TRADING COMPLEXITY FOR SIMPLICITY = PEACE
Hello and Happy day to All!
I hope this blog finds you in well-being.
I’ve been enjoying some much needed time off. Yesterday, my buddy Rory Mullin and I spent most of the day relaxing in the garden. Rory hiked the hills behind my house while I stacked rocks. I also had fun drawing yesterday.
I’m back in the office this morning to conduct my PPS coaching call and the CHEK Institute coaching call, which I love to do so I don’t feel like I’m missing out on my vacation at all.
TRADING COMPLEXITY FOR SIMPLICITY = PEACE
This morning, my TAO studies were a reminder that peace often comes by way of trading complexity for simplicity in our lives.
Most of us regularly have the experience of feeling overwhelmed. We work hard to create the lifestyle we think we want, only to find ourselves facing an ever-growing stack of bills. Some of us get wise sooner than others and realize that having less often gives more; more time for yourself; more time for loved ones; more time to give yourself what you need.
Oddly enough, when I travel the world, I often see garden plots in different countries that you seldom see in the US. Garden plots are often government owned land that is leased very cost effectively to locals who want to grow their own food. They are sectioned off into beautiful little garden plots and each person can tend and grow as they please.
The photo you see here is one I took while visiting a garden plot in England. The people gardening the plots come from all walks of life, ranging from business executives to people that are just scraping by.
What I love about visiting garden plots is that when everyone is in their gardening clothes, you can’t tell the executives from those who are living simply. They are all there for one purpose!to meet their needs naturally.
Gardening is a beautiful form of meditation for many that can’t calm their mind otherwise. Gardening brings us back in touch with Mother Earth. We can rekindle our roots with the soil, the very source of our embodiment.
My personal background is one in which I came from a farming family. We lived very simply. My parents never had much money and couldn’t afford to create the kind of live my friends in cities lived with all the toys and hi-tech gadgets.
As I merged into the work-a-day world, I had to take on complexity in order to fit into the milieu of the work opportunities. This required extensive technical training in many instances.
In the army, I worked on the weapon systems of cobra helicopters and the training was very complex. When I left the army after serving as trainer to the US Army Boxing Team at Ft. Bragg North Carolina, I moved to San Diego. There, I immersed myself in many years of technical medical training so I could achieve success and financial stability in the medical arena.
As I became more and more successful, I found that I had more and more bills and less and less time to nourish my authentic needs and those of my wife and son with regard to their needs for being a husband and a father; I was too busy trying to make something of myself!
Now, almost 50, I have the hindsight to see that much of what I learned has been forgotten, yet my son and wife’s need for affection has not been forgotten.
As a young man seeking to create self-worth and value as a contributor to society, I was immersed with the facts and figures I thought I had to know to be useful.
Looking back now, I can see and feel how much of my core-energy was consumed by the process of memorization and the need to be valued. I can see that the essential time needed by my family was often displaced by my need to make something of myself. I can see that I entered into both “WE” and “ALL” relationships before I’d authentically found myself.
Today, though many seem amazed with the facts and figures that come out of me while teaching, the truth is that I’ve forgotten much more than I can recall. Though initially this can be a scary thing for the ego, as I’ve matured as a man and a teacher, I’ve found that the most essential things we need to embody don’t require any work to remember and live.
I used to travel with two full suitcases; one with clothes and the other was a library of the books and research papers I was working through to develop or substantiate functional concepts for my work.
Now, I travel with one suitcase and rely generally on one small book of teachings by Rumi, Lau Tzu, OSHO, or a teacher that embodies what I’ve come to know as truth teachings. I feel more at peace and alive than ever too! Now, Penny and I don’t need to hire two cabs to get all of our luggage to the hotel and my life has become simple and I’m more alive than ever!
Many years ago, I attended a course by visionary artist and metaphysician Rowena Kryder. The course was on the nine light bodies and 13 chakra systems used by the Egyptians. In that course, we did several mandalas and artistic expressions of what we were feeling as we internalized each block of teaching.
While doing the artistic expression exercises, I was overwhelmed with a feeling of peace and joy. It was as though I’d become a child again.
Rowena made it clear to us that the way our art looked from an aesthetic viewpoint was in no way a measure of its therapeutic value or effectiveness. I found this helpful.
As you can imagine, taking a course from one of the world’s best artists and being surrounded by her followers who were also very artistic could easily make one afraid to share their childlike art. Since experiencing the joy that came through me with art, I’ve created literally hundreds of mandalas and art pieces.
I’ve found over and over again that my art reflects my inner-state. I often have the experience of sitting down to create an artistic expression that emerges from a simple vision or feeling. Yet, as I watch the piece come together, I find that there are moments of satisfaction; I look at the art with joy and satisfaction, yet something in me wants to keep adding more and more.
Frequently, by the time I conclude, what I see on the page isn’t nearly as beautiful as what was there an hour before. This process cultivates awareness.
I drew this picture that I call “Soul Bird” a few days ago. This is what I call “doodle art”.
I got to the point in the creation of this self-expression piece where my inner-voice said, “if you add anything else, you are going to detract from the elemental expression, and looking at it will create clutter in you, not peace and contentment. So I stopped there.
Through this use of art, I’ve become more and more able to take that level of awareness into the rest of my life. I now catch myself over-explaining things at times and decide to stop so I don’t muddle the “picture”.
I’m in the gym and find myself satisfied with two or three well done exercises and a great 20-30 minute workout instead of doing what I’ve done in the past or what others are doing, which is usually what expresses their own inner-fears, judgments, or lack of creativity.
My art practice has taught me a lot about color and tone combination, all of which have emotional correlates. I’ve found that when I’m feeling cluttered, frustrated, confused or over-worked, I can begin creating the environment I need inside by expressing it outwardly as art. Once I “see it”, I find it easier for me to embody.
Sometimes, I must give myself permission to feel what I want to feel so I can draw it. This teaches me to be brave enough to shift my emotional state such that I can create art that supports what I want to feel inside.
I find that by creating freedom on paper, I can more easily create it within myself. By doing that regularly, I’ve improved my ability to guide others to experiencing the inner-peace and joy that is now my natural expression most of the time.
Today, I invite you to create simplicity and beauty for yourself.
Try doodling for fun and let go of needing to judge. Try drawing the beauty that you know you already have, but would enjoy seeing.
Pay close attention as you create, keeping your awareness open to when it is time to stop so you don’t simply reinforce habits that don’t ultimately serve your relationship with yourself or others.
Every now and then, pull out your art collection and look at it as an outside observer. As you look at your art, see if you can see the person in you changing, healing and growing.
That act of being willing to come to truly know yourself can be very powerful as a means of self-love and self-education.
Sometimes, seeing where we were or where we are helps us get clear on who, what or where we now choose to be.
Love and chi,