Monday, August 6, 2012

Elemental Simplicity

The sculptor produces the beautiful statue by chipping away such parts of the marble block as are not needed  -- it is a process of elimination.  ~ Elbert Hubbard

I've had this picture for some time, waiting for when I wanted to write about it. It was shot at the small beach near my place a few weeks back, but it captures a phenomenon I've long found fascinating.

The way elements and time transform things ... take something once raw, complex, jagged and rough to the touch and smooth it out, bring a softness to its surface, an ease to its touch and a beauty to its transparency, the blending of its colors and hues ... a wisdom of age to its markings. It's not necessarily simplified, but there is something less complicated, more facile in its new form, an air of embracing transformation and its elemental sources.

Lately, I've been trying to ... simplify or smooth out things a bit in my own life. In the past, I'd do this by taking a break from social media, shutting my phone off for a few hours at night or on the weekend, making a point to meditate every day or just taking a vacation or weekend to get away.

I'm due for one of those weekends and already have something in mind, but that'll be for a later post. In the meantime, the "simplifying" that I'm trying to currently do is more in a mental sense. In a previous post, I tried to encapsulate just what it's like in my brain on a constant basis, but especially during my "creative process."

It's a chaotic web of spark plugs going off simultaneously, yet somehow making sense through the madness. But oftentimes, especially when concerning matters of the heart, it can be ... exhausting. I can exhaust myself.

Well, I'll come back to a quote (as per usual) that I always try to remember:  "Lend yourself to others, but give yourself to yourself." ~ Michel de Montaigne 

So, I've been thinking about ways to mentally simplify and be kinder to myself. Meditation, yoga, walks, nature, those have always been helpful go-to's, but it's about more than that.

It's about embracing the sources of change around me and letting them sand my rough, stubborn, scarred and defensive edges a bit. It's about letting the minerals and water work their magic rather than fight against the tides the way I tend to.

A lot of metaphors, I know. To be more specific, I've found myself thinking back on who I used to be and what I was about, not so much in the recent past, but as a child. I've been a spiritual and nature-oriented person since as far back as I remember. I've also been very much attuned to feelings, to the human "sixth sense," to intuition or just general instincts. I didn't realize how often I used those things to assess almost every situation or experience I was having at the time, but I realize that now, looking back.

If I met someone, an adult or a kid, I would immediately pay attention to their energy ... even as a child. I remember how some people gave me have bad feelings inside, in my stomach ... while others felt safe and comforting. I remember how certain rooms or places felt, how sometimes a room or atmosphere gave me feelings of unease, sickness or foreboding, while others felt welcoming, loving and cozy.

So, at some point, I strayed from trusting those senses and instincts and instead, began using my rationale, my analytical mind and reason to determine my situations, friendships, relationships and experiences. Reason has its place, don't get me wrong ... but I've gone so far that way, every time I try to shut out all that analytical "noise," I can hardly hear my inner self speak. And it always had really great stuff to say.

So, that's what I've been focusing a lot of my energy on lately ... letting life strip me down to the beautiful, uncomplicated, effortless simplicity it can sometimes truly be. By first feeling again, giving outside elements (in this case, people) a chance ... shutting out the white noise of judging, analyzing, dissecting, searching, etc. ... and instead, channeling my inner child, before I was tainted by life, before I knew what people or life was capable of, before I had everyone else's noise and anxieties draped over my own. To a time when I was much less in my head and much more inside my body, heart and soul. When things came back to how I felt inside, determining what I was drawn to and away from ... and it was really just that simple.

So, every time I hold one of those rocks, seemingly worn down by its surroundings, I look at its beauty, I feel its silky touch and realize it's not worn down at all ... it has merely shed its complications, given into life and unveiled its natural beauty at its simplest form.

And in that moment, I'm given hope that with discipline, the right tools, surroundings and mentality, I can achieve such a lucky state.


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