Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. – Albert Einstein
#ThrowbackThursday Update (Oct. 9, 2014): Life has been complicated lately. With to-do lists longer than the days can accommodate, I’m looking for some simplicity once again. These seven things still remind me to slow down, simplify and breathe! ~ Alex
Every day I attempt to go about my life with the best intentions. My goal is not to judge the bad days too harshly or the good days with too much jubilation, but to live somewhere in the middle.
My middle is not filled with mediocrity or an area absent of passion; it’s simply a place of peace, knowing and balance. And part of living in the middle is doing seven simple things every day and then looking for the value in what happens next.
- Wake up early
Early in the morning I am free to start my day on my terms. By waking early, I can set the pace and create a mood that lasts the day. The quiet of my house has a soothing hum that vibrates against my heart. When things get busy later, the memory of this vibration will serve as a reminder to stop and wait for the silence where the truth can be heard once again.
Give yourself to the early morning. Begin by waking just 15 minutes sooner. Enjoy the taste of your coffee or tea a little longer. Use this time to journal, meditate or pray. Or, if you choose, sit and feel the simple joy of being alive for one more day.
- Give back.
I am a lucky man. My family and I have everything we need and most of what we want. It is with a thankful heart that I accept the gifts provided. Every day my intent is to give back so I can express my gratitude.
Giving back can be more than just giving money. It can be defined by providing a compliment, making someone’s day a little easier, or taking the time to do what someone can’t do. Giving back is offering a part of you freely and without expecting anything in return.
A simple act of giving can cascade from one person to another until a landslide of gratitude builds up so much momentum that its force can’t be held back any longer. Contribute to this momentum every day to experience its life-changing power.
Most of what I have today was once a dream. When I was in college, thoughts of having a family and a place to call home were the usual themes. What motivated me was the promise that one day my dreams would come true. And most have.
You can daydream whenever you wish. You don’t have to close your eyes; you just need to reach down and fetch a dream that may need a little light and some air breathed back into it.
- Connect with someone.
Life is meant to be shared and the need to connect is an important one for me. While time for self-reflection is necessary, so is the time we share with other people. True connection is seeking understanding and to ask one more question beyond, “How are you doing?” True connection is waiting for the answer.
I attempt to take one moment every day to stay in a conversation a little longer; call someone who has been on my mind or reply to an unanswered email. Connection provides me with the opportunity to nurture and to be nurtured.
There is security in knowing the challenges we face, we don’t have to face alone. Connect. Share. And then be fulfilled, inspired and understood, too.
- Challenge yourself.
Living in the familiar, inside your comfort zone, may feel safe but it doesn’t provide the opportunity to stretch and grow. Challenge yourself to do one daring thing every day.
My challenges typically center on acknowledging my needs. It is my nature to do for others first. So, my simple challenge every day is remember that I am important, too.
What you do can be simple as well. Ask for one thing you want, start a project or run an extra minute. The point is to do one thing that will take you a little bit closer to where you want to go. With each daily challenge you will see something wonderful happen – you find yourself becoming the person you want to be.
- Share your love
Of the all the things I say or do, the way I love matters most. Love extends a piece of my kindness to someone, or something else. I share my love by helping someone feel special; volunteering my time and talent; sharing my heart through my writing and by providing unconditional love for my family.
Give a hug, make time, listen, care, support and protect. All good, simple things to do; and especially good to do when they are powered by love.
- Rest and refresh.
My body signals me when it has had enough. When I fail to listen is when I crash and burn. I’m learning to back off the gas a little more and to take the time to unwind, decompress, and refresh my mind and body.
Life does comes at us hard and fast. Fatigue, stress and exhaustion begins to settle in faster than you may think, or notice. The best remedy for this is rest.
Disconnect from all of the busyness and reconnect with what brings you the most nourishment. Spend time with your partner, watch a guilty-pleasure television show, read a book, or simply be and enjoy the serenity of doing nothing for a while.