At last month’s Women’s Yoga Group, a monthly gathering which I host at Raffa Yoga in Rhode Island, women came together to practice yoga and discuss a monthly theme in a supportive speaking circle – the theme last month was: simplicity.
Towards the end of our gathering, we sat in dyads and answered the questions:
(1) What is simplicity to you?
(2) What is one action step that you can take to bring more simplicity into your life?
When answering these questions I described simplicity with a material focus: having less stuff, less clutter, more organization, and open and well-lit spaces.Since then, my definition of simplicity has expanded.
This past Saturday I attended an all-day meditation retreat. We spent the day in silence and practicing various forms of meditation (sitting, walking, mindful movement, loving-kindness). At one point, the meditation teacher talked about silence and said that silence is one of the most complicated forms of simplicity.
Silence as simplicity.
She mentioned that silence is a luxury in today’s world.
Simplicity as luxury.
For a moment, my self-critic emerged and began asking why I had overlooked the importance of silence while planning the theming for the Women’s Yoga Group. Though, I was able shift this judgment into a sense of gratitude.
When I prepare a theme for the group, there is always a part of me that doubts the completeness of the theme— am I missing something major here? That is the perfectionist side of me talking.
But the truth is, whenever we are preparing something, there is really no such thing as finished or complete. If we wait for our work to reach completion, we might never get there. We might never feel that it is complete enough.
Instead, if we view our work as an unfolding process, we are more likely to reach a point at which we feel ready to share our work. Accepting that it might not be complete, but that is has reached a stage of unfolding at which it is ready to be shared.More and more I am coming to see that the themes for the group, and any work I undertake, is an unfolding process.
Actually, this is one of the aspects that I love most about these monthly groups:
The theme invites us to focus on an idea or concept for a short while; focusing allows us to watch our perceptions and interpretations of the theme unravel overtime.
When I was planning the theme for August, I didn’t overlook the importance of silence in regards to simplicity. It simply wasn’t part of my interpretation in that moment. Though thanks to the group and its support circle, I was primed to deepen my understanding of simplicity. I was open to receive the meditation teacher’s words and to allow for her teachings to further unravel my understanding of silence and simplicity.
Revisiting the questions asked at the Women’s Yoga Group:
(1) What is simplicity to you?
(2) What is one action step you can take to bring more simplicity into your life?
I will now talk about silence. The need for silence, the challenge of silence, and the gifts of silence.
My action step is to invite more silence into my everyday. The specific practice that I will focus on is to drink fresh lemon water in the morning, sitting out in my backyard enjoying what remains of summer’s warmth, in silence.
Is there any area in your life where you feel that you are not complete? Perhaps there is something that you’ve been working on that you don’t feel ready to share.
If you are to view this work as an unfolding process, rather than something that needs to reach completion, could you take what you have now, and share it, as is?
Even though it may not feel complete, trusting that what it needs to feel complete in your heart will come in time as part of an unfolding process…