Is it reality?
Can it be achieved?
From my perspective, it seems like a dim reality. But as with so many other things in my life that I have sought after, I know that often we choose to accept the reality we have, rather than seek to change it. We see it as something we are trapped in, rather than looking for ways to find freedom.
As I am filling up the empty calendar days, this feeling in the pit of my stomach begins to rise. You know the one? That sinking feeling of, “How on earth am I going to do this and not lose my mind.” feeling.
I was watching an old movie about Francis of Assisi and was struck by his desire for simplicity. He had everything. Riches, power, women, and everything. AS the movie aptly puts it, “Power, riches, women, even God. He just sauntered out of his house one fine morning and plucked God out of the air as easy as catching a butterfly. It is all too simple.”
His friend was jealous of his peace, the ability to forsake every standard that was set by society and live a slow, peaceful life, serving others. While much of the movie is fiction, I am sure, it teaches me something.
It may have seemed impossible for Francis to escape his duties to his country, his father, the church, and go against what the normal standard was. He forsook marriage, took to living as a beggar or what we would consider “homeless”. That is not what I want, but the peace is something I envy.
I live pretty simply. We eat simply. We don’t drive fancy cars. We don’t accumulate debt. We serve others. But in all of that, comes a lot of responsibility and workload.
I would say, ask of yourself questions when determining where something falls on the priority scale.
- Am I putting my service to others above my own responsibilities?
- Are good things causing me stress?
- What is on the top priority list where it is a need for survival?
- What relationships are causing more anxiety than peace?
When we ask these questions, some of them may be hard to answer. They are not the same for everyone. We may need to cut back on good things. We may have to limit interactions with some people that we truly care about for a time.
But there is also a time when we need to ask other questions as well.
- Am I limiting myself from being hurt because I don’t want to deal with it?
- Am I caring for myself in a way that I can be of service to others?
- Would it be easier to set healthy boundaries if I maintained them?
- What things do I need to move off the top priority list because they never belonged there?
These questions are not always easy to answer as well as they constitute change we have to make. Change is not always comfortable. We may wish to protect ourselves from pain, when sometimes serving others is on the top priority list and it might cause pain. Perhaps we need to cut out sugar, so we have more energy, or allow ourselves to eat frozen pizza once in awhile so we don’t have the stress of cooking all the time to perfection.
The answers are not the same for everyone, but realizing that simple and slow might vary for you, but it can be obtainable in your own way.