I was having a conversation with a friend recently about the simplicity of words in a song and yet how much they can impact us emotionally. Many of the Beatles songs for example are incredibly basic in their wording and structure: All you need is love. Let it be. I want to hold your hand.
So it got me wondering, what if life really was incredibly simple too and we’re all just over complicating things? What if by acknowledging the simplicity, we get to lean in and really just ‘be’ – finding joy, fulfilment and happiness from this?
When I pause to think about the moments in my life where I have been filled with energy, love, lightness – it really has been those moments when I have LET IT ALL GO. (I literally just took a deep breath and let it all out as typing that, sooo relieving!). I’ve simplified. I’ve given myself permission to stop overcomplicating and just take it one. step. at. a. time.
I used to get quite worked up returning to my hometown for a visit. In my head I was telling myself I had to ‘do it all’: visit everyone, proportion out exact ratios of time for each person, give to each of them in a way that suited that individual perfectly, be everywhere. My days would be jam-packed. The trip would be over in a flash. And I would leave frustrated, stressed, and feeling completely disconnected from my loved ones. Regardless of the fact I had just spent time with my nearest and dearest friends and family. Quite often I would return to my own home and end up sick, usually with a cold or spout of tummy pains.
When I started to question myself about the way I was going about these trips, I realised I really was overcomplicating things. I was aiming for perfectionism and feeling like I had failed every single time – because the changes are I’m not going to perfectly please everyone. And my ‘perfect’ mathematical Tetris rules were bound to be defined differently by each of the shapes in my life, no matter how explicit I made them. Because we’re all human. All with our own perceptions and lens of the world.
I must admit it has been a very gradual shift for me to truly move away from ‘perfect’ trips home to a place where I can feel more connected and loved. And while I’ve made lots of progress, it will continue to be an evolution as people move and the places I return to change.
It’s certainly not always easy. It has involved what I feel are incredibly tough choices for me and lots of saying No. However what I do know is the more I have simplified, the more I have been in the moment. Fully. Truthfully.
And being in the moment really is the most beautiful gift. It’s what is most important to me I’ve realised over time. It is the quality time with my loved ones – not a tick box exercise. (Side note – I learnt a lot about myself and how I feel more loved through Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages, I didn’t even need to get past the first sentence of the book to immediately identify with quality time being my primary love language. I realised I hadn’t been true to myself on that for years and wondered why I also wound up feeling frustrated and … unloved!).
I know when I’m coming from this place what I’m actually choosing to do is trust myself. Trust that my love is coming from the right place. Trusting that when I choose to say No and it really hurts, that there is a deeper purpose to it and I’m really saying Yes to me. Trusting that I love myself enough to know that when I keep things simple, I’ll be completely surrounded in love.
It’s also the reason why I’m more than happy on the couch with a cup of tea in my loved ones’ company, than at a big dinner party these days. It’s the reason why I love just being in the company of nieces and nephews – regardless of if they’re on their iPods or hanging out with their friends. It’s the reason why I treasure online apps like Skype, WhatsApp and Viber as they give me the opportunity for even a 5 minute call.
Because what truly matters is that I’m coming from a place of love when I simplify.
And, after all, isn’t that what it’s all about?
Because, all you need is love.