Monday, December 19, 2011

Simplicity: A reminder

The Berry family leads an intentionally simple life. We don't have a lot of stuff, we don't have a chaotic household, and it's all by design. Having B in school for three years, plus having a toddler, and now being in my third trimester adds enough inherent activity. 

We both very much believe in the energy of a home and we want ours to be simple, welcoming, and filled with joy. Thankfully when both people are committed to one ideal, it's pretty easy to pull off. And yet, even with those practices in place, it's human nature to be myopic and accidentally cause yourself undue stress.

I have seven weeks left to go in the pregnancy and it's shaping up to be a difficult home stretch. Extreme cramping (it's been tested, I'm fine) has lead to many days where I can't get off the couch until the late afternoon, difficulty walking around the house, terrible discomfort, and the obvious mental stress and crankiness that brings with it.

The house is a mess right when I desperately want it to be tidy, I can barely finish the fun holiday things I had planned out, despite the fact that none of them were elaborate, and we're spending far too much money on take-out than I'd like.

So as I was thinking about the upcoming holiday events, all of them (even the ones that have to do with only me - like leaving cookies for people) felt extremely overwhelming and more like obligations than the happy events they're intended to be.

But a big part of it was because I was forgetting that it was possible to simplify. It literally never occurred to me that you can make just two (or even one!) batches of cookies and not five... It never occurred to me that you can buy appetizers and not make them because I never have before.

And I think this phenomenon happens to us EVERY SINGLE DAY. We don't know we can be calm and not stressed because we never have been before... we don't know that we can choose to feel compassionate instead of angry... we don't realize that there are different (and sometimes simpler) ways to approach everything. And forgetting that is what causes us stress.

So I made two types of cookies and I packaged them up. And everything I have to bring to every event will be purchased because that's all I can handle this year.

I wanted to pass this on because I bet you're forgetting too. I bet it's never even occurred to you that there is another path to whatever one you're on that's adding stress to your life. You can say no, or say yes, or spend less, or decline an obligation, or put your own needs above someone else's, or pursue your hobby next year, or whatever it is.

If you've forgotten, this is me and my experience reminding you.


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