My Experiment in Forced Simplicity

My Experiment in Forced Simplicity

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Sometimes we get what we ask for without knowing it. And once in a while we dont like what we get, even though we requested for it. This is what happened to me a few days ago

Joyce and I just made our annual autumn pilgrimage to Assisi, Italy where, with a small group from four alternative countries, we were uplifted by the robust legacy of Francis and Clare. Francis especially conjures up me to discover the enjoyment of simplicity and celebrate the divine in nature. After a week absorbing the heavenly energies of this place, along with all the affection in our group, I am inspired for many months. Ill never forget the 1st time I saw the film, Brother Sun, Sister Moon, in 1973. I left the theater with an overwhelming desire to give away all my possessions, and reside the heavenly straight forward life of a wandering monk. Even without going through this extreme change, I have held Francis model of simplicity as something to constantly instruction my life.

So, returning home from Assisi last week, my heart yet again called out for the gift of simplicity. And here is how my hearts call was answered. The weather was so hot that, one day, I took our dogs to a neighborhood seashore. We all had a great time, me walking and the dogs retrieving tennis balls from the sea. I got back to my truck and knew immediately something was wrong. Someone had broken in and stolen my telephone and wallet from the glovebox. Its funny how my mind refused to trust what my eyes saw. I had to open the glovebox several times to be certain these precious possessions were in reality gone. They were.

For someone so inspired by the poverty and simplicity of St. Francis, its embarrassing for me to admit how dependent I am upon my smartphone. I have numerous apps for just kind of the entire thing. It used to be that my brain was in my head. But now its too often in a six inch long little metal box with a screen.

And then theres my wallet, with credit cards, drivers license, medical insurance cards, and all way of items just ripe for id theft. Within quarter-hour of the theft, the burglar had charged a huge amount at a neighborhood gas minimart.

Yes, I was shocked. Yes, I felt violated. And yes, I felt discouraged by the varied hours and days of work involved in protecting my id. What a concept, id theft! Used to be, our id could not be stolen. But, alas, now it can be, on paper anyway.

Yet I couldnt help feeling another a component of me. Somehow, I cant quite believe St. Francis with a smartphone and wallet full of credit cards, assembly a leper on the street and saying, Id love to give you something, but please wait on the identical time as I find an ATM.

Im certainly not St. Francis, but I now had a rare opportunity, even for just a little time, to be unplugged from the high-tech pace of the twenty-first century. When I could momentarily separate myself from the work and discouragement, there was a certain feeling of freedom, and yes, simplicity.

I ought to confess, even walking the dogs on unique trails I have built fundamental right out our door, I have my mobile telephone with me (at least its on airplane mode) to take heed to music or an audiobook. I know better. Walking the dogs in nature could be an opportunity for reflection and silence, or listening to the natural sounds of the wind or the birds. So thats the 1st thing I did (after cancelling my credit cards). I went for an extended know-how-free walk with the dogs. It was liberating! I imagined Francis, in the early 13th century, walking everywhere in Italy and beyond, mostly barefoot, and often singing praises to God. I started singing too. It was extraordinary!

When I got home, Joyce said she had texted our three grown children kind of my misfortune, and requested them to comfort me. They reminded her that they couldnt textual content or telephone me. She had forgotten. Texting especially has largely replaced telephone calls in our lives, especially with our kids. So I walked two minutes down the hill to Ramis little house, where I could stopover at with her in person.

Simplicity is a key to non secular expansion. Gandhi understood the key of simplicity. The Shakers sang, Tis a gift to be straight forward, tis a gift to be free. Tis a gift to come down where we ought to be. Two months ago, Joyce wrote her column kind of clearing clutter as a component of her non secular retreat. There is stagnant energy in not-needed possessions that preserve us from our freedom.

Simplicity is being directly hooked up to nature. The Native Americans understood this well. Haridas Baba, one of our early non secular instructors, said, For the ones that wear shoe leather on their feet, the entire world is then covered by shoe leather. Its a metaphor for the layers we put between ourselves and the natural world, separating us from this vital, life-giving connection.

This is one of the excuses Joyce and I ought to spend time outside, preferably in nature, daily. Its additionally why I crave the desert. At least once a year, moreover to camping and river trips with Joyce, I go on my own form of vision quest, normally an extended trip on some remote river, where I typically dont see another person for days at a time. Recent research is finally proving what weve intuitively know all along. In one seriously look into by cognitive psychologist, David Strayer, 22 psychology students scored 50 percent higher on creative problem-solving tasks after three days of desert backpacking. Doctors worldwide are calling it The Nature Cure.

I just spent an hour waiting in line at our nearby DMV to get a new drivers license. Over 90 percent of the people around me were glued to their smartphones. I most definitely would have been too, catching up with office work. But now all I could do was stand in line. It became a meditation for me. I was mindful kind of my breathing. I started to note the goodness and great thing about the the majority in this busy place. Then I started singing. No, not out loud. Just very quietly to myself. I didnt want to draw attention to myself. But I was truly happy and at peace, enjoying my check of forced simplicity.

Here are a few opportunities to bring more love and expansion into your life, on the ensuing longer events led by Barry and Joyce Vissell:

Feb four-11, 2018 Hawaii Couples Retreat on the Big Island
Jul 22-27, 2018 Shared Heart Summer Retreat at Breitenbush Hot Springs, OR
Oct 11-17, 2018 Assisi Retreat, Italy

Joyce & Barry Vissell, a nurse/therapist and psychiatrist couple since 1964, are counselors near Santa Cruz, CA, who are widely regarded as among the world's top experts on mindful relationship and private expansion. They are the authors of The Shared Heart, Models of Love, Risk to Be Healed, The Hearts Wisdom, Meant to Be, and A Mothers Final Gift.

Call 831-684-2299 for extra guidelines on counseling sessions by telephone or in person, their books, recordings or their schedule of talks and workshops. Visit their web site at for their free monthly e-heartletter, their updated schedule, and inspiring past articles on many topics kind of relationship and residing from the guts.

Author's Bio: 

Joyce & Barry Vissell, a nurse/therapist and psychiatrist couple since 1964, are counselors near Santa Cruz, CA, who are widely regarded as among the world's top experts on mindful relationship and private expansion. They are the authors of The Shared Heart, Models of Love, Risk to Be Healed, The Hearts Wisdom, Meant to Be, and A Mothers Final Gift.

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