Cultivating Simplicity

Cultivating Simplicity

“My life will always have dirty dishes. If this sink can become a place of contemplation, let me learn constancy here.” –Gunilla Norris, Being Home

Here’s something that mystifies me: Seeing a drainer full of dry dishes getting piled onto by a layer of wet ones because nobody bothers to put away the original set.

Am I the only one who feels this way?

This is not about blame, mind you. I have my share of quirky habits that I’m sure are just as maddening to my friends and family.

The wet-on-top-of-dry thing is just something that bothers me. To me it’s like taking the clean laundry out of the dryer and throwing it back into the washing machine – again and again– until someone takes a moment to fold the clothes and put them away. It makes no sense.

More to the point, I wonder what the effect would be if everyone on the planet took one minute to consciously tend to one thing. For us in the west maybe it could be as simple as putting away the car keys or the remote control or the reading glasses in the same place every day. Rounding up all the stray cups and glasses from the living room before going to bed. Picking up the dirty clothes off the floor and putting them into the hamper.

Takes what?  Less than a minute?

And if that’s still too much to manage, it could be as simple as sliding the chairs back under the table. Or turning out the lights in rooms that no one is using. Closing the drawers ‘til they click shut. Capping the toothpaste tube.

It’s sounds so simple doesn’t it? But if it were that simple, why is it so hard? What’s behind the resistance?

Here’s what I know: When we insert awareness into any ordinary task, and repeat it every day, we create a sense of ease and fluidity that I can only describe as effortless, spacious magic.

As one of my students wrote me once:  “Just putting the dental floss back every night in the same place has been MIND BLOWING!!  Truly! And has flowed into other areas!”

Are you up for a fun challenge?

  • What can you do in one minute that would shift the energy in your space – starting today (or right this second)? Choose something that is a bit of a stretch but doesn’t overwhelm you.
  • Repeat the same or similar task tomorrow and every day for a week.
  • Keep it simple: One thing, one pile, one area. One minute. One week.
  • Watch what happens: Allow sensations to arise; notice what goes through your mind; feel the feelings that come up without taking them personally.
  • Have fun!

We’d love to hear from you!

  • What did you end up doing every day with your one minute and how did it make you feel?
  • How does your home or living space feel to you as a result?


Stephanie Bennett Vogt

Stephanie Bennett Vogt, MA., is the author of Your Spacious Self: Clear Your Clutter and Discover Who You Are and a leading expert in the field of space clearing. She writes and teaches internationally on topics of tending the home, restoring balance, and cultivating what she calls "spacious detachment."

Note: This Perspectives Blog post is written by a guest blogger of The opinions expressed on this post do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Dr. Greene or, and as such we are not responsible for the accuracy of the information supplied. View the license for this post.

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