‘Always Aim High’, ‘Reach for the stars’, ‘Dream BIG!’, ‘Awaken the Giant Within!’… The motivational bytes yell at us… And I, she who has long harboured dreams of world domination, contemplate reaching in and turning these loud little imploring platitudes off completely. It has occurred to me that perhaps they are complete propaganda. It has struck me that they bear a remarkable resemblance to your garden variety egoic delusion… You know, those mental viruses that urge you to look ‘out there’, always ‘out there’. With just a little tweak of perspective it’s easily seen that this ‘motivational’ bandwagon is actually leading us on a careening course away from that which could truly change our lives – Simplicity. The willingness to dream small.
Don’t get me wrong, parts of me are kind of struggling with this idea as I write and contemplate it. I literally have a dozen page word document called ‘Life List Goals’ that I wrote about 5 or 6 years ago which lists everything from the desire to be able to attend various festivals around the world to ‘Create a vegetarian restaurant chain rivalling McDonalds’. In previous manifestations of myself I have been a manic ‘doer’ and damn proud of it. I LIKED doing a dozen things at once, I got high on the thrill of keeping many things in the air at once, I had BIG dreams and I wasn’t afraid to shout them from the rooftops. I would gape incredulously at people who had the audacity to be content with their same-same job, their same-same house and their same-same life. I had a barely contained contempt for those people who, in my judgemental eyes, had no ambition… Much of this seems to be falling along the wayside as the winds of change seem to be pushing my life towards a slightly different course these days…
I am being shown my attachment to these grandiose dreams of mine and my constant, competitive desire to be ‘better’ than the next (wo)man is being held up to the light… Like any dark dwelling creature, my fiercely competitive streak is not the biggest fan of the light and I have poured much imagined equity into these grandiose dreams of mine… Perhaps it is time to cut my ‘losses’ and examine an alternative – Simplicity. I feel tantalising close to making the switch from ‘More. Bigger. Best.’ to ‘Less. Simple. Enough.’ If previously I was on The Super-Highway of Dreams, now I want to turn-off, take the scenic route, stop the car and get out and walk.
‘What can I do to create the simplest, most peaceful life possible?’ is a question that seems to fly in the face of so much of what we currently value – ‘important’ careers, material gluttony and complex and complicated lives- but values like this can, and must, change. We clap and cheer wildly when various individuals or nations announce ambitious plans for ‘world peace’ and yet we seem to shy away from making our own little ‘worlds’ bastions of peace. ‘Peace’ and ‘simplicity’ are bosom buddies, find one and the other is almost always close by.
A stronger desire for peace and simplicity has focused my ‘goals’. After so many years of being told (and believing) that I’m not really living up to my ‘potential’, that I should push myself harder, excel more and create large, illustrious goals, my goals today are simple – grow some of my own food (and connect more with my food in general through farmer’s markets, home cooking etc), appreciate and cultivate my ‘free time’ (I have had A LOT of free time over here and, up until last week, assumed that this little season is largely the calm before the storm and returning to Aus would mean going in guns blazing, a million things to do and achieve and strive for…But now I think I’d just like more of the calm…), respect the people I am in relationship with more ( How can I ever expect to be allowed to share with ‘the world’ when I’m yet to truly value those I am already sharing with?), work for the simple pleasure of working and contributing to society in a small, dedicated, compassionate way (Free from the tyranny of the pay-check and knowing my financial and practical needs are simple and easily fulfilled.) and create, not because it is part of my ego’s ‘master plan’ but simply because it enriches me to do so.
It’s pretty simple really…
If there was more simplicity in your life, would there be more peace?
If there was more peace in your life would it lead to more simplicity?