I was taken tonight by how beautiful and sweet life is. And that much that I find meaningful and beautiful is very simple.
Sometimes I think when people hear talk of living a simpler life, or choosing to live more sustainably, or consciously, or in any way that bespeaks “not mainstream” it sounds like it’s dull, hard or unforgiving in some way. “Less than”. For me, that’s SO not true!
I’m hopeful that one of the silver linings in America’s economic meltdown is that people have been forced to look at the American money/stuff/work treadmill and examine what they really need, and how to live their lives.
I think for me, it’s more about the time I’m at in my life. To steal from an old Jim Croce song “I’ve looked around enough to know….” That is, I’ve done the striving/the conniving/the climbing the ladder – and ended up here, at home, at peace, in love with my life and the world.
I have been finding that the more I move away from ‘stuff’ and its accrual/care, etc. the more I can focus on what matters to me – my connections to God, nature, other people. Creativity, and just loving life.
Some of the things that brought me great joy today:
- Hanging with ‘my homies’ – a group of women I spend Saturday mornings with who help me dive deeper, get more real
- Strong black coffee – such a wonderful way to start a day!
- My workout with my personal trainer – this one IS a monetary indulgence but the rewards seem to me to WAY outpace the investment – I am getting stronger and I like that a lot!
- Spending a delightful afternoon/evening with a new friend – far-ranging conversation, driving around in the country (ah, McHenry County in fall!), and taking her to see Ginger Blossom – www.gingerblossom.com
- Woodstock Square – so beautiful – just a walk around the square with a cup of chai and my friend – delightful!
- And then dinner at a French creperie – savoring the fresh, delicious food, conversation with my friend, the sweet, earnest young waitress, watching night descend on Woodstock Square – exquisite!
- The moon and the clear night sky (which reminds me that my longtime love, the Winter Night Sky, is soon to be mine again)
- Finding little gifts for my grandnieces and grandnephews at Ginger Blossom and packaging them up with small notes for each child – you cannot imagine how much joy this gave me for approximately $2 per child (x 11 – still cheap!)
- And now looking forward to a bath in my clean bathroom, getting into clean jammies, then into newly changed sheets – ah, Saturdays!
- and looking forward to the book I’m reading now – Three Cups of Tea
Sara and I talked tonight at the French bistro in Woodstock of visiting the south of France – a place we’ve both been. I was thinking that while the south of France is arguably one of the prettier places on earth (surely one of the prettiest to which I’ve traveled) that I was as happy today in my little town and then out in McHenry County – as I’ve been in far more exotic locales. While I’d love to travel internationally again (and I’m sure I will), I can be just as happy on little day-trips – just drinking in beauty and new-ness makes me feel alive.
I think two of the components of Real.Joy.Right.Now are:
- Being fully present – really SEEING the cool imported objects at Ginger Blossom – drinking each item, imagining the country from which it emanated, appreciating each nuanced part of the whole; noticing the brie, the pancetta, the fresh spinach and the crepe in which they were encased (like French burritos said Sara!) at La Petite Creperie
- And being grateful. Last weekend, visiting my Dad and his wife, I was delighted when we sang “Morning has Broken” at their Catholic church. It’s one we sing sometimes in Unity and a song I (and likely most of my generation) associate with Cat Stevens the iconic singer of my youth. It has been playing on Radio Diane all week “praise for the singing, praise for the morning….” – being grateful ‘greases the skids’ and ‘creates luck’ I think
So if the simple life seems dull or ‘poor’ in any way, or (worst pejorative in my book!) – boring, well, then I say wake up and say thanks and then see what it looks like to you. Really, it IS a wonderful life.