Get Yourself To Simple

Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 12.23.31 PMThe world is complex and overflowing, overwrought, and brimming with too much of everything. It feels overwhelming at times. It is overwhelming at times.

So get yourself to simple. It’s really the only answer.

We struggle under the crushing weight of all that is available to us now in our modern society, particularly in America, where it seems like everything is for sale all the time in every way. (Well, except those certain concert tickets we want, or those new shoes, or that one movie that everybody wants to see. How does that always happen?) Look at this, listen to that. Read this, watch this, do this.

So don’t.

Do only what you want to do, have to do, and enjoy doing. Buy what you want, and what you must. Remind yourself of what is simple and good, and focus on that. You’ll be happier, trust me.

Years ago, I lived on the island of Okinawa, Japan, among some of the people who live the longest on this planet. It was an eye-opening experience, away from the buzz of the American media and shopping experiences. When you spend your days on a warm island in the East China Sea, you learn a few things about what does and doesn’t matter, and about what you can easily live without. Like brands of toothpaste — guess what? If you have two kinds, that’s enough. Pick one or the other. You’ll survive. The store isn’t open past 6pm? It’s okay. You’ll live until morning. That drink glass at the restaurant doesn’t have to be the size of your arm, and your meal is great if it has enough food to nourish and delight you, not enough to feed three people and a goat.

What you need is what you need, not beyond. Yet we have this idea that more is more, and sometimes it is, but often it is not. And this is how we end up with our Society of Everything, that often can feel like the Society of Nothing.

You can’t solve it. I can’t solve it. But we both have to live in it, and so I’d like to offer you this simple solution: when life gets crazy, you get simple.

• Leave your office, and head for a walk in the woods.
• Turn off your laptop, put down your phone, and wrestle with your kids or your dog.
• Make a meal with three ingredients.
• Climb a rope. Or jump one.
• Sit in silence for five minutes.
• Learn what to do with your hands when you’re doing nothing.
• Forget the clock.
• Lift a barbell and put it down.
• Breathe in, and breathe out. Slowly, and with intent. Do it again.
• Feel the sun on your back—really feel it, like a dog smiling as he drops off to slumber.

Get yourself to simple. It might sound a little simple, but sometimes it’s the perfect antidote to our Society of Everything.

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