ordinarymagic

THE MINDFULNESS OF SIMPLICITY

on December 30, 2014

“There’s a realisation that each moment is fresh and new…We keep ourselves so busy, talking to ourselves, distancing ourselves… It’s coming back to this basic simplicity of the moment, where you can cultivate appreciation and you can see the world around you in a fresh and uninvolved way.” Pema Chodron

 Simplicity

Simplicity. Semplicità. Simplicité. The word sounds so simple and easily rolls off your tongue yet manifesting it in our lives is something that many of us struggle with, me included. I love how as the last resplendent hours of 2014 slip quietly into 2015 (well maybe not so quietly depending upon how you spend your New Year’s Eve!), we will ponder what the year ahead will hold. What New Year’s resolutions will we make (and so often break)? What item will we tick off our bucket list? What new dreams will we embark upon?

There seems to be an increasing trend on social media this year; asking what will your WORD be for 2015? I have always had many dreams for the year ahead but I don’t know that I’ve ever nailed it down to one single, solitary word. As a writer, I love so MANY words…..how could I possibly pick just one? Several immediately sprung to mind but I had to choose just ONE (well I didn’t really have to…but I wanted to) so I decided to meditate on it.

For those of you who have read my previous post on Serendipity and Ordinary Magic, you will know that I believe in signs from the universe, revealing to me what I need to know, and that I have found the best way to tune into those signs is through my meditation practice. So I stopped for a little while and just listened. As we all know, in the frenetic lead up to Christmas, stopping isn’t something we get a lot of time to do. We race from shop to shop trying to secure the ‘perfect’ gift, fly from party to party in a mad race to catch up with friends before the clock strikes midnight on Christmas Eve. Christmas Day rolls by in a blur of pretty coloured paper, delicious food, lots of laughs and way too much champagne (well it does in my house!) and then there is that sacred day in Australia called Boxing Day. I was only just informed by a friend that Boxing Day isn’t a universal tradition (apparently a lucky legacy of being part of the British Commonwealth!) I thought everybody enjoyed that decadent day to stop and regroup after Christmas; that one day per year where you get to lie around and do WHATEVER you want to do, with no need for cooking as the fridge is overflowing with Christmas leftovers and everyone can just help themselves. My sister spent the day glued to her lounge watching the Boxing Day test cricket, my hubby tinkered away on the Coi pond he is building in our backyard, my gorgeous girls danced their way through cyberspace on their laptops and I perched myself upon the lounge with a 400 page book…..and savoured every mouth-watering word.

Sorry, I have digressed…..oh yes, that’s right I STOPPED and I LISTENED and I realised the signs were all around me for my word. Just before Christmas I had bought myself a book called Simplify Structure Succeed, by Shannah Kennedy, and also bought a Mindfulness journal, the cover of which reads “Wherever you are, be all there” (Jim Elliot). Then yesterday, as I caught up on interesting blog posts I had tucked safely away into my pending file, I came across an interview on American 60 Minutes with Anderson Cooper. He interviewed Jon Kabat-Zinn, a Professor of Medicine at University of Massachusetts Medical School, who created a program called Mindfulness-based stress reduction. This program has been rolled out in hospitals, offices, some schools and even at Google’s head office. Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness as “the awareness that arises through paying attention on purpose in the present moment and non-judgmentally” Anderson Cooper goes on to say, “One of the things that Jon talks about is that everyone wants to figure out how to live longer. Maybe you’re not extending your life (through mindfulness), but you are present and living more of the moments of your life.”

Perhaps by now you’re saying “but I thought your word was Simplicity? So why all the talk about mindfulness?” When I delved more deeply into my perfect word for 2015, I realised that mindfulness was the conduit and simplicity was the intention. We are constantly barraged by the world in which we live. We have taken the concept of multi-tasking to ridiculous heights, to the point that we now struggle to maintain our focus unless we are juggling multiple balls in the air. But just STOP for a minute. Are we really focusing on those six concurrent tasks we are doing? Or are we doing them all imperfectly? I can arrive at work and my morning prior to that moment is a blur. From a cognitive perspective I can recite to you all that I have done from the moment I set foot out of bed until I climbed out of my car at my destination but was I actually present for any or all of it? Not really. How often do you arrive somewhere and go “oh, am I here already?”

So this year, it is my intention to change all that. I want to simplify my life, be more connected and calm, so I don’t miss a precious moment of it. I am striving to find a sense of inner peace. Years ago, I bought a fridge magnet which said “Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.”

I don’t yet have the answers as to how I will exactly do that but check back in with me same time next year and hopefully I will have some answers for you! My year will be about researching and trying out new ways of thinking and doing in order to be more present in my own life. None of us know how long we have to live so can we really afford to waste one precious minute? Happy New Year to you all! I would love to know what your word would be if you chose one. lolshelley.x

“Our lives are journeys that nobody can take for us and nobody can spare us from; we have to do it on our own.”                                                                                                                                                                           Marcel Proust

Advertisements

6 responses to “THE MINDFULNESS OF SIMPLICITY

  1. Anita Horan says:

    Dear Shell,
    I enjoyed this post as much as your previous two. Yes, simplicity is one of the best ways to improve our quality of life. I have been successful in making major changes over the past few years,in that I no longer overbook my schedule. If I have to be out running errands one day, I make sure the next two are at home without commitments. This approach has helped immensely to reduce my stress. My next task is to apply mindfulness, as you discussed and be more active in being in a relaxed state and quieting my mind, (it can be quite noisy in there). It is interesting you ask for one word as I had already spent time pondering this. My word is – ramble. Isn’t it delicious? The sound of the word matches its meaning. I just love it. To ramble, just saying it makes me feel peaceful and happy. But I am not good with singularities and as I read in a book a great friend gave me “Still Writing” by Dani Shapiro, she mentions that good writing comes from a split heart, the tension of the opposing thoughts and emotions within us, so I cannot say one word, with offering a counterpart. So I chose “awesomeness” as my second word (though I am not sure it would be in the dictionary). Because 2015 for me is going to be a combination of the two, days and weeks and months of rambling, with countless moments of absolute awesomeness in between.
    I hope 2015 is everything we wish it to be.

    Anita Horan – mother – photographer – writing – freediver – etc…..

    Like

    • lolshelley says:

      Dear Anita,
      I am so thrilled that my post resonated with you and I love your word! RAMBLE…it evokes so many thoughts in my mind….the rambling of words from my mouth as my thoughts spill over…meandering down a rambling pathway, into the forest…totally delicious! Ah yet again, the remarkable Dani Shapiro speaks words of pure magic…and I’m sure ‘awesomeness’ is worthy of a place in any dictionary:-) I admire your ability to have simplified your life, it’s not easy to do but something that I increasingly feel that I must do and hope that I will be able to do in the coming year. Today I sat in on an online tutorial with my meditation Sangha and an organisational expert, Andrew Mellen. Of the many insightful things he said, two that really struck me as so simple yet so profound were “Your calendar is to time what your budget is to money” & “If you want a simple life, make simple choices.” I will be working hard to keep them forefront in my mind as I enter 2015 and hope that the coming year holds for us all we wish for ourselves.x

      Like

  2. Jennifer says:

    I can’t limit myself to one word Shell, although adventure is featuring highly right now. I have been developing the notion of seeking a daily adventure, just as I actively seek moments of gratitude and incorporate them with my love of visual storytelling (BTW, my other word could be seek. See? There are too many wonderful words to be limited to one..)
    What I do know though, is that I have chosen
    my new hashtags for 2015: #whatmovesmyheart and #thankfulmoment.
    Those two hashtags go so beautifully with the words adventure and seek, but they also marry with mindful, deliberate and grateful.
    I kind of can’t wait to see what photos are created to go with those hashtags. Bring on 2015, what an adventure it’s going to be.

    Like

    • lolshelley says:

      You are most definitely an adventurer Jen and a seeker of moments of gratitude. I have lived vicariously through your amazing images and view of life (love the concept of visual storytelling:-) by the way) via your amazing Instagram @missjent and can’t wait to join you on the adventures to come in 2015. I love that there seems to be a universal awakening to the concept of mindfulness and living with intention. Onward Jen….can’t wait to see what happens next.x

      Like

  3. Maxabella says:

    I love that you’ve identified a conduit (mindfulness) to your intent (simplicity). I hope you lead the simple life – a good life – all year! My word this year is ‘complete’, for many reasons, but mostly to get things done. To finish what I begin and to believe in wholeness. x

    Like

    • lolshelley says:

      Thank you so much for your lovely comment Maxabella. I LOVE your word ‘complete’. I think that’s definitely a word we can all relate to…to desire to complete all those things we start but seem to end up in the pending completion file!! May 2015 hold all you dream of and many completed activities.x

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: