“Simplicity simplicity simplicity”, the words of transcendentalist, Henry David Thoreau, move me and sum up how I want to live.
Monday, July 12th is National Simplicity Day to honor the work of bespoke poet and I’m all about it. I believe in simplifying, paring down and having less for a happier life. Less possessions, less clothes, less food in the pantry, less needless trappings. I see it every day – the more stuff, the less happy.
To tarry means to slow down, procrastinate in the best way. Tarry Life is a life philosophy – Stop and tarry in your life. Look around, notice your children or pets or parents. Even your office, your route to work, the guy that sells you your coffee every day. All of it will, for sure, change.
Time is cruel and will continue to push ahead whether you like it or not. I thought Shep would say “hepicopter” (helicopter) or “upspy” down (upside down) forever. We don’t stop and appreciate precious moments as much as we could and then they’re gone.
We’re all going to die one day. Every single one of us and your dog too. So on this day of simplicity, I ask that you take even five minutes to sit still and just be in your life.
Go outside, take off your shoes and stand in the grass or the sand. Go sit on a park bench for 10 minutes – not reading or looking at your phone, just sitting, looking around.
Last weekend we watched that Will Smith movie, “Independence Day” for 4th of July. Man, it was bad. It came out in ’96, which doesn’t seem like that long ago and the kids kept saying “Is this the olden days?” I don’t remember the mid-90’s looking so different. The cars, the clothes, the phones! When you’re living in a time you don’t think about it but one day your grandkids are going to say “Oh my god, that’s so 20s.”
We can’t stop time and no one has successfully invented a time machine. What we can do is live in our present lives and squeeze a little more juice out of the day, especially in the summer. Doesn’t everyone have delightful memories of summer? Those hot, lazy days of vacations, sleep away camp, pool time, Slip n’Slides and watermelon? Can we capture some of that today?
Here are some ideas to observe this day of simplicity:
- Spend time in nature. Can you start or end the day with a hike, beach walk or bike ride?
- Could you shut down your devices for a couple hours today and just be? Remember the days before we were all connected to a device 24/7? It wasn’t that long ago!
- Take even five minutes for a mindfulness practice. Headspace is a great app that makes a meditation practice easy. Try this simple 5 minute meditation I found on Youtube.
- When eating your meals today, do so in silence without reading or watching anything. Concentrate on the food, the flavors, the chewing, the swallowing.
- Pick up a real paper book to read this evening. Nothing wrong with a Kindle but studies show that reading on paper helps calm and relax the mind instead of stimulating it with artificial light.
- Go out this evening and watch the sunset.
- Cook your dinner from scratch and eat slowly. Better yet, shop for all of the ingredients at your local farmers market. I bet you will enjoy it more.
- Make a coffee/lunch/dinner date with a friend and have an in-person conversation.
- Take 10 items (or way more!) from your closet to simplify your wardrobe. Do the same around the house in your junk drawers, book shelves, side tables, etc
- Pet your cat for 10 minutes or if you’re lucky to have an octogenarian tortoise like me, take a couple minutes to watch him eat some lettuce. I dare you not to be in the moment.
Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity. This is the key to the good life.