Today’s prompt over at NaPoWriMo invites us to write a poem about life’s simple pleasures. There are many. How could I choose just one? Or even a hundred? It’s almost midnight so I’ll contain myself and mention a few of my simple pleasures.
The sound of bubbles colliding with the sides of my glass as I sip my sparkling water Stepping outside and feeling fresh, cool wind on my face The sun piercing through the clouds after days of rain The scent of a fresh pot of green tea Feeling my fingertips growing calloused from playing guitar The sound of my children’s laughter The taste of a really crisp apple Sitting on my cushion in the morning and looking inwards Watching blossoms fluttering from the trees like snowflakes Lying down to sleep after an exhausting day Taking a nap in the middle of the day Watching ink spill out of my pen and onto the page The feel of yarn slipping through my fingers as I knit another row The sound of my sewing machine. The smell of steam rising off fabric while I’m ironing Hitting several green lights in a row Stepping into the hot shower when I feel cold Love welling up as I tuck my kids in at night. Walking Breathing Smiling Just. Being. Alive.
Little, simple things, such a precious gift: the routine, the calm, the boring, the repetitive, how we long for this now as it all disappears, temporarily. I’m hoping we all seize this opportunity to slow down and go within and remember what’s important to us, what we neglect in our habit of unconsciousness. Let this be an acknowledgement of what is always waiting for this moment when we pause and finally see.
This afternoon I was sitting in my kitchen window seat soaking in the warm sun, looking up at the blue sky, smiling, feeling peaceful. And then it struck me that my life is unique, and it is all mine, and I wouldn’t trade my humble, simple life for anyone else’s life, no matter how fancy or exciting. That was a satisfying moment.
I’m learning how to simplify… I can’t anticipate what’s next, but I can be here now. I can’t know what will happen tomorrow, but I can attend to what needs to be done today. I can’t know if my friends will be in my life forever, but I can love who they are right now. I can practice this willingness to stay in the simple present moment so that when the time comes, I can simply let go, simply let go.
Afternoon, the sky a light silver-gray, oak leaves orange brown, maple leaves red, bald cypress defiantly remaining green. Crows muttering to one another, and a tender breeze stirring what was inanimate into graceful gestures of surrender and flow. How could I possibly regret my past given that it brought me such a shockingly beautiful and stunningly simple present?
I said a final goodbye to the old house, handed the keys over, and closed that chapter. I drove away feeling free, grateful. Then it was time to teach. My students were open and lovely, willing to slow down, breathe, and try their best. Back home my kids were darling; I’m just amazed at how naturally positive they are; they are focused on the good, they get excited about sweet, simple things. We watched a movie and ate popcorn, then I pumped up the tires of our bikes and we road around the court. Chicken soup for dinner, then homework, then reading together. Ah, it’s the sweet, simple things that make life so blessed, so enjoyable. I vow to be grateful for all of it. This life is a miracle.
Humbled, grateful, totally exhausted, I finish my day with the satisfaction of knowing that I worked and lived and loved just as much as I possibly could. I envision an extraordinary life, which is lived day by extraordinary day. I look back and realize that every moment was guided, every moment was a gift. I look forward and savor the possibility that the best is yet to come. And I breathe into this now moment, relaxing into open awareness belly soft heart open simply glad to be alive.
It’s a simple way, a simple truth, a simple life— to simply open your heart to all that is. The trouble is, you don’t need a product or an expert to show you how to use it, and so this way isn’t advertised, and so most of us don’t know about it. But I promise you, I will spend my whole life living this open-hearted way as much as I can. And maybe my open heart could help other hearts to open along this path I walk. To know that I coaxed just one heart open by living my simple life… now that’s success!
Keep it simple. Complexity introduces volatility which becomes chaos. Keep it simple. Even if your brain seeks excitement and believes life is boring without it. Keep it simple. Life doesn’t have to be struggle; just to be here, breathing and aware is enough. Keep it simple. The most elegant things in life are right here where you are, now, but you’ll miss them if you’re focusing on some other time, some other place, some other moment. Do you want peace? Do you want joy? Do you want love? Do you want fulfillment? Keep it simple, my friends, keep it simple.