I plead guilty. I have been judging you. Don’t worry, I am even tougher on myself. But when I saw you with your two kids, your husband your mini-van and your tent-trailer next to our campsite last summer, I wasn’t able to hold back. Your life looked terrible to me. I thought I would never be that girl who’s vacations rime with cheap hot dogs and a swim at the trailer camp pool. I thought you really must have been someone boring and simple to be able to enjoy such a lousy location as the campground we were at.
I probably did judge you too when you were talking to me about your job, and how you were happy when you considered staying there for the next 35 years. Or when you shared with me how much fun you had watching Netflix and eating popcorn at night. And I also did judge you when were telling me about going out in a fancy restaurant, spending $400 on a meal that lasted not more than two hours. I’m not snobbish, I am judgmental. All these activities seem so boring: the only reason to perform them is pleasure.
How can you get satisfied with things that simple? Doesn’t life deserved to be lived to the fullest? How about travelling the world, meeting some crazy people, surfing, drinking, enjoying each and every minute of this short journey we get on earth? #yolo. That’s what I was thinking. And the more days I spent in my not always so exciting day-to-day life, the more anxiety I developed about not doing all those amazing things waiting for me.
I am growing up (or older you might say), and I am starting to wonder if, after all, that was it? As one of my yoga teachers once told me about performing the full version of a pose we were working on, “I have been there, and there is nothing there.” As we choose to focus on a few simple things that bring us pleasure, we also allow ourselves to get a deeper understandings of these things, to embrace the richness of the experience. As we focus our attention on fewer things, we discover deeper layers of the restricted number of activities we choose to practice.
I thought I knew how to do my job well. I did get great reviews, which led me to think at some point that I was done with it, that I was ready for new challenges. I am surprised at how foolish I can be sometimes. It took me three years to understand I was wrong, that even in a position that I first appeared to be mastering, there was still a lot of space to learn, to evolve. Day after day, I am now working on refining my skills as a communications advisor, because the devil, or God if you prefer, is in the details, and those small details are what in the end will make my work stand out, what makes the difference between a remarquable and an okay job.
The same principle applies to yoga. There is something magical happening with skilled teachers who put in the hours to improve their practice. This hidden work transpires through their teaching, and make me almost every time feel space in places I wouldn’t think there would be. I have been practicing regularly for more than 12 years now, but I am so far from having discovered the infinite of spaces to be created, opened up, within my body and also within my mind. Even in poses that appear to be basic postures, I am understanding now that there is always something new to be found, something I can learn about, which is what makes it so interesting and fun.
And what about our relationships? Aren’t these also very redundant and similar one day to the other? They seem to be, but the wise person knows better. As we are never the same as the one we were a minute ago, our relationships simply cannot stay the same as well. If we take a few minutes every day to reflect on those, we soon will be amazed about the hidden messages others are sending us, the underground conversation. The more we practice listening, the more we develop our empathy, our compassion, our true understanding of what it means to be a human being, to share that experience with others. And here again, there is plenty of room for us to learn, to improve, to grow.
Which leads me to think that this potential to discover and learn is present in each and every one of our activities, especially in the ones we perform over and over again. We already know that creativity often emerges when we master something very well. What if it was because the more we get to know about something, the more we become able to identify the small details about it that would usually go unnoticed, those very same details that make it so much more interesting.
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication – Leonardo Da Vinci”
They say the quest to creativity is very close to the quest to happiness, and that might be the reason why. When we move beyond the obvious, when we stop looking everywhere to experience everything in a hurry, we give ourselves the opportunity to discover what is hidden underneath, what makes our lives richer, more grounded, more real. When we devote ourselves to a simple practice, over and over again, with perseverance and faith, we eventually uncover the beauty of simplicity, that allows the space for the magic of creativity to happen. As the master of creativity Leonardo Da Vinci once said: “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”.