If you have practiced yoga or meditation, you are aware of the concept of simplification, slowing down and simply “being”. Some of my favorite times of the day (and week) are when I’m in the heart of a yoga class or a massage and I’m simply being present. Unfortunately, life on the outside of this little bubble is not always so serene. There are a few ways we can keep this feeling of presence going though and an article I found in the Elephant Journal spoke to it. If you haven’t visited their site, I strongly suggest you do.
The first tip is to stop buying things unless we really need them. Every retail establishment around knows we are impulsive creatures and they place products, ads, banners, chocolate! and other items right in our path so we are prompted to buy. There are lots of ideas that will keep you from being impulsive. A friend of mine used to keep her credit (and debit!) cards at home when she went out with friends. This means she was forced to drive home, typically sleep on it, and only then return to the store to make that purchase she was considering. It is amazing how rarely she ever made the trip back once she realized it was not something “necessary”. I’ve even heard of people freezing their credit cards in a block of ice. Also a very cool idea!
Saying no is also a fantastic practice to re-gain some sanity and recapture some of your life back. We all only get so many hours in a day and so many hours on this earth. While there are some things that fall into the “responsibilities” category, there are twice as many others that are completely unnecessary. Saying no, if you are a pleaser, is never an easy thing to do. Next time you are asked to do something, evaluate it based on it being something you are authentically committed to. I have learned that saying yes without really meaning it does a disservice to the person asking as well as yourself.
Shut off. For many years now I have avoided the nightly news like the plague. If you have watched any of CNN over the past few weeks, they have migrated from reporting on anything resembling actual events or “news” to pure speculation. It is no secret we are living in the information age and there is no shortage of medium by which to be connected. Take a stand against the noise and unplug. If you are not aware of the most recent YouTube video or who won an award for a movie, is your life any worse? Of course not. One of the more peaceful times in my life was living without a television. You would be amazed at how meaningless things like reality TV and national sports become when you’re not being TOLD how important they are! (That said, Go Sox!) 🙂
Lastly, make an effort to find contentment. In his book, The Power Of Now, Eckhart Tolle talks about simply being present. It is through this practice that you forget about finding something better or striving for contentment. Focusing on finding a better job, a better home, a better body, etc., causes us to forget about being content with what we currently have. We talked about working on our 10 gratitudes last time and this is the perfect place for that practice. Being present in appreciation of what we have and what we are surrounded by is where we find more clarity and, ideally, more peace.
Make an effort, this spring, to work on simplifying your life. I’m confident if you work on minimizing the noise and distractions in your life and focusing on appreciating what you have, you will be far closer to contentment than you realized.