Word of the Day: Simplicity
Sometimes a simple word can inspire meaningful thought and bring about change. The word I awoke to this morning is “simplicity”. Now I know what the word means but I wondered why it was so central to my thinking today. Since I don’t believe in coincidence, I knew there was a hidden lesson here so I turned to the dictionary. Maybe, just maybe, there was something I was missing.
Dictionary.com defines “simplicity” this way.
- The state, quality, or an instance of being simple.
- Freedom from complexity, intricacy, or division into parts: an organism of great simplicity.
- Absence of luxury, pretentiousness, ornament, etc.; plainness: a life of simplicity.
- Freedom from deceit or guile; sincerity; artlessness; naturalness: a simplicity of manner.
- Lack of mental acuteness or shrewdness: Politics is not a field for simplicity about human nature.
As human beings, our thoughts and feelings can be triggered by a variety of stimulants. What sparks a fire in one will elude another. For the purpose of this work, I want to focus on line three of the definition as it was the trigger for me. Let’s take a look..
"Absence of luxury, pretentiousness, ornament, etc.; plainness: a life of simplicity"
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I sat with this statement for a few minutes, mulling over the components.
No where does this statement say that for simplicity to exist, we must do without the things that make us comfortable or happy. Like so many of you, I tend to complicate my life with excess stuff. I am trying to overcome this obstacle to simplicity but I have a ways to go. I have some luxuries in my home that I can do without and most of you will laugh at them. That’s because we are individuals and what I consider luxury, others see as a necessity.
I have an electric blanket on my bed. It’s a luxury. I don’t need it because I have dozens of non-electric blankets that could be piled on the bed for added warmth. I use the electric one because Luna, my Italian Greyhound spends her time under the covers while I work. She is tiny and it would be hard for her to lift the weight of additional blankets to burrow under the covers. Don’t laugh. I’m sure you have your own stories of what you do for your pets.
I have two televisions. That’s a luxury. I can only watch one at a time and I can’t tell you when I watched the one in the bedroom. So why do I have it? Are you ready for this? I have the second television for Luna. It keeps here company while I’m at work and keeps her from barking all day long and annoying my neighbors.
The second word in the dictionary.com statement is “pretentiousness”. So many of us measure our success or self worth based on what we possess. Possessions do not make us better human beings. They do not make us better than those who have less. What gives us value is our compassion, our dignity and integrity. What gives us value is how we treat others and how we raise our children. So why do we pretend? Why do we allow an accumulation of “things” to make us arrogant? We are pretending, aren’t we?
How many of us rush to clean our house when we know visitors are coming? We hide our clutter in closets or under the furniture. We panic, fearing that we will be judged if something is out of place or that someone will see the dust and determine that we are lousy housekeepers. Does it ever occur to us that someone else might see that dust or clutter as a sign of someone who is living life and loving it without worrying about the minutiae? Visitors to my home are likely to find dust or clutter and if asked, my answer is always the same. I was too busy doing something fun or charitable to worry about a little dust. I prefer to keep it simple.
How many of us think we have to buy name-branded clothes to fit in or get our hair cut at the most popular salon to be accepted in certain social circles. Do you think your 1 carat diamond makes you more lovable than the one wearing a a simple gold band? Oh yes, we are creatures who think we can dress up the package and others will like us more. As children we didn’t worry about these things so when did it change? Is there anything more adorable than the child with their first birthday cake smeared all over their face? What about the child who found a mud puddle to play in and now wears that mud like a badge of honor? Children seem to just know that it’s the simple things that make us happy so why, as adults, do we think we have to hide behind glamour and price tags? Can’t a woman still be sexy in a pair of well worn jeans and a flannel shirt if her eyes are bright with love and a man just as endearing in a T-shirt and jeans if he has love in his heart?
“A simple life is not seeing how little we can get by with—that’s poverty—but how efficiently we can put first things first. . . . When you’re clear about your purpose and your priorities, you can painlessly discard whatever does not support these, whether it’s clutter in your cabinets or commitments on your calendar. ” - Victoria Moran,Lit From Within: Tending Your Soul For Lifelong Beauty
Lessons From the Word of the Day
Plain can be beautiful. Simple can be sexy, love, the most endearing and a smile, well, it’s simply priceless when it comes at the right time.
Life does not need to be complicated. We do not need “things” to make us more successful or more valuable. Our value lies within our hearts and minds and in the deeds we do for the good of mankind.
I wish you simplicity today. May your day be filled with the love you deserve. Take the time to share a smile or hold a hand. Forget the chores and take time to just be. You'll be glad you did.
© 2013 Linda Crist, All rights reserved