Simplicity

Blue in golden field

‘Tis evening.  After a baking humid almost-90 degree day, the earth cools.  A breeze blows in from fair Lake Superior. 

It’s a soft evening.  An evening we dream about in February when thirty inches of snow interfere with walking in the woods.  This is a bath water evening.  An evening when the air feels like bath water.  An evening when we’re warmed to the core.

(OK, some of us are too warm.  Fair enough.  But these precious evenings balance out those ice-cold winds from the north, don’t they?  Let’s bathe in the balance…)

Curled piece of bark on green leaf

I thought a lot about simplicity and peace today.  What it means to declare that one is going to write a blog dedicated to peace & simplicity during the month of August.  (Kathy, what the HECK did you mean?  And how are we going to implement that?  I wish you would send a memo to the rest of us first.  We should have discussed this first.  Where in the world did you get this silly idea?)

Nonetheless, the idea hatched and we shall see it through. 

Here are my thoughts about simplicity and peace:  I don’t think they can mean only One Thing.  Simplicity can mean one thing on Tuesday and something different on Wednesday.  It also depends mightily on the person who is invoking this energy.

For one person, baking bread could be an act of extreme folly.  It could add to a crazed schedule.  It could be simply “one more thing” and not an act of presence, patience, simplicity and nourishment. 

We must listen to our individual hearts to determine what we need to simplify in this day. 

And that simplification and peace could be something which looks way different.  Simplicity to one person could be Simple Abundance.  To another person it could be smelling a flower.  To another person it could be wild & crazy creativity that might look to the world to be chaotic and expansive.

Only our hearts know what simplicity is for us.

The lace of dear Queen Anne

When you hear the word “simplicity” what does it mean to you?  How does it translate into your life?  Does it make you relax?  Have you done anything recently to simplify your own lives?

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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25 Responses to Simplicity

  1. Marianne says:

    This is good timing because I’m on a mission to downsize my belongings. This month and beyond, I’ll be giving things away, taking things to used items stores, throwing stuff away. I want to keep only the necessary items. I’m getting ready for change. Change in what I’ve been doing to something new. I’ve been thinking about peace and simplicity for a long time. Now, is the time to act. However, I’ll have to remember to keep it simple and peaceful while I take action.

  2. Carol says:

    Simplicity is pretty much the life we lead now for me. It’s eating healthy food, prepared simply. It’s enjoying what nature has to offer. It’s enjoying time to sit and watch the birds, the dogs, the chipmunks – whatever might appear in sight. It’s having no deadlines (or very few and none very serious), taking a nap if you feel like it, reading when you want to, going to bed and getting up when you’re ready. Although the getting up with “I’m” ready doesn’t happen yet – it’s more when the girls are ready.

    • Kathy says:

      Sounds like you do live a pretty simple life, Carol. To be able to simply sit and watch birds! To just be present with whatever is appearing. We have lived a simple life, too, for many years…but have been becoming more aware of subtle ways in which I’m still not being as simple and authentic as possible. Something new to learn every single day!

  3. Gorgeous photographs, and delicious words — thank you, Kathy.

    When you hear the word “simplicity” what does it mean to you?
    To me the word “simplicity” means wide open space without “stuff.”

    How does it translate into your life?
    Very little “stuff.”

    Does it make you relax?
    Completely and totally.

    Have you done anything recently to simplify your own lives?
    Yes, I donated “stuff” to a local women’s shelter. They were very happy to receive it and said I could bring more at any time.

    • Kathy says:

      Oh don’t you love having very little “stuff”? Me too! I love, love, love it. Can’t imagine being married to a collector. My dad is a collector…surrounded by treasures. But I like wide open spaces! People feel the peaceful “emptiness” of our house when they come in.

  4. Susan D. says:

    Yes! I like that what is simplicity and peace one day can be something else the next. Lovely.

    There are certain anchors, too, I’ve noticed, that don’t change for me: fresh linen nicely folded in clean closets, the quiet presence of plants, decluttered space, and the consistent ebb and flow of getting rid of to allow space for what’s next…

    And I confess to a love of reading about other people baking bread and cleaning! How odd. Tonight, I will play my guitar and write in my long-neglected “snippets” journal .,..

    Thank you for this sweet August quest …

    • Kathy says:

      Yes! Change every day…and yet there are anchors. I love what you’ve described here, Susan. And both Barry and I said simultaneously, “Susan plays the guitar??” Oh I would love to hear you strumming. And read your snippets journal. Although I suspect that would be very, very private.

  5. Dawn says:

    Simplicity? Hard to do, but always a good goal. I too like what Marianne is doing, seems like a good thing to do for those of us anticipating change…

    • Kathy says:

      Simplicity can be so hard to do. For me, it comes in waves. A desire to let go arises…and oh my goodness, that desire can feel so good. We have brought loads and loads to St. Vinnies in the last month!

  6. Dearest Kathy, We are seranaded by the crickets and locusts on this lovely summer evening.
    In the spring my family moves a table out to the back porch, which is right outside the kitchen. There we take our meals, read the paper, work on writing projects- like book reports for summer reading requirements, and things like that. If someone comes to visit, we often sit out there.
    Something about eating outside, but tucked in to the shelter of the house makes the meals feel simpler. We step out of the warm chaos of the kitchen, out of the calendar emanating things to do, away from the phone- which we don’t answer anyway during meals, and as long as the mosquitoes comply
    we get the pleasure of summer eating outdoors.
    I love this month long meditation on simplicity.

    I took a nap today too. That was such an unusual choice for me, but the day stretched more luxuriously as a result. Reminded me of napping with my sisters as a little kid, my Mom urging us to slip out of our hot clothes and feel the cool sheets for a while. Napping is a simple pleasure.

    Love to you, S
    Remember how meals eaten around a campfire are suddenly so wonderful? Oatmeal never tasted so good? It is a little like that…exotic and quiet…within the perfumed of phlox, rose and fern, summer simplifies meal time for us.

    • Kathy says:

      Suzi, this is so lovely. I love reading your words. We eat outside, too, most nights. We carry our meals out to the deck and sit for an hour in the late afternoon shade and talk and sometimes have a glass of wine or tea and throw corncobs into the woods. There aren’t many bugs up high, not like in the old days, so we’re not inundated by mosquitoes. Especially love your words: within the perfumed of phlox, rose and fern, summer simplifies meal time for us.

      Oh yes. Thank you so much!

  7. Martha Bergin says:

    Your question about what simplicity means to us got me nostalgic for the wonderful questions from Zaadz/Gaia. I feel called to answer, even though your thoughts about simplicity are more than enough for my mind and soul to think about tonight. Over the last few years, simplicity has been for me a concept that gives me permission to seek beauty and pare things down to whatever seems to be their basic components. The notion of simplicity gives me permission to not add to, not acquire, not store away, not get more, but to get less, to forgo, to donate, to give, to release, to let go, to be satisfied, to see the beauty that is already there, to be at peace.

    • Kathy says:

      Yes, Martha, you’re right. Zaadz/Gaia did offer so many interesting questions for us to ponder… I like what you say about paring down to basic components. Your definition of simplicity is exquisite. Thank you so much for sharing…and pointing to the beauty that is already there.

  8. Karma says:

    Love your Queen Anne’s lace photo. The shape looks like an applique for a sewing project.
    Simplicity for me is summertime. My girls and I relax, no hurry here, hurry there, get that homework done. My true simplicity, however, will come for me in a little more than a week’s time: our 1 week vacation renting a cottage on the beach in Maine. I will position myself in a beach chair, breathe in, breathe out and feel serenity fill my soul.

    • Kathy says:

      Hi there, Karma! I have been in love with Queen Anne’s lace this summer. Wanting to get the absolute “perfect” photo, but always not quite finding what seems to want to be expressed. This one did lok like an applique or something.

      Oh, your vacation sounds magnificent! In Maine! Can I come too??? Never mind…will you be blogging about it, or taking a vacation from the computer as well?

      • Karma says:

        I’ll definitely be blogging about it when I get home, but I don’t think I’ll have internet access (except for hubbys iPhone) while we are on vacation – not necessarily a bad thing!

  9. When you hear the word “simplicity” what does it mean to you?
    Keeping things as simple and close to earth as possible.

    How does it translate into your life?
    I try to live this as much as possible, more and more every day. It is amazing how we get so attached to stuff, however I have learned that it certainly gives pleasure that is fleeting. i want to stand for the things that last faith, hope, and love.

    Does it make you relax?
    Most definitely!! It makes me feel at peace and feel Divine Love

    Have you done anything recently to simplify your own lives?
    Clean out cabinets, buy locally, go to farmers markets, seek peace in what I do and love. live in the present not thinking about the past or future.

    Kim

    • Kathy says:

      Kim, that realization that the pleasure “stuff” gives can be so fleeting is such a major realization. To stand for those things that last: faith, hope and love. My heart is melting. That sounds so good…

  10. Robin says:

    Wonderful post with beautiful photos to go with your wonderful words.

    Today I think simplicity means paring down my shopping and cooking because there are only two of us now. I learned to cook in mass quantities, having come from a good-sized family, and now I’m learning how to do it small and simple, suited to us and our tastes (which is, generally, small and simple as well as fresh and healthful). Today I think simplicity means eating a ripe and juicy nectarine from my afternoon snack, a simple salad and some miso soup for dinner. Today I think simplicity means the less fuss, the better. Taking things as Mother Nature intended.

    Tomorrow, though, could be different. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Ripe and juicy nectarine! I am imagining the juices of that orange fruit…and the delicious tast of miso soup. (I cut up a peach today on cereal at work…so yummy.) Good simple food can be so tasty. Especially when eaten with attention. Slowly. Savouring every bite as the juice meanders down our chin…

  11. Colleen Lloyd says:

    Kathy, it has been so interesting, trying to put into words the beauty and the joy of simplicity. Have tried different three times today to comment and each time…delete, delete, delete!! Described the outer circumstances of simplicity in our life. Something was missing. Delete! Went the inner route. Same feeling….something wasn’t feeling right. Delete! Contemplated simplicity a LOT today. Thoroughly enjoyed everyone else’s comments and tried again. Inner stillness and a sense of inner spaciousness…getting closer but still a sense of not really saying what I was struggling, by now, to understand. What is simplicity and what does it mean to me?
    Am now having a good chuckle as I contemplate the irony of all of this. And the great lesson! Not quite a delete, but close 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Colleen, I can relate to what you’re saying here. I spent at least a couple days really thinking about simplicity. It’s almost impossible to articulate it completely…and you think it would be really simple! Isn’t that funny? (Lately all I do is ask questions and look deeper and deeper. Interesting, how we think we know what something is. But maybe we don’t always. I love what the questions are bringing.)

  12. Cindy Lou says:

    So many wise words here….

    For me, simplicity changes with the seasons – summertime and having nothing to do and all day to do it in. Especially before the busy-ness of going back to school soon. My anchors are quietness with a book, a hot sauna, playing in the garden and time outdoors. My soul breathes quietly and oh-so-happily.

    • Kathy says:

      I can imagine the joy of summers for you, Cindy Lou. Your anchors feel so healing and full. A hot sauna sounds good, too! Haven’t been in one of those for at least…maybe?….a year or so.

Thank you for reading. May you be blessed in your life...may you find joy in the simple things...

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