Live Simply, Think Gently

horse woman TheresaOtero

“Life is simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” – Wisdom of Confucius

I like to be barefoot, I like to take it slow.  I enjoy riding a bike, and I enjoy being near the water.  I like finding beauty in my life where I hadn’t noticed it before.  I like to have time to think before I speak and I like to feel connected to the ones I love.  I like to spend time with horses and I like to walk my dog.  I like to live simply.

I’m moving more toward a simpler life as I continue on this journey.  I have been moved to clean out my entire house this summer and shed myself of anything that has no purpose or meaning.  I’ve shed the clutter in my house as I’ve tried to clear out the negative thoughts that clutter my head.  With less “stuff” to worry about, I find it easier to live mindfully in the moment and create space to really connect with my friends and family.

I want to feel light, I want to feel fresh.  I want to hear wind chimes and birds singing when I step outside into the cool morning air.  I want to feel unencumbered by technology and start my day with my own thoughts.  I like the smell of hot coffee and the feel of warm morning sun as I start my day.  I want to live simply, but I also want to think gently.

This pull toward a simpler existence has spun my mind in directions it’s not used to.  With a life cluttered with tasks and too much “stuff”, I found my mind was constantly on high volume and there were several thoughts competing for my attention at once.  Living simply is not just about my surroundings and my belongings, it’s about living with more ease on the inside as well.  Being kind and gentle with myself involves an effort in my body, mind and spirit.  Quieting the alarms that have been pre-set for ages has not been easy.  Slowing down and trying to think one thought at a time has been a way to start.  Deep breath, look at the sky, close your eyes.  Exhale.  Move on.

I do love the hardly bearable feeling of craving something that I want so badly that I can barely stand still, but I enjoy the calming, soothing feeling of swinging on a hammock in the afternoon more.  I appreciate the feeling of yugen which is to awaken an array of inner thoughts through mere suggestion.  It is an intense, breathless feeling of inspiration and beauty.  But, a feeling such as yugen is meant to be enjoyed in small doses.  You can’t live in a state that takes your breath away, but you can revel in it for a moment, appreciate it, and find joy.  Thinking gently is about finding a state of mind that you can enjoy and still be a productive, functioning member of your life.

hammock blondieb38

Find balance, seek peace, crave joy.

When you learn to think gently, the volume is lowered and the level of intensity becomes manageable.  If you are kind to yourself and treat yourself the way you would treat someone you love, you may begin to notice more calm feelings and find more space for relaxing in your life.  Gone are the days of feeling guilty for taking a moment to myself.  I’ve reached the age of permission and I’ve earned my right to feel happy just by being born.

We deserve to be happy.  So I’m choosing to live simply and think gently.

 

photos from morguefile.com

Discovering Yugen

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Yugen is an awareness of the universe that triggers emotional responses too deep and mysterious for words.  Yugen is at the core of the appreciation of beauty and art in Japan.  It values the power to evoke rather than the ability to state directly.  The principle of Yugen shows that real beauty exists when, through it’s suggestiveness, only a few words, or brush strokes, can suggest what has not been said or shown, and hence awaken many inner thoughts and feelings.  “Yugen is to watch the sun sink behind a flower-clad hill, to wander on and on in a huge forest without thought of return, to stand upon the shore and gaze after a boat that disappears behind distant islands, to contemplate the flight of wild geese seen and lost among the clouds.” (urbandictionary.com)

The concept of Yugen suggests that true beauty lives in the moments of life in between the grand gestures of greatness and is found in the subtle, yet suggestive efforts that can evoke emotion beyond words.  Those fleeting times that take your breath away and remind you that life has depth beyond our awareness.  These times give us hope and courage to move forward and inspire the promise of more Yugen yet to come.  These moments are my muse.

From what I can tell there is no exact English counterpart for this word.  I believe it can be compared to being in awe of something or feeling a state on enlightenment.  An experience of Yugen is meant to define a moment of true bliss involving a profound sense of beauty.  For me, this type of experience evokes a reflective state when I can summon provoking concepts for further study.  I liken it also to a song that brings you right back to a moment in time or a smell that snaps you into an altered state.  Yugen should be celebrated as a natural high and a unique opportunity to marvel at the rare moments in our lives when we are lucky enough to witness nature’s true unaltered beauty, or just the intricate artistry of life.  There are beautiful things all around us, though we don’t see them everyday or even often enough.  But when you open your eyes to possibilities of finding more Yugen in your life, then more Yugen will appear.  You can’t find something you’re not looking for, and anything in this life that gives rise to feelings of such splendor is worth the endeavor.

Life is short and it is our only true job to enjoy it.  Claw to the top of the mountain and know that when you get there you will be able to stand in awe of the Yugen you have found and the Yugen you have created.

“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” – John Lennon

Photo courtesy of keyseeker on morguefile.com

myhappypromise

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