Meditations on Simplicity

Hi friends. I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend.

Today I planned to describe all the fun activities the kids participated in this week at Friends Corner. All the photos were uploaded. But my fingers froze at the keyboard-

I want to write about something else…bear with me.

This week I felt run down.

My daughter was waking up in the night again. I had a to-do list running in the back of my mind on a loop. I attempted frenetic multitasking in vain. This resulted in frustration and short tempers. We’ve all been there.

Thursday morning, I did not feel like getting dressed, getting my daughter dressed, and packing up her bag to go to Friends Corner. I wanted to do errands and tidy up. But we got dressed and packed our bag, and went…

And you know what? I’m glad we did.

Once I dropped our heap of items inside, Fay nuzzled up to me and asked me to read her a book. We snuggled and chose a story. Another parent dropped by and we had a heart to heart discussion. Later in the day, I observed Fay’s eyes come alive at the shape she managed to create out of play dough. I savored that small moment.

Friends Corner is a space in which I am separate from the dirty laundry, dirty dishes, smartphone email alerts, and scribbled to-do lists on the counter.

I am simply there, with my daughter.

Of course, none of us have the luxury of languid days and schedules!

Everyone’s life is different. Each family must evaluate their own priorities in order to arrange their own sense of balance and “down time” accordingly.

Some days, there is a real crisis, or an important deadline, sure.

But am I wrong when I say there are so many times when we can just let things go? To accept that there is no emergency even when it feels like there is one? To value slowness over efficiency?

I’ve been reading a book by counselor Kim John Payne entitled: “Simplicity Parenting.” The discussion and inspiration felt so timely for me.

 

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The book addresses the fast pace of our current lifestyles, and the overabundance of choices and stimulation. Payne asserts that such overstimulation leads to a sense of anxiety in the home. Families lose the peacefulness which fosters connection. He offers a model for change by outlining 4 areas to simplify: environment, schedules, rhythm, and media consumption.

When speaking to others who have read this book, I find that the message rings so true to our hearts. It validates our instincts that children thrive on connection- that they flourish with the space for discovery and reflection.And that we ourselves desperately need the kind of self-care that simplifying brings.

 

Payne says:

“What better reminder do we have than our kids of our own best selves, our less stressed and more carefree selves? In their silliness we see the echo of the way we used to be: when we were kids, yes, but also before we had kids, or even two weeks ago, before all of the stress of these year-end corporate meetings. Their joy, their infectious enthusiasm, their sense of “mission” as the poor dog is dressed in boxer shorts, cannot help but cajole you, and beckon you, to lighten up.”

I am grateful for the pause that Friends Corner gives to my day. I strive to allow for more pause in our home life.

Next week I promise to get back into our regular discussion of all the fun goings on at Friends Corner! We are so looking forward to Ioanna’s return on Thursdays for her Active Babies class.

 

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