“Voluntary simplicity means going fewer places in one day rather than more, seeing less so I can see more, doing less so I can do more, acquiring less so I can have more.”
I was watching the Grammy Awards the other evening and aside from the fact that it seemed to be a requirement that all women wear an outfit that was cut open from neck to naval, the ceremony was pretty much as it has been for many years now; part talent, part extravagance and part freak show.
But what caught my attention the most was how simple it is for real talent to be expressed. If you possess the gift of a pure voice, you can captivate an audience without thirty-two dancers, extravagant costumes, pyrotechnics, gimmicks or relying on the shock factor.
If you can sing, people will stop and pay attention. It’s that simple. Everything else either detracts from the talent or attempts to cover up a lack of talent.
Then I thought about how that same principle applies to our lives. As Confucius once said, “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”
I think age sometimes allows us to understand that concept more clearly. Because at its core, life really is simple. it’s our individual choices, decisions, influences, words and attitudes that complicate things. We just can’t seem to get out of our own way, even when someone hands us the directions.
We are infatuated with the accumulation of stuff. The brilliant mind of George Carlin did entire routines on this very subject. We laughed because we understood he was talking about us and yet we were incapable of stopping.
We think and over think. We accumulate and store. We find the easiest path and decide there must be a better one. We look out the window and want that color grass. We strive to achieve without considering the cost. We find peace in the simple beauty of a sunset on a quiet beach and decide it would look better if there were thirty-two dancers performing in extravagant costumes on a party boat just off the shore line.
Somewhere, Thoreau is dying a thousand deaths.
The most amazing moments we have all experienced in life; the ones that stay with us forever, are never planned and usually the most simple.
We each have a voice and a song to sing. How we choose to live that song, is entirely up to us.