It has been an interesting week on my own while Ryan is in New York City showcasing his art. I’ve kept myself busy reading books, preparing for an appetizer and wine party and opening the door to strangers, followed by an anxiety filled slumber. Needless to say, I’ve kept it interesting.
Last night I finished the book Simple Prosperity, by David Hann. Originally I was drawn to this book from the Millionaire Mommy Next Door Blog, where Hann shared his perspective on what simple prosperity is not “about what we give up, but what we get back when we let all the junk go: the distraction, dysfunction, depression, corruption, pollution, doubt, debt, shame, stress, guilt, cruelty, and all the rest. If we actively re-prioritize our personal lives and also participate in getting our culture back on track, we’ll re-locate what I call the “sweet spot” of enough. Enough is perfect, too much results in diminishing returns.” His message resonated with me and his book more than delivered what it promised.
Modern life has a way of going extremely fast, with growing expectations of needing to do more and more with less free time. As I have been on a journey to remove barriers from my life I’ve been drawn to methodologies that serve to simplify life. Previously I thought simplifying life meant, making processes more efficient, having a very organized outlook calendar system, planning details of every trip with organized binders and keeping the house clean and orderly. The outcome of that approach was just more rigidity and meltdowns when things didn’t go according to plan. I could feel that there was a better way, yet I hadn’t identified it.
Now I know that I was approaching the process from the wrong angle, taking a micro approach rather than removing obstacles. Inspired by David Hann, among others, I’ve made a few changes. First instead of shopping on the weekend; I take long walks around the neighborhood and check out all the parks. Second, I’ve eliminated the “junk information” that only serves to bring about more anxiety; no television news for me—only articles online from CNN or other credible news sources that leave sensationalizing to the local networks. Third, I’m continually opening up my mind to what I can do to minimize the resources I use to fuel myself. After reading, in Simple Prosperity, about the harm raising animals for food causes our environment, I have committed to 50% of my days being meatless. This may be a weak affirmation to my vegetarian friends out there, but its one step down the road to fewer resources.
Lastly, Hann reiterated something I have always known, that one of the best things we can do for ourselves is to build our social support system and help each other whenever we can. In an effort to connect the variety of friends I have in the city, I hosted a wine night this past Friday where we all shared our favorite smart phone apps and some great conversation. It filled me with joy to see friends who had not met before connect and share new insights. I loved that we didn’t need a fancy restaurant, rather a table full of yummy homemade appetizers and endless conversation filled the night. Fun does not have to be fancy; as a society we have made too many things into consumer experiences that before were so simple. Tickets and/or wait staff are not required for a fantastic night of entertainment.
All this reflection about simplifying, socializing and connecting to the earth had me in a zen state of mind this week, leading to my last story. Quite randomly on Tuesday night someone knocked on my door at 10:45pm while I was in the middle of my Oprah/Deepak meditation. Being the Zen Buddha, I felt myself to be at the time, I opened the door to a scraggly looking guy who was asking for money, allegedly knowing my husband. After a short conversation where he shared more details to validate his acquaintance status, I gave him some cash and he headed off. Slowly the Buddha drained out of me and anxiety took over. I tossed and turned all night and reprimanded myself for making such a dumb move, while home alone.
Alas, I realized once again that no matter how many books we read, initiatives we take and securities we seek—things will randomly pop up that get us back to “lizard brain” status and provide another chance for us to ground ourselves in faith and our own personal power to move beyond catastrophic thinking. I’ve made many moves to create a fuller life, yet challenges will never cease to enter. They are here to serve our growth and push us to new levels of consciousness.
All the best in your next week, take an adventure and try something new to push you out of your comfort zone, but whatever you do, don’t open your door past 8pm:)