Is it ever too late to simplify your life?
Technically, no. You should start today.
But practically speaking, there will come a time in all of our lives when we stare into the eye of a storm with one hand holding down the fort and the other distracted by the insignificant clutter and demanding tasks because we’ve put off simplifying one day too long.
It’s that moment when suddenly the world stops you in your tracks and reminds you how little you control. The world hasn’t stopped though and now you have to manage a crisis while managing the consequences of overconsumption, overwhelmed homes and calendars, and the important buried under the immediate and you realize you’re spread too thin.
When the Simple Life Matters Most
Until recently I believed simplifying my life by owning (and wanting) less and being intentional with my priorities was the purpose of my new minimalist lifestyle—that the immediate benefits of less distraction and more margin for what I truly love was the sole purpose.
That was until our family was halted by an all too common storm: cancer. Again. The eye of this storm has fixed itself in our lives indefinitely while permanently burning a hole through normal and routine and safe. It is changing the pattern of life, forever.
When the winds are fierce and the howl is deafening and the rains drench deep to the soul, where fear devastates our happy go lucky existence, simple becomes our breath. Simple is our heartbeat.
Because in the face of cancer there is no margin for distraction or comparison or retail therapy—there is only breath and heartbeat. Life yesterday was normal and today it’s threatened. The lens of life, unaided by fancy electronic gadgets and fashion forward wardrobes, now focuses on the absolutes: Love. Family. Health. Hope.
More Does Not Equal Prepared
When we travel with our young daughters, I am often preoccupied with preparing their carry-on bags with enough snacks and activities to keep them distracted, quiet, and manageable for the duration of the flight. I brainstorm every possible need they may have to ensure I can provide something to appease their fickle desires and inevitably I overwhelm everyone with the overstuffed luggage.
I prepare with the mentality that more will fix everything.
Our lives are full of messages that what we need is more. More money, more clothes, more stamps in our passports, larger homes, more toys…the list goes on. Yet, the message of more hasn’t fulfilled its promise.
More does not equal prepared, but it can equal distracted and overwhelmed and fragile. Buried underneath the weight of debt or clutter or busyness we sacrifice our readiness to take on life’s most ominous forecasts.
A prepared life is unrestricted by possessions and activity. It’s free from the unnecessary for the purpose of intentional readiness.
Simple living is more than creating space and joy in your life; it’s also preparation for life’s inevitable storms that require our full attention. It’s removing the side show of distractions and unnecessary fluff which steals our ability to handle the important and necessary with clarity.
The More of Simplicity
Cancer diagnoses, devastating earthquakes in developing counties, or wildfires and hurricanes are not so subtle reminders that he with the most toys does not win. Our physical possessions are quickly discarded when disaster strikes.
Staring in the face of eternity we know soul deep that our hope is not found in our stuff.
The simple life cultivates hope; it prepares us to see and feel limitless hope. It shows up when doctor appointments don’t have to compete with unfulfilling activities on the calendar. Hope shines when a debt-free lifestyle softens the blow of the pending hospital bills. Hope floats as family and friends rally around not in pity but in support and love because of the relationships nurtured with intention.
The more of simplicity is hope!
And hope is mighty powerful in the face of the unknown. Hope is contagious and abundant when we value a life of simple joys, purposeful community, and authenticity.
Better Late Than Never
It’s never too late for hope. And hope is brewing even in the darkest storm. The storm—the frightening diagnosis or the middle of the night phone call or the bad day on the stock exchange—it may be the warning siren to summon us into a simple life, offering us the opportunity to adjust our focus as we ride out the storm.
The simple life presents us with purpose and resolve and we no longer have to gather up our wits and fight with our reserves. We can fight with everything within and be present in the moment—to give ourselves fully to the storm and let go of the insignificant for the sake of the most important.
Maybe it’s never too late to simplify, but one thing I am more sure of now is that the simple life is more than owning less and less to do.
It’s also putting what’s most important first and crafting a life of margin in preparation for the unknown and inevitable complications of this broken world.
Don’t wait till the storm makes landfall. Simplify now and weather it out with hope and clarity and peace.
Thinking Will Not Overcome Fear but Action Will – W. Clement Stone – http://www.theseeds4life.com/thinking-will-not-overcome-fear-action-will-w-clement-stone
The one thing I learned in my turbulent life was to let go – of everything. I was moved between countries, between homes, between schools and every time all was lost; not only friends and places but also things. My magic boxes full of little insignificant treasures, my clothes, my toys. The first time I was displaced I also lost the person I loved the most, she who was peace and security to me, I never saw her again. I was just about to turn seven.
That was the first time I was displaced; I found myself in a new country without any of my belongings except a teddy-bear and a school-book. I struggled to understand, to fit in, to learn the language, to not be afraid. I locked myself in a shell and lived in a fantasy-world in my head. I was beaten, mocked and un-loved, waiting for the…
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Cherish Every Soul
Every soul is unique, every soul is important. Everyone who reads these words is a special life force here to make a difference. As you honor yourself and your journey, encourage others to walk their own path. We are all creative and therefore we must all have the freedom to create. In this creation is the possibility that every soul recognizes and respects all other souls. When everybody does this, everybody wins.
Identify and remove any inferences of belief based on gender, race, religion, culture, ethnicity, age, sexual preferences, financial status, political views or any other divisive classification. EVERY SOUL is here on a journey. Every soul deserves respect and love and compassion. Set the example within yourself. Then help others recognize when stereotyping or fear-creation occurs. Lightworkers help stimulate a shift in perception.
Who Am I?
Who am I? Who are you? Often times I encounter individuals who seem to be caught up in a life that is not their own. It seems that we tend to sometimes get caught up in a false reality and sometimes we get stuck in that reality to the point where the truth can’t even set us free. The truth of reality.
I recently shared in conversation with a friend who in reality is such a beautiful person, inside and out but fails to see herself that way, I believe due to the false reality that a lot of us have come to know. Television and the internet along with lies, manipulation and deceit have plagued the core of so many individuals nowadays that it is scary. In our minds, I think that based off of the things that we expose ourselves to, we create these fantasy lives that seem to be better than our reality. Sometimes it is better because it is a safe place to be. Trapped in the confines our own thoughts. Not all that glitters is gold, even in our false reality. Even there, things will trigger you to be forced to deal with reality.
So my question is, why don’t we just deal with reality for what it is? Why do we accept everyone else’s opinion about who we are, but don’t accept us for ourselves? When I look in the mirror I see myself, I see a man who has been manipulated and caught up with the ways of the world for far too long but I also see and accept who I really am. I’m broken, I’m a father, I’m a friend etc… I am me.
As a photographer I encounter a lot of self-doubt, insecurities, self-hate, etc from people who I connect with and it saddens me because almost 95 percent of people who I encounter deal with the same issues and I can see the eerie similarities, the ones to where a false reality has stepped in and polluted the reality. Open your mind to the reality that is truth. Not the truth that deems everything to be of the devil, but the truth that is exactly that, the truth. A person living and being controlled by a false reality will never truly find themselves until they accept the truth. The truth is, you are beautiful just as you are.