Thursday, February 4, 2010

Simplicity starts with Me

So many thoughts compete for my attention when I run.  Imagine what the floor of the New York Stock Exchange must sound like.  That's sort-of what goes on in my brain while my legs force my body forward.

Today I thought about my brief tryst with raw food and realized I was (and many ways, still am) so excited about the concept because it seems it would simplify mealtimes for us.  In fact, it seems that I'm always looking for ways to "simplify, simplify", as Thoreau writes.  For a very long time now I have removed clutter from my home and mind...but I still have a long way to go.  We all do.  Well, almost all of us do.  I get it and I think I can help others, too.  Maybe that's my next career: simplicity coach.

The most important first step in pursuing simplicity is to take an honest look at yourself.  A thorough examination, an assessment of who you are, what you do, what you like and what you wish you could change about yourself.  There are no right or wrong answers, only honest ones.  Sounds easy, right?  For most of us, the truth hurts.  We might not be all that thrilled to be the age that we are, or living in this house or married to that person.  We might wish we had waited to have children, or had them sooner.  We might be afraid of spiders or Terrorists or 2012.  So many pieces of the truth pie, and they fit together perfectly to make up one unique recipe: YOU.

I thought I knew myself.  I guess I always have, but until a few days ago, there were still some core truths about me I had not discovered.  I was writing in my personal journal and it happened...a personal epiphany...the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth about ME.  Everything came together on paper like a mental thunderclap -- I was free!  Liberated from my own self-imposed limitations.  The words flowed, effortlessly.  I know, cliche.  But that's exactly the way it happened.  From my brain down my arm and launching from my pen were all the answers to all my questions about Me.  Everything, good and bad.  I felt lighter and happier than ever.

And then a really strange thing happened...the glow of absolute confidence.  All of my memories filed themselves away in proper order in the past.  My recent "reliving" of my personal history gave me insight and perspective, and an abundant gratitude for the opportunity to choose my own path.  To choose the path that led me to Today.  By putting away the past I was able to free up space in my soul to allow my dreams to grow.  Dreams for the future -- but not so much room that I forget to enjoy today.

Today is all I have.  I can't change the past nor predict the future; all I can do, really, is relish Today.  The simple pleasures that Today offers me each day.  Sage's giggle, her quirky sense of humor.  Time spent coloring or working on other art projects with her.  Writing in my journal.  Listening to 70s music (is that "Convoy" I hear???) while we play, or classical while I write, or folk or jazz or blues or Southern Rock while I run.  Listening to the birds as they fly over our house from the beach en route to the Laguna Madre for evening feedings.  Petting my dog Folsom.  Each day brings a flood of magical moments, simple truths about Life.  If I'm keen to pay attention, higher powers are offering them to me.

Today the waves nudged the dunes, completely erasing the beach and leaving me nowhere to run but the deep, soft dunes.  Um, really difficult to say the least.  I smiled at the waves, as if I were thanking them for presenting me with this challenge.  My feet sunk with every step but I trudged along.  Finally I reached the park road toward the pier and turned off.  I had to leap over a small but steady stream of water rushing from the dune back toward the Gulf; my toes got only a little wet.  Since there was no beach to run on, I took a rare detour along the road that runs behind the dunes.  On my iPod I listened to Miles Davis' Kind of Blue -- my favorite soundtrack for drizzly days.  I couldn't find my stopwatch today so I have no idea how fast I ran my route today.  Funny, so very funny.  It wasn't that long ago that these little diversions from my charted path would stress me out.  But today...I embraced the changes.  Much can be learned by taking a different path home.

A few days ago I looked in the mirror and saw Me as I really am.  I put away my memories, for now.  Today I celebrated today, simply.  Tomorrow -- who knows what tomorrow will be?  Not I.  I do know, however, that I will be ready for whatever gifts it presents me.  And one of these tomorrows I will discover the next step I should take toward achieving simplicity.  Something outside of myself.

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