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Let's Simplify Life

Updated on August 11, 2017
ValKaras profile image

Val is a life-long student of psycho-philosophy of living, and a devoted practitioner of many techniques enhancing personal evolution.

We don't have to imitate anybody
We don't have to imitate anybody

"Good, Old Times"

Let's face it, stress is the sign of our times, which is nothing new - except that it's also one of the biggest paradoxes of our times. Said in a nutshell : these are the best times ever in the whole long history of the mankind, and aside of our peculiar passion for complicating our lives, we don't have much of an objective excuse for being stressed out.

In my childhood, and we are talking the time right after the WW2 in the devastated Europe, horses and carts were still a regular feature on roads. Nothing except for the light-switch was a push-button advantage in households. To cook your meals, wash yourself, and have some heat in the house you had to first go chop some firewood and smash off some chunks of coal for your furnace.

Laundry was done manually, clothes and bed sheets were boiled in a huge container for disinfection. TV was unheard of, and families of an average income could not afford a radio , and of course, forget about something like a turntable. Speaking for myself - these days I am living a "science fiction" with all these gadgets that make life so much easier - while leaving the rest up to me to also make it simple.

What was really so "good" about it?
What was really so "good" about it?

Youth Was Painting It All in Pink

And yet, every so often I hear people of my baby-boomer generation mention those "good, old times". I don't share their nostalgic reminiscing, and with a simple, meant to be eye-opening statement I remind them how the only good thing about those times was the fact that we were all young then, and youth has a way of painting everything in rosy colors.

Indeed, depending on your age now, these days we are running our engine on less than half of those hormones that used to give us that extra spark of vitality, the sexual energy being that secret motoric behind most of our dreams, ambitions, and activities.

Yes, being young made all the difference
Yes, being young made all the difference
Not knowing how easy we got it
Not knowing how easy we got it

Like a Trend of Modern Living

Now, is it really our declining hormones to be blamed? Well, you don't have to take seriously my amateurish theorizing, but I think this new hormone situation was merely the result of all layers of accumulated stress over the years.

Yes, I am contending that most of that stress was completely unnecessary and mainly due to our collective consciousness which took the attitude of complicating as a norm of living. Man, we are like that dude in my favorite definition of a hypochondriac who is "only feeling good when he is feeling bad".

Seemingly it's a sort of a compulsion to think, feel and act like everybody else, and who knows why. Maybe out of the need to "belong" to the herd of the same mode of functioning - to be recognizable, accepted as "one of them". But, whatever the underlying motivation may be, it's silly and unnecessary, and self-destructive in a final analysis.

Thus, it's a small wonder that we can't recognize these times as the best ever. For a moment seeing our minds as instruments for processing our reality, a metaphor with musical instruments seems appropriate : give an out-of-tune guitar to Eric Clapton and he won't make any music on it. Likewise, give ourselves all advantages of the modern living, and our minds will still be producing only "noise, not music".

If I could only embrace it all
If I could only embrace it all

Different Yes - but Happy

In my working days I would come in on a typical Monday softly whistling or humming a happy tune, and having a nice word for everyone, especially female co-workers. Well, I was not flirting in a sense of making a pass at any of them, but I always liked giving them compliments, and they knew that was it.

My happy disposition became contagious over a time, and yet there was always a long face or two that were insisting on being miserable. My boss being one of them would go a step further while mumbling something like : "Man, you are not supposed to be happy on Mondays". Call it insubordination, but I wouldn't follow that instruction.

Well, to borrow my expression from above, I didn't care much to be "recognizable as one of the crowd." Being an oddball was not making me feel either lonely or misunderstood. And it still doesn't.

"Whatever doesn't kill us  -  makes us stronger"
"Whatever doesn't kill us - makes us stronger"

Happiness that Was Not Meant to Be

Now and then people tell me how "lucky I was to be born with such an easy going nature". Then I tell them how mistaken they are. I was raised beside a polio stricken aunt and grandma, neither of them able to run after me, so I had to spend most of the time around them where they could keep an eye on me.

No playing with other kids. Then, I was constantly sick with something and a notorious cry-baby due to my then undiagnosed subclinical hypoglycemia, which was not helped one bit with my regular heavily sugared morning coffee. I was shy, withdrawn, scared of strangers, of the dark, tiring fast, and with an awful muscular coordination which made me often trip over my own feet.

On top of it, my beloved family, with nerves shattered during the war didn't have much patience for such a "monster of a kid", and I got often punished for being clumsy. Now, how is that for the history of my happy disposition?

One person to befriend
One person to befriend

The Times of Unfoldment

So, how did all that change, after witnessing my parents' divorce at the age of nine, living with a depressed mother, and twice getting seriously sick on lungs due to undernourishment? Was that really me?

Of course, but after deserting of my very strict father I got all the freedom in the world to start unfolding into something the seed of which I carried in my young soul. At the age of ten I read my first book on psychology, and when thirteen, in order to get rid of my fear of dark, I visited our huge city cemetery by myself - around midnight.

I just sat on a bench in front of someone's grave, sweated bullets in an agony of fear until it was gone. Long before my thousand books on human nature were read, and long before I was a devoted meditator, I simply quit the nonsense of complicating my life, somewhat disgusted with that crappy habit.

Well, why did I just volunteer to share this unfavorable first chapter of my never to be written autobiography? To show off or something? Not really. My intention was to show how even as kids we could start defying every prognosis in textbooks in psychology about some "inevitable outcome of less than happy childhoods". Some folks may relate to it and find an inspiration in it.

Is complicating really so much fun?
Is complicating really so much fun?

Indulgence in Lousy Feelings

Now, everybody including myself gets that initial spike of displeasure when things go wrong. However, not inclined to complicate my life, I trained myself to manage its intensity and what's even more important - its duration.

Namely, why do we need to go on and on over the same mishap, as if we didn't do it right in the first minute or two, so now we have to make it better? Not adding anything new to the situation or even less to its solution, we just keep it on until it snowballs into something that may stay with us for the rest of the day like a dark shadow that we can't shake off.

Literally, it "makes our day", and for a long while I can't understand why we are doing it to ourselves. Why complicate things so much? Then we also have to tell everyone about it to make them "feel better". You see what I mean?

Keeping ourselves well covered and protected
Keeping ourselves well covered and protected

Selective Ability to Relax

When someone tells me they can't relax, I ask them : "How do you manage to fall asleep at night?" Really, what exactly do we do with all those worries, frustrations, grudges, impatience, and all other pearls of stress at our bed time?

How do we succeed to loosen down all muscles and nerves to be able to sink into that oblivion where none of that emotional crap seems to matter anymore? How is the mechanism of falling asleep different from relaxing during the day, other than we don't overdo it like in sleep?

It's truly amazing how we reserve that ability only for our bed time, ably sweeping it all under the rug - until the next morning when we sweep it out again to continue tormenting ourselves with that same old passion of complicating our lives.

And then we discover the beauty of it all
And then we discover the beauty of it all

With an Awakened Spirit

All it really takes is awakening of our spirit enough to realize that it's all of our own make - all our responsiveness to life. No one is pissing us off, trust me, we choose it - consciously or unconsciously, and with some of that spirit awakened we may choose to stop doing it to ourselves.

The world is not about terrorists, bad politicians, high cost of medical insurance, climate change, and a nagging spouse - it's about our response to all that.

We are not helpless automatons waiting to see what kind of emotions will happen to us. They are our constructs, together with our attitude, our beliefs, and our dominant thoughts during the day.

So, let's wake up and stop complicating this life, we don't know if we'll get another one to make it better. Everybody knows on their gut level how they are making things complicated for themselves, and there is no magic bullet to undo it - other than befriending ourselves enough not to do it anymore. Let's face it, folks, if we were doing to our friends what we sometimes intimately do to ourselves, we wouldn't have many friends. Agree?


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    • ValKaras profile image

      Vladimir Karas 12 months ago from Canada

      Au Fait - It feels so rewarding to see other people sharing our views, and your eloquent skills backed up with your studies in psychology even make them look better.

      I truly appreciate your long comments C.C., you always express your fine mind in ways that make me feel like we just had a nice conversation. Thank you for letting me know about your views about this important matter of people wasting so much energy and precious time on unnecessary fussing over things that ultimately don't matter one bit.

      Have yourself a great day - Val

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 12 months ago from North Texas

      Agree that people often obsess over things that really aren't important. One can gain a lot of confidence just by looking at a situation or event realistically. A friend who has now passed on used to say, "A hundred years from now nobody will know the difference or care." Sometimes it's more like a few days or even a few hours from now. No need to wait a hundred years. People often seem to anguish over some very trivial things.

      One thing most people don't realize is that many people are so worried about the image they are projecting to others that they really don't notice details about anyone else unless they’re so horrible they can’t be ignored. So if you know the person you’re meeting for the first time is most likely agonizing over how they’re coming across to you, it allows you to relax and be yourself. They won’t notice if you aren’t perfect because they’re too focused on how perfect they’re coming across to you.

      I don't care about belonging to any herd either. Sometimes what one must do to fit in just isn't worth it. Fitting in can be overrated.

      I believe people could improve their lives markedly if they would simply put things in perspective. Often that alone will free up hours of time, as one needn't do or think about things that really don't matter anyway, and that leaves more time for those things that do matter, or better yet, things one finds more enjoyable.

      As always, you get your readers to thinking, and that’s a good thing.

    • ValKaras profile image

      Vladimir Karas 2 years ago from Canada

      It gives me a great pleasure to hear from you, Esther. If it hadn't been for you and your encouragement, I would have never been a part of Hubpages. And I am really glad my hub served as a little reminder to you about our conscious power to make of life what we choose. - Be well my friend. Val

    • Esther  Strong profile image

      Esther Strong 2 years ago from UK

      Thanks for this reminder that life is as simple, or as complicated, as we think it is and that we can handle just about anything if we believe we can. (am linking to one of my hubs) - Welcome to Hubpages Val