Simplify your life

This morning the daily quotation on my calendar page says: “Life is frittered away by detail…Simplify, simplify.” I like it. It rings a bell, my bell. My nature is to get carried away most of the time by thinking of the chores that must be done. I have to make a phone call to a person I cringe at, there are numerous bills to pay. A visit to the dentist is due and the kitchen needs a paint job. See? Not only do I forget to think about the things that could cheer me up, I mostly spend my time on thoughts that bring me down. My thoughts are literally frittered away by things that I abhor, like I give myself constantly a personal brainwash.

Now. If I take a closer look at the stuff that absorbs my mind, I realize that it is made up of sheer details, and that by only paying attention to details -to isolated particular items-, I will never manage to get a bigger picture of life! In other words: call me small-minded! Plus: once I tick all the to do things off my list, the day is gone, so is my energy. Another day is frittered away. If this is one of my rare clear moments, it tells me that all my thoughts, without any exception, are set in the future. Never in the present moment. It is as if I am not living now. Instead I am kind of an anticipation machine, merely focused on situations that are to come. For heaven’s sake! Is there any room for fantasy in this thinking pattern? For dreams? Inspiration, creativity? For silent contemplation? Exactly! No. Feelings of regret are seizing me now…

How the hell am I supposed to simplify my life, when it seems to me that I am not even able to simplify my own thoughts? What the hell does the author chalk talk about? And who is he anyway? Meanwhile I am stuck in one of these typically luxembourgish traffic jams and I have plenty of time to google him. Henry Thoreau. He was an American philosopher and poet who became mostly famous for living more than two years in the woods. Seeking for a simpler way of life, he lived in a small house that he had built himself. Around the 1850s, it says, living in a simple way was a revolutionary lifestyle. Well, well.

Let’s be honest, nowadays a simple way of life is more revolutionary than ever.

As I speak, there is a Mercedes behind me. A Porsche in front of me. As well Henry Thoreau experimented with not engaging in the six days on with one day off working routine, but he got into working in a more flexible way, -as a freelance, as we would put it nowadays. Sometimes he was working in a pencil factory, at other times he was a land surveyor. He lived day by day, while tomorrow was uncertain. I think that a certain level of uncertainty should keep the motor in my brain running and prevent me from turning into a routine machine.

Furthermore it occurs to me that I DO HAVE the ability to make my day a more joyful, a more intense experience.

Yes, Henry! By stopping to overthink situations. By focusing on the present moment instead. Now is all there is.

And simplicity is another other key that opens a door to places where the grass is green indeed. Thoreau knew it, children know it, animals know it. They rather sit in the grass than in a Porsche. You will never guess what I did after work today! I went straight to a forest in my home area. First I spent my time observing a team of ants transporting a giant leave. Then I sat on a bench under a huge oak tree with my eyes closed. Listening. Smelling. Then I was stretching my back and  yawning with my mouth opened wide. Gosh, those simple things made me feel so good!


Linda Graf

Mady is looking back on 18 years of experience in the Luxembourgish media world. She quit her job at Revue to launch an online magazine in which importance will be given to what makes us feel good – inside and out.

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