The thought of simplifying your life may seem completely out of reach for you today. Elaine St. James is a brilliant simplicity author and I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I haven’t read her work until now. If I had read Living the Simple Life when it came out in the 90s, I would have thought, “Simplify this life? Not gonna happen.” I’m not sure if I would have laughed it off or cried about how complicated my life was. I probably would have ignored it, because thinking about it would have been too painful.
If you feel trapped in your busy, complicated life, take a deep breath and just consider what things could be like if most of the complications were gone. What would it feel like if your clutter was gone? What would it feel like if your debt was gone? How about family drama or all of the things you said yes to when you wanted to say no? What about your job or commute? How would you feel if all of that was gone?
That might only be scratching the surface of your complicated life, so if you are completely overwhelmed with busyness and stress and think that the simple life will never happen in your lifetime, know this:
You are not alone.
Many of you reading this right now are thinking exactly what I would have thought if I had read Elaine St. James’ message before I was ready. It was a great idea, but not a great time for the great idea.
There is hope.
If today is not the day, tomorrow might be. Or maybe next week. When you are ready, the idea is here. The tools are here. The support is here. Simplicity will be here when you are ready.
It took years, decades even to accumulate clutter, debt and other complications so undoing that will take some time. Don’t compare your progress, set unrealistic deadlines or try to do it all overnight. Simplifying shouldn’t be added stress or pressure in your life. You don’t have room for that. If nothing else, simplifying should relieve pressure inch by inch.
Instead of taking on the simplicity movement all at once, choose one small thing to eliminate from your life. Then another and another. Slowly make room to consider bigger changes.
One of the reasons we keep our lives so complicated is so we won’t have to listen to our inner voice telling us what we need to do to make our lives work better -Elaine St. James
If I had heard those words in the 1990s, I wouldn’t have understood them. I didn’t know or trust my inner voice. If that sounds familiar, let these words be a soft whisper for today that get a little louder each day. And until you know or hear or trust your inner voice, let small actions speak to you. If the first step is only to set aside 5 minutes every morning to listen to your inner voice, that will be enough.
Don’t shut the door on a simple life, even if your life is very complicated. There is always hope in what you are willing to consider.