In my years practicing as a home health physical therapist, I had the privilege of spending time inside the homes of many families. The diversity of family systems and relationships I encountered was a true education. I found it fascinating to observe the many ways that patients and their loved ones dealt with crisis and change, all with different sets of circumstances, backgrounds and resources. There where some tendencies that I found, though, and one of these was the mindset of "simplicity" and its impact on dealing with change in life. If there is one thing we can count on happening, it would be change, and I was observing the behavior and reactions of people in the middle of significant and life-altering change. The tendency I kept seeing, repeatedly, was the one of people whose lives and attitudes where more on the side of simplicity, responded and adjusted to illness, hardship, and challenges in that same way. In other words, their way of life and attitude of "simplicity" greatly influenced their effectiveness in dealing with change in a healthy way.
In my own life, I have tended towards the overdoing and excessive side of living. Starting a task often ended up in a full out redo and upheaval of what was initially a small project. As I am growing older, I am considering the impact of my own ways, and actively pursuing simplicity. I experience change, it seems, at an exponential rate, and observe my own reactions, just as I did in my patients and their families. I remember the graciousness and kindness of the ones who operated in simplicity, and the way their focus was not on controlling the situation but on seeing the blessings in the middle of it all. I remember their spirits of calmness, and their response to my most frequent life question: "What's the most important thing you have learned in your life?"
"Patience and simplicity," they would reply with a smile.
As we all prepare to dive into summer schedules and activities, I hear those voices again reminding me of simplicity. Life is life, it comes with change and challenge in every season. But, we do get to choose our pace and method of operating in the middle of it all. Even for myself, a recovering overachiever and overfunctioner, I sit back and observe. I choose a simpler way, as awareness of the opportunity to do so grows in me. When Patti and I were just in the idea stage of "Arts and Wellness of Edenton", this theme of simplicity: embracing the present moment, finding the beauty in the smallest of things, engaging change as an opportunity to see things in a new way, and a quality of life where less is more; was in the forefront of our minds. We know and are increasingly aware of this in our own lives, and encourage our clients to see simplicity as a good and beneficial gift. May the summer bring you many opportunities to enjoy simplicity, to see and enjoy exactly what you are in the middle of, and to open your eyes more and more to the beauty of Life.