Simplicity in life
It’s definitely a rude awakening to be told that one’s entire life needs to be changed in the course of a few days.
But that’s what we’ve all been asked to do this year, and some of us are dealing with this better than others. Those who have had difficulty paring down their lifestyles have been struggling the most with it. If you lived for live football matches, music festivals and large throngs of people, it’s taken a lot of getting used to. But as the Internet likes to say every now and again…
And while no one likes being forced into anything, there’s a lot to be gained by seeing the beauty in simplicity. It is in itself a medicine, which involves learning how to read nature, take in its nectar and dispense with what no longer serves us. Through the Seven Pillars, one can reclaim a durable joy from fear and uncertainty, and one can further fortify it with plant medicines such as those from the 1CaB Healing Suite. It can truly transform us for the better if it applied correctly to our lives.
What is the pill which will keep us well, serene, contented? Not my or thy great-grandfather’s, but our great-grandmother Nature’s universal, vegetable, botanic medicines, by which she has kept herself young always, outlived so many old Parrs in her day, and fed her health with their decaying fatness.
– Henery David Thoreau
01. Envision your bliss
The High Priestess of modern-day minimalism, Marie Kondo, has gained international notoriety from teaching clients her KonMari method of decluttering one’s life. However, before anyone starts reaching for their trash bags, Kondo advises her clients to “[visualize] the ideal lifestyle you dream of” and to imagine themselves within it. That might seem trivial, considering how much daydreaming we do, or perhaps even unobtainable, considering how much of an ideal lifestyle in America seems so out of reach. In this case, one can imagine the mental and spiritual space you wish to occupy and exemplify. Here you are acting as the architect for your new dreamhouse, and you’ll be using little more than what’s laying on the ground. You can make a lot happen with it.
02. Discard what no longer serves you
Once that’s settled, one has to start weeding out unused things. It’s all about sparking joy, which is critical now, since so much that surrounds us would seek to extinguish it. No less a luminary as Henry David Thoreau concurred with this sentiment himself: ”Let our houses first be lined with beauty, where they come in contact with our lives, like the tenement of the shellfish”
Thoreau believed that only when one paired back, and began to listen to nature and experience life with as few distractions as possible, one could finally start to heal from the stresses and trauma inflicted by society. For my part, I clean out my living space every year of clothes or books that I no longer need. In addition, I also practice “mise en place,” a term derived from French culinary professionals which stresses keeping all necessary objects within arm’s reach. In my own daily routines and rituals, be it my office desk, my meditation station, or my kitchen, it helps me in paring down what I need, and storing the rest away.
03. Seize the Day by Cherishing Its Beginning
Yes, as Neil Sedaka once sang, Waking Up Is Hard to Do, or words to that effect. One good reason for that is to luxuriate in one’s dream state for a minute or two, something Thoreau himself availed himself of frequently during his time at Walden. “The morning, which is the most memorable season of the day, is the awakening hour. Then there is least somnolence in us; and for an hour, at least, some part of us awakes which slumbers all the rest of the day and night.” I myself shut off my phone and computer until 10 a.m. to all calls, so important is it for me to cultivate this unique mental state before it checks out for the rest of the day. You can read about my specific routine and ritual for this day here, but all that matters is that you understand how special a moment it is, and to let its peace permeate your day.
(For those feeling a little more adventurous, you might want to take some Equanimity with your tea and extend that moment a bit further into your waking life, if you don’t want the mushroom polysaccharide burst of Vital Recovery. Your call.)
04. Recognize the Glory of Imperfection
Got some news for you: no matter what you may do, it’s never gonna be perfect. And that’s the good news. For part of seeing a greater beauty in life is determining the beauty of impermanence, imperfection and change. Such is Wabi-Sabi, yet another Japanese concept that can help people embrace change with joy instead of sorrow. Amongst the seven elements of Wabi-Sabi is Kanso, which translates into, wait for it… simplicity. Much of what we find beautiful in life reflects our values, so finding beauty in the unusual or the seemingly mundane can be seen as a sign of healing, of making peace with the world.
A good way to work with this is to find something old of yours that isn’t in the best of shape, yet you have a strong sentimental value. Look at its details and its signs of wear. Can you find beauty in those signs of age or fading? Within those fades are the signs of wabi-sabi.
05. Take Your Medicine
Keeping it simple also extends towards whatever you put in your body as well. Certainly, whatever has been used-tested for thousands of years won’t steer you wrong, which is one of the reasons we at Medicine Box work with the specific herbs that we do. For instance, Thoreau often dined on boiled and salted purslane from his cornfield during his Walden days, which we also utilize in Vital Recovery. Mushrooms have long-standing use amongst Traditional Chinese Medicine. All provide elegant solutions to humanity’s enduring issues, and teamed together, they can do even more than solutions which focus on one cannabinoid or substance to solve every problem under the sun.
“What is the pill which will keep us well, serene, contented? Not my or thy great-grandfather’s, but our great-grandmother Nature’s universal, vegetable, botanic medicines, by which she has kept herself young always, outlived so many old Parrs in her day, and fed her health with their decaying fatness,” sayeth Thoreau. And that doesn’t only apply to 1CaB, but to the lifestyle, you are creating in this time of civilizational reinvention — or rather, rediscovery. Because the further down this road you do, the more you realize that it’s merely coming back to a source of deeper joy and beauty. Once you’ve seen it for yourself, you’ll be ready to assist others as well, too.