Confucius once said, “Life is really simple. We insist on making it complicated.” Yet, somehow, if you were to ask anyone around you about the validity of this statement they would probably tell you that Confucius’s words no longer carry the same weight they once did.
Society is in a constant state of unrest. If you sat long enough to feel your body’s vibrations, you would notice an ever present hum. The tic that allows someone to get up every hour, on the hour, because their iWatch tells them to. An adult who sits at a coffee shop but adjusts their feet, hands, computer, or phone at every chance. This is the norm. We cannot find a place to be, for even a moment, when we aren’t already thinking about what comes next. The ideas of being grounded and present are foreign.
In today’s society, nothing is simple. Or is it?
It is most common to find minor forms of anxiety, like the feelings of nervousness or worry, in just about everyone. Some forms take on a bigger monster and rear their ugly head in ways that are debilitating. Each will take away the ability to feel ease in the moment. Imagine Confucius telling someone to sit and breathe, when all they want to do is check for the next email or consider the possibility of running into someone they don’t get along with. While these may seem like perfectly acceptable reasons to feel uneasy, they each hold the same complication. Within each form of anxiety there is a common language, words like: avoidance, fear, irrational, apprehension, and worry are prevalent.
Each boils down to one idea: the unknown.
Finding simplicity in life is a true possibility. Consider the five basic needs from Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. The stages include physiological needs like air to breathe and food for sustenance, safety, love or belongingness, esteem like achievement, self respect, and finally, self-actualization or realizing your full potential. With the smallest amount of effort, these are all easily attainable. However, as a society we must find work to make money to pay for even our most basic needs.
Some thoughts to ponder:
- Nutritional foods to ensure the health of your family are found at local markets and every grocery store. (Big retailers charging minimum wage for a carton of eggs are unnecessary.)
- A home that meets the minimum requirements can make you happier than the home that is filled with stuff or in constant need of tending to because it is too much to manage alone.
- Keeping your loved ones close by, if even in voice or writing, helps to fulfill the need for love.
- Putting forth your best effort in all you do and then continuing to do the things that bring you joy will cover the final pieces. (A job that requires extensive effort, toys with your mental well-being, and forces you to spend time away from your first three major needs does nothing except complicate your life).
Maybe Confucius had it right so long ago. Perhaps Confucius still has it right. Life can be really simple if we allow our basic needs to be met. The fear of the unknown will steal your joy. Live for the good and beautiful present moments. A steady mind causes joy and simplicity in life.
Erin Macdonald is a certified yoga instructor (200 RYT) through Yoga Alliance. She is married and has two toddlers running around in her Ohio hometown. Her passions include living a healthy and natural life, spending time in the studio or gym, and spreading her love of an active life. You can learn more about her on her blog, Sometimes Blonde, or connect with her via Twitter and Instagram. Erin recently became a Graced By Grit Influencer (use promo code PRODEAL387 for 20% off your entire purchase) and loves spreading the mission of gracefully pushing through the grit in life.