Bella and the Spiritual Practice of Simplicity

Bella had been raised in a middle-class home. Her family had what they needed and even some of what they wanted but the home was simple and the life was too. The biggest extravagance was a simple cottage on a river that her parents bought when she was around fifteen or sixteen.

It wasn’t that Bella didn’t want a simple life; she just wasn’t sure what that looked like. It all seemed to be what it was compared to. Throughout the years she had had some ideas but nothing concrete. All her younger adult years were spent in an enforced simplicity because she stayed home with her children living on the hard-earned money her husband made in the factory. It took awhile to get over those very lean years once she started to work when the children were grown. She did go a little crazy on clothes buying for awhile!

Bella loved beauty, beautiful clothes, flowers and décor in her home. It didn’t have to be the best of the best but beauty on any level brought her great joy. She didn’t think that this was the thing that had to be axed out. She thought it might be more about the adding of stuff, like her dreams of a hot tub or a front porch. Improving things was definitely part of her personality.

These days there was a new pull towards simplicity. She wanted to stop thinking about what needed to be improved and just take care of what was. She was nurturing being in the present and letting go of the ideals that she had living in all the spaces of her mind. She landed on something so simple – pun intended! – what if she asked God how she could live in greater simplicity?

From the Book:

Simplicity creates margins and spaces and openness in our lives. It honours the resources of our small planet. It offers us the leisure of tasting the present moment. Simplicity asks us to let go of the tangle of wants so we can receive the simple gifts of life that cannot be taken away. Sleeping, eating, walking, giving and receiving love, the benefits we take for granted, are amazing gifts. Simplicity invites us into these daily pleasures that can open us to God, who is present in them all.

Aging has always been about simplifying and letting go. Sooner or later, we realize that we can’t manage all the stuff the activity anymore. We have to let go. The practice of letting go and embracing simplicity is one way we prepare ourselves for what is to come. One day we all will have to let go of everything – even our own breath. It will be a day of utter simplicity – a day when the importance of stuff fades. Learning to live simply prepares us for our last breath while cultivating in us the freedom to truly live here and now.

Suggested Practices:

1. Ask God to help you speak the simple truth. Practice speaking simply – no double meanings or half-truths that put you in the best light.

2. Uncomplicate your life by choosing a few areas in which you wish to practice “letting go.” Clean out the garage, basement, closet or attic. Go on a simple vacation. Eat more simply.

3. Intentionally limit your choices. Do you need six different kinds of breakfast cereal, hundreds of TV channels or four tennis rackets? What is like to limit your choices?

4. If you can get where you need to go by walking rather than driving, try walking.

5. Practice giving no excuses, no apologies, no spontaneous yeses.

Photo by Edward Howell-Unsplash

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