“What Am I Doing Here?!” Searching the Southern Hemisphere for a Simpler Life.
In March of 2014, while we were vacationing in Taos, NM, my co-pilot, Jeff and I decided we would move to Ecuador. We didn’t know when or how this would happen but we set an intention to do so. The decision sprung to life from asking one simple question….”What are we doing here?” It came from a desire to simplify our lives by lightening the load of responsibility and routine that we had created for ourselves. We were inspired to explore new vistas and cultures and open up new neural pathways that would shake us out of old, stuck patterns. Something deep inside of me was whispering that this move would ignite an inner revolution of true simplicity.
So, over the following eight months, we sold or gave away everything we owned, put our house on the market and got our financial and “moving to another country” ducks in a row. On December 30th, 2014 our plane landed in Quito, Ecuador and delivered us and our 4 suitcases into the southern hemisphere. I didn’t know a lick of Spanish and Jeff only new “landscape industry spanish.”
And so our adventure and quest for simplicity began….and the rest is history.
For some time now, I have been contemplating what it really means to live a simpler life, and it is often the question, “What am I doing here?” that yields answers. Wherever I am in my life now, I’ve take the time to pause and reflect on this question as it holds a variety of literal and metaphorical meanings all at once. It can mean in practical terms, what am I doing here in this town, situation, relationship or job? Or….is my house cluttered with stuff I don’t use or need? Or…. am I spending time doing the things that really light me up? These are all wonderful things to take inventory on from time to time. However, I’ve found that diving deeper into the inquiry of my being brings lasting internal shifts that result in true simplicity.
I have gone through many iterations of what simplicity really means to me I have come to this simple understanding.
Within the question, “what am I doing here?” an internal inventory gets triggered and more clarifying questions begin to emerge.
5 Questions to help you Get your Simplicity On:
- Am I taking time to pause? Or are you just blindly reacting to life and going along with what you’ve been conditioned to do. When we take conscious and intentional pauses in life, we allow our inner voice to speak to us.
- Am I being the kindest, wisest me? Are you thinking, speaking and acting with kindness toward yourself and others in every moment? Ask yourself this question during your “pauses” and see if you can rise to the occasion of your highest self. Purity of heart is the quintessence of simplicity.
- Am I a victim of the modern world and it’s marketing? The modern world wants you to be complex. The technology, marketing, and programming to consume, distracts and disrupts the “pauses” we require for simplicity. Are you filling the gaps and natural pauses with technology….checking your email, phone, FB or looking for entertainment (t.v., movies etc etc).
- Will this decision make my life simpler or more complex? Every little and big decision we make has an effect on our lives. Is it coming from the heart of your being? Does it come from the center and purity of your knowing….or from the confused activity of your mind. Choose your life from the “pause.”
- Am I using my hands? When you feel like you’re stepping out of your simple and easy nature, do something with your hands. Do things like washing your clothes or the dishes….or do artful things like writing, drawing, playing an instrument, or knitting. Do practical things like gardening or using a tool. Do ecstatic things through touching yourself or your lover. “When you’re in touch with the intelligence of your hands, you return to the vision of simplicity. The jewel of life is in our hands.” ~Richard Rudd
We know deep inside that we can only really know peace when our lives are simple. On some level I knew that taking the outer steps to simplify my life wasn’t the whole answer. I could live off the land on an island somewhere and still create complexity. Granted, their would be less distraction and outside influence, but if I’m not taking the time to pause with simple contemplations of the heart, mental cob webs develop.
Simplicity is an inside job.
What do I mean by this? I mean that changing your external circumstances won’t necessarily make your life simpler. And sometimes, changing your outer circumstances may even complicate your life further.
We’ve been in Ecuador for six months now, and I can tell you that life didn’t necessarily get simpler. Being in a strange, new land where I didn’t know the language surfaced fears and insecurities that ignited old shadow patterns I thought I’d left behind.
Although my life looked simpler and freer on the outside….less stuff, no mortgage or north american ideals etc, my inner life became more complex as I was fighting with my insecurities.
I realised I wasn’t taking the time to pause. I wasn’t asking myself these questions. As soon as I started contemplating these questions, my mind began to relax and everything started coming into focus. I wasn’t being pushed around by the complexities of my mind. I had to bring myself back to the basics of presence, touch, breath, silence, contemplation and movement.
Tuning into these essential elements and trusting in the unfamiliar, an inner revolution of simplicity began.
Moving to the southern hemisphere didn’t deliver a simpler life in and of itself. It didn’t fix the complexities within. It did, however, provide just the right outer circumstances and discomfort to ignite the purest sense of simplicity I have found….inner simplicity.
Try asking yourself the 5 questions above and see for yourself if you start your own inner revolution of simplicity.
Please share your heart and thoughts about “simplicity” in the comments below.
Sharing your wisdom will help others on their path and may help you gain more insight in the process. 🙂
In love and gratitude,