the sacredness of the everyday


Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. -Leonardo da Vinci

There is nothing more graceful than simplicity.  Elegance stems from our ability to appreciate the essential nature of things.  A table, simply set. A garden exploding with goodness.  A glass of wine shared with a friend on a breezy, warm summer evening.  None of these require anything more than an appreciation for what many would consider the everyday.

It's in the everyday that the sacred lives.

Sometimes I have a hard time getting a grip on all the things I want to do.  I get frustrated with chores.  I end up muddling through and not doing anything particularly well.  My creativity gets the best of me when I know that it's simplicity that needs to have the upper hand. Mindfulness. Focus.  The fact is that if I can organize my thoughts and day and do one thing at a time, the likelihood of doing that one thing well increases exponentially.  And the other fact is that if I get my chores done, one after the other, in a way that does not deplete my energy, then my creative time is so much more valuable.

By focusing on the task at hand, we honor the sacredness of the everyday.  I can never understand when people consider the everyday to be boring, when it is in the everyday that the essence of life is contained.

To get into a rhythm of creativity, we need to find a rhythm of simplicity in the everyday.   Being creative doesn't happen in isolation - it happens as an extension of our habits.  If we have good habits in keeping our lives simple, then creativity has a chance to flow.  If we choose to make our lives complicated with unnecessary distractions, there simply will be no time, no energy and no real desire to allow creativity to blossom.  There won't be room.  It's just that simple.

In keeping our routines straight forward, in practicing mindfulness with every day chores, in being aware that complications are only two or three anxious thoughts away, we go a long way to mastering our own time and making space for our own creative muse.

We certainly need room to try things out and to give ourselves the freedom to fail. It's the easiest thing in the world to limit ourselves to a tiny amount of time during which our creativity is supposed to bubble out of us like a can of shaken Mountain Dew.  We put so much pressure on ourselves to create something meaningful, beautiful, orginal, expressive and the result is frustration, disappointment and the false notion that we're just not that talented.

But it just doesn't work that way.  Creativity comes to us, pours into us, through how we live our lives. How much we are willing to give up and simplify and clarify.  It's not like artists wake up one morning and paint masterpieces.  Their lives are the food for their creativity.  I'v noticed something in myself:  the more I choose not to allow fear and anxiety and complications and being overwhelmed to dictate my time and my behavior, the more room I have emotionally to create.  And the more room I have emotionally, the more room I am capable of dedicating physically.

It's not that it's always easy, or even always possible.  That's why it's called the practice of mindfulness, as Michelle Fabio tells us.  It's in the practice that we notice small differences that can drastically improve the quality of our everyday lives.  Simplicity and mindfulness are ways of showing respect to the sacredness of the everyday by giving the everyday meaning and purpose.

An eggplant plant, carefully tended to, will produce big, beautiful nutritious eggplants, with one being enough for a whole dinner. A cake batter carefully and purposefully mixed will yield a better cake.  A kitchen carefully cleaned will be a pleasurable place to make a simple and lovely dinner.  A sheet carefully hung will not have to be ironed (my personal favorite!).  I like good cakes, simple dinners and time to spend making pots or writing instead of ironing. And I really love eggplants sauteed in olive oil.  A little too much, in fact.

I urge you to read this wonderful post by Courtney Carverfor more inspiration concerning simplicity and creativity. Reading Courtney's blog is like drinking a tall glass of fresh water with lemon on a hot summer's day.  Nothing more simple or beautiful than that.

I wish you a simply beautiful day. Here's my eggplant still in its flower stage.  I saw it this morning while walking around my house. Goodness abounds and waits to be noticed - mindfully.