Go Simple, It’s Better

Simplicity.  We get tied up in the trials and tribulations of life and tend to forget to pay attention to the simple things.  It is so easy to let stress or worry take over our brains and wander down a rabbit hole that is far from beneficial or helpful.  When I woke up this morning, my brain was sifting  through work tasks that need to be completed which lead to the to dos in my life that need attention. It does amaze me that I am my toughest critic and my harshest task master.  Sometimes I really annoy myself.  I feel like a one of those illustrations of a person with a miniature version of herself on each shoulder saying, “Get to work!” and the other “Go do something you enjoy.”  Balance such always one of life’s challenges.

While I was out walking my dog this morning, I actually considered spending the day on a proposal I have been discussing with my boss and colleagues.  Gross! It is a holiday weekend and I was actually thinking about spending my day on a powerpoint presentation! While I was away last weekend, I bought a gift for my nephew and needed to make time to drop it off to him.  My better judgement sent me off to make a special delivery and all motivation to work on a powerpoint deck dissipated.  My nephew is a toddler and loves to be outside and loves vehicles of any kind. He pretended to drive my car and we watched cars drive past his house.  Then I showed him how to flip the helicopters that fall from maple trees so they spin and fly around and then watched for airplanes in the sky.  It is so easy to enjoy the simple things and really satisfying to see how much children appreciate the gift of time.  My nephew reminded me that simple things are far more rewarding than a powerpoint deck or the worries or stresses we create for ourselves.  The taskmaster in my head was muted and my focus was on the moment in time.  Childlike wonder is necessary in every day life and it is easy to forget to employ it.  My other nephew, who lives many miles away, was found balancing a fork on his head instead of eating dinner the other night.  Who balances a fork on their head?  I have found the thought amusing all week because it is creative and entertaining and I have never thought of doing such a thing myself.  If you have no interest in your dinner, have fun anyway.  It goes for everything else, have fun doing things that would otherwise seem boring or obligatory.

Why is there so much obligation and pressure in life?  Why are humans so inclined to take time and focus away from awareness of the present moment.  Stress and worry take the brain to some place in the past or in the future or to a pile of worst  case scenarios and a mountain of what ifs.  We inadvertently stifle the childlike wonder required to stimulate mindfulness.  Awareness of who and what is in our presence goes out the window and stress or worry result in wasted time.  We lose out on the simple things that are fulfilling and meaningful by opting for entanglement in angst and concern about things likely unworthy of time and attention.  Funny how the mind works and how necessary it is remind ourselves to get off the runaway train and stop and smell the roses.

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How To Not Be An Adult

What to write. What to write.  That keeps happening to me.  What to write.  I have ideas and nothing seems compelling to me.  In fact, I have started a few things and returned a day later and found what I wrote was less than inspiring to me!  I have a hard time posting something unless I feel it is “right”.  I guess I am having a lot of that right now.  I have been working hard on designing a new project and am finding graphic/creative design is quite challenging.  I think I need to go watch some episodes of The Magic Garden or Reading Rainbow to regenerate the imaginative part of my brain.  It may sound odd but when I was a kid I never ran into any creative blocks and wonder when that started to happen to me.  I used to write and illustrate stories, paint, and draw whenever I had a chance.  I used to doodle on everything and I made cards for people and decorated letters I wrote. When I was younger I spent so much time using my imagination and doing things that were creative outlets – why back then did I lack the cognizance to keep that going?  I even used to read books and then imagine what it would be like to fly or to read minds because I found the stories other people created so interesting.

I had a paper route when I was in elementary school and as I rode around the neighborhood flinging papers, I would occupy my time imagining what it would it be like to create a machine that would produce any food item you wanted.  I delivered papers around dinnertime so my stomach was usually grumbling and I consistently started with orange soda and chocolate mousse as the first creations from this machine (I still live by dessert first, less keen on orange soda).  I remember thinking Future World in Epcot Center was the coolest thing I had ever seen because the futuristic displays were unlike anything I had ever seen.  I even wrote a book about it for my 4th grade class – I have to go dig that up because I know it is in a box somewhere.  It is really interesting to reflect on how I used my brain as a kid and how I use my brain today.  I still love food and I love to read about food and even find cooking to be a very therapeutic activity when my brain needs a rest..from me.  I was thinking I need to be more creative but the creativity is probably already there, it just needs to be unclogged, further.  I say further because I have gotten to a certain point and now I need something new to open up in the pathways of my brain to help my vision for my project and other things to come.

I am sure not all people lose the creative imagination we develop as children, though I wonder how we lose it or stuff it away in a box or drawer of our mind?  It is almost a shame because as I sit here, I wonder how corporate America, the government, education, all the foundational elements of society would be different if everyone had a teaspoon of sparkly stuff or elements of childlike wonder in every day activities.  Mandate: every person must take 10 minutes out of their day to sit in childlike wonder.  Take out your colorful pencils or model trains or look up in the sky.  Perhaps everything would be less serious and also covered in bright colors? Or maybe there would be more amazing, new ideas brought to light.  I have two 1 year old nephews and you can see their wonder in everything they do.  One loves airplanes and when he hears an airplane above, everything stops, and he strains his neck to see it.  It is awesome to watch.  To me, that is chidlike wonder that many of us take for granted.  The other nephew is an explorer, he likes to stand on top of tables and run around because everything is an adventure to him.  I hope from today forward they keep their sense of wonder and adventure as I know I will do my best to encourage it.  When they are my age, my hope is they will have all those creative pathways open in their minds and have ways to use them; unlike their Aunt who is working to find the keys to doors to all those pathways that somehow were shut along the way.

I may go find this book that my Mom had when I was growing up, How To Eat Like a Child.  I never appreciated the irony of it till now, sitting here typing.  It is about revisiting the joys and ploys of childhood.  A guide for adults!  As an aside, I was listening to an NPR interview with Delia Ephron this morning and low and behold this book came to mind just now and she is the author. An odd coincidence. Ok I digress.

Out of the blue I have finally written a blog post that feels right after several attempts in the last few days.  Pathway open though we will see about creative design ideas.

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Words of Wisdom - Hand-Cut Silhouette Papercut