My dad is my idol! He enjoys the simple things in life. He wears the same Adidas track suit everyday like it was his second skin or uniform. By night he puts on his silver, satin housecoat he got free with a case of Coors Light, like it is the greatest thing in the world- he especially likes it when we call him a Hugh Hefner wannabe when he wears it. His simplicity has made him very resourceful. He uses his gym socks as yoga props, (yoga strap and face cloth) and instead of buying fancy tools to fix things around the house he opts for good olâ€™ reliable duct tape. He is even conscious about the environment. This was made clear when he bought an electric scooter that he uses to zoom around town on during the warmer months. Some may confuse his simplicity with cheapness but in my eyes he is the modern day Buddha. He is hilarious and a true inspiration – I love him.
If only we could all live more like him- happy with the simple things in life. Happy with an electric scooter instead of a huge Hummer with 30 inch chrome rims- or possibly meeting somewhere in the middle, maybe a Honda Civic. This is something I definitely struggle with. I will be the first to say I like nice things. I love my â€œnewâ€ used car, technology has made my life so much easier and the employees at some of my favourite clothing stores know me by name. I do not think this is a bad thing but I do think there are ways in which we can all live with less.
So in my quest to live yogically, I tried to simplify my own life and tread a little lighter on this beautiful earth of ours. I declared this past week as â€œbuy nothing weekâ€ where I do just that- buy absolutely nothing for a week. I would like to point out that this means nothing- no gas for my car, coffee, clothes- nothing.
This was an especially hard week because on Saturday I threw a surprise party for my brother Jordan and I desperately wanted to buy some new clothes, a gift for my big bro and a big bottle of wine to quench my thirst. So I needed a compromise. Instead of buying something new to wear I dove into my sea of clothes and wore something I already had. Yes, it is ridiculous to think that I need to buy new clothes every time there is a special occasion. It was so incredibly easy I decided to extend the â€œbuy nothingâ€ rule to last for another 30 days. I didnâ€™t feel bad not spending any money on my brother because he was very happy with the gift of my hospitality and he loved his surprise party. I was able to survive without wine because I just went around my party drinking everyoneâ€™s empties- hahaha nah just kidding- I was just sober. Honestly, the most difficult part of the challenge was not having my morning caffeine fix. Coffee, yet so simple, makes me so incredibly happy. This experience allowed me to step back and observe my habitual patterns and showed me how easy it is to cut down on excessive behaviours. But I also made a surprising discovery- the things I enjoy most are quite simple.
I made a list of things that I enjoy that are inexpensive:
1. Peppermint tea
2. Morning coffee
3. Head rubs
4. Reading my horoscope
5. A nice text message
6. A stranger that smiles at me
â€œIf we could only see the miracle of a flower more clearly, our whole life would change.â€ -Buddha
It really is true, when we slow down and stop the endless search for more, we are able to be happy with what we have. I can see how this is difficult because we are surrounded by excess. No longer are there just hamburgers- there are triple-patty, baconator burgers. We have all seen it before, those people who tan excessively. They reach a point were a healthy glow turns to a shade I like to call â€œSnookie orangeâ€. How do we know when we have crossed the invisible line of excess and are no longer living an enjoyable life, but a gluttonous one? Well I am not going to tell you how to live. That is not the intention for my posts. I just want to shine light on issues and leave the rest up to the individual. I just encourage a little awareness. If all you get out of this post is a smile on your face when picturing my dad on his scooter, wearing his hockey helmet, causing traffic jams as he zooms down Highway 8 at 45 mph- that is okay. That being said, if you do decide to sell that monstrosity of a Hummer and buy a bike- that is amazing!!! Just be mindful of your own cup – when it is full, stop pouring. Remember MORE does not mean better.
I will leave you with a very credible sourceâ€™s take on our age of excess and something for us to think about when tempted to overindulge in life.
THE PARADOX OF OUR AGE
We have bigger houses but smaller families;
more conveniences, but less time;
We have more degrees, but less sense;
more knowledge, but less judgement;
more experts, but more problems;
more medicines, but less healthiness;
We’ve been all the way to the moon and back,
but have trouble crossing the street to meet
the new neighbor.
We build more computers to hold more
information to produce more copies then ever,
but have less communication;
We have become long on quantity,
but short on quality.
These are times of fast foods
but slow digestion;
Tall men but short character;
Steep profits but shallow relationships.
It’s a time when there is much in the window,
but nothing in the room.
-The 14th Dalai Lama
Peace, peace, peace
On Valentines Day my friend David sent me a poem written by his mother. When I asked if I had his permission to read it to my yoga class he told me to be careful because, “she has such strong enerygy sparks will fly!” Oh David, l read the poem and I nearly burnt the already hot yoga studio down!! I spend this week investigating “the sparks.”