Living simply
November 1, 2010
by Jenni Sebora

Enjoying the small things in life is transforming. Actually, the small things are the major things that we should be grateful for, and many, if not most, of us take for granted unless, of course, they are threatened to be taken from us.

Sometimes, we have a tendency to focus on the “what we don’t have, but wish we had,” thinking process. We forget to be grateful for all the “what we already have.”

The ability to read the newspaper, to see the sky, to take a walk, and to enjoy a cup of hot cocoa on a cold winter day are some of those major appreciations we take for granted. I am learning not to.

I am currently reading the book by Richard Carlson, PH.D, “Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff . . . and it’s all small stuff.” The simple strategies in this book focus on ways to really put things in perspective and live life with more contentment, appreciation, enjoyment, and fulfillment.

We need to have goals, but not zealousness for perfection just for perfection’s sake.

Carlson puts it this way, “Whenever we are attached to having something a certain way, we are, almost be definition, engaged in a losing battle.”

We need to be grateful for what we do have and not so focused what is wrong and what we don’t have.

It does not mean we can’t try and do our best, but our focus should not be what’s wrong with our lives. It is an inner peace that is really what we all want. I believe that’s the truth. All the outward behavior is a result of how at peace we are with ourselves and our lives on the inside.

An issue that I know I have and a lot of especially women seem to have, is the issue of allowing our defeating “what we need to do next,” “what we need to get done,” thoughts. The endless to-do list spirals and steals our sleep away from us. We wake up during the night thinking about something that happened during the day, or just running through the list of things we think we have to get done as soon as possible.

Carlson noted that we need to nip that thought process in the bud before it spirals out of control. We need to literally stop this train of thought.

Write what you remembered down on a piece of paper and let it go. Allow yourself the relaxation and sleep you deserve. There really aren’t many things that have to be done “right now,” and if we just do our jobs, those things will get done.

It is also OK and actually healthy, to just sit and relax for awhile, without having to do some sort of task while we think we are relaxing. It is OK and just plain therapeutic, to sit on the porch with a cup of tea and just enjoy the moment. I am learning this, too. I don’t have to fold clothes while I sit down for a few minutes. I can just sit down.

Living more peacefully and with contentment is what we want to teach our children, especially in this fast-paced technologically-driven world.

We need to show our children that having goals is important, but it is not perfection that we need to strive for.

Living simply and with appreciation for what we have each day is what it is all about.