7.20.2012

Struggling with Simplicity

Image via Home & Delicious via Jenn

An unforeseen side-effect of my new harried existence is how much it's thwarted my efforts to keep things simple.

For me, simple is synonymous with mindful, thoughtful, measured. When I'm keeping it simple, I'm organized and on my game. Being harried makes being mindful a virtually impossible enterprise. Instead of "organized and on my game", I'm  buying things I don't need (because I'm too busy to plan ahead), resulting in a glut of unwanted stuff sitting in the corner of my room waiting to be returned. I'm eating on the go (twice this week, lunch was a luna bar and a diet coke). I'm forgetful (i.e.I totally spaced on my best friend's birthday) and behind on things like, say...a teeth cleaning (two months overdue). And don't even get me started on the sad, sad state of my nails.

It's not a good scene friends.

I woke up early this morning (quiet house, still dark early) to try and catch up a bit and get things sorted out in the silence, and I ended up reading through a beautiful, tiny, really old book that my friend Janet gave me. It contains a completely timely bit of (really beautiful) prose by William Ellery Channing entitled "My Symphony". It put things in perspective big time, so I had to share.

To live content with small means -- to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion, to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not rich -- to study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly, to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with open heart -- to bear all cheerfully -- do all bravely, await occasions -- never hurry; in a word, to let the spiritual unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common. This is to be my symphony.


Perfection, yes?

Thanks Janet.

16 comments:

Mary said...

Totally relatable and yes, perfection.

nicole said...

perfection indeed.

Emma said...

Joslyn, I am a long time follower of your blog.

This piece of prose is so beautiful. A timely reminder.

Elsie said...

absolutely beautiful. words to inspire and aspire to. thank you for sharing.

Lucia said...

Jos, this is the quote over my sink in the kitchen, written in the beautiful script of a lovely old lady who wrote it in a card for us when we got married. I read it everyday, and everyday unpack it a little more, especially that "worthy, not repectable" part. Such a jewel, this quote.

Elsa May said...

perfection indeed : here's to simpler, less harried times ahead for you. Annie x

mb said...

Truly words to live by. Thanks for the inspiration.
Have a simple, thoughtful and love filled weekend.
Marybeth

sharon magner said...

That is powerful.
The part that says, "to be worthy" - isn't that what we all want? To be worthy?

Woking Girl said...

Thank you for sharing this piece. I just exhaled a little bit myself reading it, wise words indeed.

Have a wonderful weekend!

i'm stephanie. said...

ive never read those words... but as i become overwhelmed in what i suppose to be the simplicity that is my life, i thank you for reminding me.

la la Lovely said...

So timely. I'm struggling with this vary same thing. Thanks for sharing! xo. t

erin said...

yes. just right. we had what i can imagine must be the same tiny volume in our bathroom growing up. good words of wisdom for quiet moments.

Fern and Feather said...

did you ever read Simplicity Parenting... so it pretends to be a parenting book but really it is a life book {direct quote from my hubby}... any way it says that we get "soul fevers" just like physical fevers. They are usually caused by over scheduling-chaos-exhuastion. We must care for our soul fevers the way we would a physical fever. Clear your calendar {I know I know}, cuddle, get cozy and rest.

Kim said...

Oooooooohhhhh William Ellery Channing.

:)

amy said...

I included these words on my blog months ago... Incredible words. I am lucky enough to have this in my great grandmothers handwriting.
By the way... I love how you bring your girls to your photo shoots... That is just awesome,.. lucky gals!

pve design said...

"I woke up early this morning to try and catch up a bit and get things sorted out in the silence"- your words say it all to me as I am up early to create in the silence.
Simplicity is a state of being in the midst of a harried life.
I am going to calligraphy those lovely words....and frame them for the loo. (powder room)
pve