Today, the word “simplicity” flowed gently through the window of my mind creating a calmness within me. I focused long and hard on one word and one thought and it felt marvelous, darlings. Imagine sheer drapes swaying gently and gracefully back and forth in perfect rhythm caused by gentle trade winds gliding through an open window. The window, the wind, and the sheer drapes become one creating calm and clarity. For mortal man the ability to be in sync with a plain and simple lifestyle is near impossible. The art of simplicity takes discipline because there is so much at our fingertips.
I am burdened with all that I do and yet I love most of what I do… or do I? I have been questioning myself of late.
Four short vignettes on simplicity
My ultimate concierge and I dine out most evenings. Each evening my husband says to me, “What would you like for dinner?” I answer, “I don’t know?” His response, “Would you like to share?” I answer, “Let me look at the menu.” I glance at the menu and see a 1,000 choices! Salads, appetizers, soups, entrees, sides and I close my eyes, thinking, “I will share whatever my husband desires rather than go through this menu.” There is no calmness, no clarity, no simplicity.
The scene is a restaurant in Cannes, France. We walk up an old cobbled street where we are greeted, before we enter, by the owner who hands me one rose. I am beyond happy. We enter a quaint space with a wood burning fireplace. The menu reads simply: For your pleasure: grilled chicken, meat or fish, two vegetables, two starches and two desserts.
The piece d’ resistance, a large wooden salad bowl, is placed in the middle of the table with wedges of lettuce, uncut vine ripe tomatoes, large scallions and uncut cucumber as well as two knives to make your own salad. What a difference. Simplicity at its finest.
I remember walking down the beach in Sarasota, Florida. There were a million sea shells. I collect shells but recall the day as one of havoc as my eyes darted here there and everywhere. I went back to our hotel, empty-handed. Too much tumult for my eyes and mind. There was no clarity, no calmness, no simplicity.
And, now I remember a day in Nantucket, walking along the sea shore with my husband. We were the only ones on the beach with the exception of one very old woman far back from the shore in the tall reeds. She kept bending over and lifting up. I was curious and convinced my husband to wade through the reeds to her side. She was collecting seashells and gave me one. I have kept it in a glass box for years. The joy of simplicity. The joy of life.
What is simplicity?
My definition of simplicity is to select what is important to me and discard what is not important to me.
At this moment my life has no empty space. There is no time to simply be.
I suppose that is why I loved Island living. There were not too many people, clothing was insignificant, not too many activities and things. There I had time to watch the ever-changing sea, time to see close friends, not millions of people, and laugh, bond and talk. Life was not artificial, but natural. There was no ‘too much.’ It was simplicity at its finest.
I do not live any longer on an Island and neither do you so as I sit in my apartment in the sky overlooking my beautiful Chicago on a cloudy day one word comes to mind for all of us to think about darlings: balance.
I must and I promise myself I will do the following in order to create simplicity for myself because the multiplicity of my world is crowding in on me. If you like choose this as your new mantra: .
I will not allow myself to move away from the center of activities I enjoy. Less of everything… is more.
I will not allow myself to be distracted by others, not to include loved ones or my nearest and dearest needs and desires. Less distraction… is more.
Quality is far more important to me than quantity. Less of everything… is more.
I will retain an awareness of things I love and discard what I do not love. I love solitude over a mad hatter environment; I love interesting people over boring ones, I love kind-hearted empathic personality plus girlfriends, not social climbers who live in a box, I adore nature and walks, I love balance. I love tiny bistros and gorgeous restaurants where I can dine with my husband and close friends, I love small boutiques, I love shells and orchids and everything real.
My shell sitting in its glass box on my desk reminds me of who I really am. Now I have to remind, myself.