’ve been working on this one for the past 10 years or so and have come to find that I can’t quite get there %100, just by the nature of living in this world and the ever changing relationships I have with it. I sure enjoy those blocks of time when the syncronicity of simplicity is present though.

    Great post to get us thinking, Kathy.

    PS. Saw the pic of your hubbys fishing hole/TV in the paper, LOL I think your photography is influencing him, yes?

  13. Susan D. says:

    There is something within me that “forces” me to simplify … seems to be every 2 months or so …. It has to do with cluttered thoughts and runaway mind chatter. Ergo, my spirit requires simple, uncluttered surroundings and lots of silence in between being with folks … I like the “Incredible Lightness of Being” … traveling light … letting stuff and thoughts flow in and promptly back out …. always allowing for new opportunities to come knocking … and being able to discern the wheat from the chaff … not always easy. Thank you for touching on one of my favorite, favorite topics, Kathy Lady. You continue to bless and warm the soul!

  14. aj says:

    hi kathy, enjoyed your article.this is the reason why cheri and i decided to move up here.after years of a stressfull life in cleveland,we decided to get back to nature and lived a simple life.even though we live in the garage,its home. we are very thanksful what we have here…thanks

    p.s.have to go back sat.tell barry,thanks again for the invite to go ice fishing 🙂

  15. kathusitalo says:

    Perfect pairing of pictures for the simplicity theme.

  16. Cindy Lou says:

    Thanx, FP, for the tips… :}

  17. Kathy says:

    Following the theme of simplicity…will just thank all of you for your comments and sharing. Glad you all enjoyed this and offered your own stories and paths on this topic. Blessings to all of you! I–simply–appreciate all of you so much.

  18. Barb says:

    Brain research shows that multitasking – which seems to be the buzz word lately – (along with “thinking outside the box” ) is an anomaly. Sometimes, I write and then cut half the words – it always sounds better to me. Maybe a whole life could be lived that way? Good Luck!

    • Kathy says:

      Barb, you write simple beautiful words on your blogs. I admire people who do that. Sometimes I wonder if I write so many words because I type so fast. I type like lightening, LOL. But truly, it’s because it’s so easy to get lost in the words, in love with them, watching them hatch and sprout like little green plants pushing up through spring earth. A whole life lived simply sounds magnificent. To me, what makes something simple, is the attention we give it. Our full and complete presence with what comes up…simple joy.

  19. Kathy, I am so happy Scott brought you to my blog and me to you 🙂 Merci Scott ! I love everything I read and saw here. The images blend in so well with simplicity. Less is beautiful, they say. Your thoughts about being present just where you are, doing one thing at a time sound so gooood to me. They comfort me in my resolution to live more simply and take more time to do it. Thank you for this wonderful post, Kathy.

    • Kathy says:

      We are both indebted to Scott! I love your blog. Have been pondering the word “simplicity” a lot in the last few days. What it really means to me. Just doing one thing at a time, bringing full attention to it, not adding uneeded or unnecessary items or commitment…that seems to be key for me. Let’s visit each other often! You live in such a beautiful beautiful place…

  20. Erica Hostetler says:

    Nice little site. I’m having fun exploring your blogs and really like your photography. I just started my own blog last month and am learning a lot. And of course my attention was grabbed by your title and the promise of getting a million hits. It made me smile…of course that would grab any reader. I’ll be reading you again.

    • Kathy says:

      Hi, Erica! Thank for for visiting my blog and exploring further than just that zillion blog. (ha ha) I felt like it did get a million hits! So many nice folks stopped by. Good luck with your own blog. It’s fun, isn’t it?

  21. june says:

    I like the way you have done this, and I love putting photography and thoughts together on my blog.

    • Kathy says:

      June, thank you so much. The dance between photography and thoughts can be so fun. Like a waltz or tango. The photos say something and the words say something else. Yet they twirl each other round and round and round.

  22. kylewelch says:

    Thank you. Really. The photos harmonize wonderfully with the words. That’s just the message I needed.

    • Kathy says:

      thank you, Kyle. I think sometimes we have to be nudged back to this message again and again and again. At least I do! This morning just looking at these photos brings back a sense of peace and well-being.

  23. Reggie says:

    Suuuch wise words, Kathy. I can totally relate to this.

    I often find myself torn between the urge to simplify, slow down, be present right here, right now – and the just as strong habits of rushing, wanting to complete all the tasks I set myself, as quickly and yet as perfectly as possible, so that – when the to-do list is ticked off, THEN I can relax and do what I really want to do. 🙂

    I love the simplicity of your images, perfectly underscoring your words. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Reggie, I know just what you mean. We WANT to be present and simplify and slow down…but then there is that Mind that keeps convincing us of what we need to do and why we can’t slow down. I wish, for all of us that we somehow find the balance so we can be aware and present while we are doing. To simply fully relax into that. Blessings, Reggie!

  24. Desiree says:

    wow I never thought of that. I guess multi tasking is better when you don’t want to do what you’re multi tasking! very simple pictures that go perfectly with what the post was about… nice

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