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Wrestling with the Idea of Living Simply: Removing the Spiritual Clutter

Our Retreat Planning Team met today, for the first of our meetings leading up to an April 10 retreat. At these early meetings, we focus on finding a theme. It’s amazing to see the creative process at work; all of us striving to find something that is at the core of what we face as a person in the world today.

This afternoon’s discussion danced around about the idea of Gratitude, Trust, and Living Simply. I think it’s especially difficult in today’s world to focus on simplicity. Our culture encourages us to do more, better, faster. We are praised if we are good multitaskers. We begin to think we’re good multitaskers, but even research shows that the human brain is not that adept at doing more than one thing at once.

So where does that leave someone in today’s world? At work, I run multiple projects all at once, and it’s not unusual for me to have email, several instant messages, a finance program, MS Project, a blog or two, and a Word document all open at the same time. You know, so that I can look at those things in between meetings. And I take my iPhone with me to meetings.

What if I started doing just one thing at once? Like just now, tonight… I turned off the TV so I could write this post. Silence. Wow, it’s delicious.

We’re hoping that our next retreat can focus on reducing that clutter – the mental, physical, even spiritual clutter that clouds our days.

Mentally, am I focusing on the now, on being grateful for what I have, for this moment in time that will never come again?

Physically, both in body and in surroundings, am I being a steward for what I have, treating my body with respect, and only continuing to keep the things that are useful for me in my life?

Spiritually, am I letting go of things that are keeping me from God? Am I able to acknowledge habits, small addictions that distract me from Love and good relationships? Am I continuing to push myself to better understand myself and my purpose here?