Simplify

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Simplify. This is a word I keep coming back to. As in, how to simplify my life. Usually, I think about it for a few days, share a conversation or two about it with someone I am close with. I pay extra attention to my sleep routine, or something like that, and then, when the urgent stress starts to abate, I kind of forget about it until I find myself under the same kind of stress again.

But as I get older, and maybe as this cycle gets more frequent, I have begun to feel this is getting ridiculous. It really is. To be clear, I am pretty good at being forgiving and gentle to myself, but sometimes the kindest thing you can be is firm. I mean it, this chaos and stress that I am perpetually creating (attracting? allowing?) into my life is truly ridiculous. And I intend to do something about it.

So, what can you do when your life is chaotic, disorganized and too stressful?

Scale back
Well, when things are too much, it makes sense to cut back. Why do some of us have this feeling like we should be doing so much more than we are able to? What causes us to always strive for more? The answers to these questions are as individual as we are. Sometimes this deep knowing of oneself can help you simplify. And sometimes it doesn’t. When it comes down to it, if there is too much on your plate, there is too much. That’s it. You must find a way to reduce the amount of things you are engaged in.

Planning
I know, it is counterintuitive to add more to a bursting at the seams schedule. But unless you just want to unplug, drop out and hide (which I fully recommend sometimes) you are going to need a plan to achieve your goals. And you are going to have to keep setting aside some time and energy to plan until you get better at it. Decide what is important to you. Observe what energizes you and what drains you and make the necessary changes to support the things that invigorate you while winding down the things that drain you in a manner you can live with. Create some space. Doesn’t that sound good?

Practice
You are not going to plan every moment of your time and you are going to be mindful of what works and what doesn’t. Choose a length of time, a week, a month, whatever. And assess your progress at the end of it. Let go of what doesn’t work and practice what does. The point is to free up some time and energy here, so if something isn’t working, let it go. And if you are having a difficult time letting go of something, now may be a moment where some deeper reflection may help. Or maybe it isn’t. Sometimes you just need a place to discharge the energy of your feelings. Some suggestions of how to do this: exercise and notice how the negativity falls away, meditate with an intention to let go, spend time in nature and imagine your discomfort going into the earth (she can take it!), have a hot shower or bath and imagine the water washing your uncomfortable feelings away. Whatever you do, let go of what you do not need. It isn’t serving you.

You and me and the rest of us, we will all face times where we have to fight for our lives, where we have to struggle to find the peace and simplicity we crave. It’s okay. We can do this.

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