Sunday, October 13, 2013

thirteen | practicing simplicity

paper-like marigolds; delightful decoration

Living a less-distracted life: when you live out of a suitcase for a month, without the distraction of work, homelife, school and to-dos, you soon realise that your simple life is actually quite complicated.

When all your belongings fit into one bag and you don't have anywhere to be but here, and now, you get to know yourself quite well. And sometimes, the things you discover aren't all that pleasant, especially when you realise that for the good part of a year you have been worrying, unnecessarily so. 

I definitely inherited the worrying gene but this year, as my workload has increased and our life has become busier, I have become rather anxious. It's easy to dismiss it when there's a good excuse at hand but when I was sitting in a villa on the edge of a ricefield, nowhere to be and nothing to do, I was all out of excuses. It was just me, my anxiety and the admission that it was something I needed to deal with. 

Whilst mulling over the causes and effects of everyday worrying I had the opportunity to observe life in a small village just south of Ubud. The locals live in simple stone compounds with the most basic of belongings. They work hard, but happily, and their days are punctuated by ritual and ceremony in keeping with their strong Hindu faith. They laugh and they smile and time is not something they adhere to. In Bali, there is no rush. Ever.

As I watched and contemplated I realised: Bali lacks convenience but life is rarely complicated. My life, at home, is all ease; I don't need to sweep dust out of my two-room dirt-floor home, I don't have to wash my clothes by hand and I don't need to carry buckets of cement on my head to feed my family. At home, everything is convenient yet the day-to-day is rarely simple. My diary is brimming, deadlines are the norm and I (along with so many others) am racing against the clock and the calendar.

               I am still moving to a Bali rhythm; slowly and with little urgency. The things that bothered me before I left don't seem that big or important anymore. Spending time away from home definitely offered me a good dose of perspective and I've returned with a new set of priorities. 

So: identify the complications in your life and ask yourself - are they necessary and are they worth the worry?

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