As noted yesterday, this week is National Simplify Your Life Week.
So the goal this week is to simplify. Easy enough to say …
Simplification can be defined as the striping away of non-essentials … of course, the problem is that sometimes our lives are so full that we do not easily see what is essential and what is not … or is this really so difficult?
What might qualify as essential?
What we need to live …
Food, water, shelter, air, and other biological requirements. Those things which sustain our bodies every day throughout our lives.
We are living human beings and our bodies give us clear cues when we are missing essential life elements. We experience a lack of breath, hunger, thirst, heat, or cold. Our bodies are usually quite good at reminding us when
The real question is “When do we know we have enough to eat or drink?” Wait until you are at the buffet line to ask yourself this one
What make us feel safe …
Freedom from constant fear of verbal or physical assault. Adequate shelter from nature’s elements and nuances. Protection from natural and man-made disasters and accidents. Some consistency in our lives.
In general, our brains will help us with this one by interpreting sensory input, at least within the framework of our psychological perceptions and fears. Still pretty easy to identify. Our perceptions can play games here, with one person desperately needing what another dismisses.
The danger here is that we sometimes find threats which are not actually threatening, but we react as though they are.
Count the number of things you have worried about happening in your life and compare to the number which actually happened. If you are like most of us, one number is rather large and the other one … is not.
What makes us feel wanted and connected …
This one is really all about relationships.
Connections with other human beings … family, friends, co-workers, citizens, and ultimately other human beings through clans, tribes, groups, gangs, teams, associations, organizations, cities, states, and countries.
Our connections to others, however they come about, consume much of our time and energy.
Which relationships provide healthy energy in return? Those are the keepers.
What makes us feel competent…
When do we know we are “good enough”?
When we get that next promotion or a bigger office, more minions to order around, or a bigger budget. When someone else recognizes us as an expert or gives us public acclaim. When we have “arrived”, whatever the heck that means.
Some of these yardsticks are valid and some are less so. Carefully consider what you use to measure your own worth.
I’ll leave you to ponder that, but here’s a gentle nudge toward the correct answer and the next section: A critical measure of competence is self-confidence, which comes from within ourselves, not from others.
What makes us feel truly alive …
What is it we aspire to be? How do we live our promise and our abilities? What am I here for?
Heady questions, and not easy to answer. The reality is that many never consider beyond the more mundane essentials. However, when we are talking about examining our lives to strip away the non-essentials, we end up here. This is probably the most complex set of questions about simplifying your life that you can ask yourself.
Enjoy the journey of reflection as you do so…
NOTE: If you dare try to put the above into a pyramid or insist that basic needs have to be fulfilled before the more esoteric ones, the ghosts of Abraham Maslow and Viktor Frankl will haunt you forever. Just saying …
Considering the complexities of simplicity in the Heartland ….
caveat: No idea who originally came up with the idea for National Simplify Your Life Week and the only websites I can find that mention it are either selling swag to go with the theme or noting very localized activities. You’ll just have to trust me on this one.