Lately, I find myself getting frustrated more. Feeling overwhelmed by the quickness of life and the constant moving. As I put my phone down, I feel disgusted by how much time it has just sucked from my life and the emptiness I feel. I promptly pick it up again. But this time, not to check another app, but to delete them. Goodbye Facebook. You've never done much for me anyway.
Ahh that feels good. What else can I simplify in my life?
This question rolls around in my mind for days as I navigate my daily life… almost to the point of complicating it more. Should I wake up earlier in the morning? How can I change my work projects to simplify them? What else can I change in my life?
As the weekend arrives, we gather up our towels and supplies to head to the beach. But it ends up not being so simple. The kids aren't listening. Each task becomes a chore. We have three kids plus one friend. The house becomes a whirlwind of confusion. Get your bathing suit on! No, not outside! Where did your sister go again? Wait, your shoes! Where are your shoes!? Stop playing, I thought we were leaving!?
By the time we make it to the beach, my head is pounding. Why does everything seem to be so difficult? Is it just my expectations? The way I think about things? How can I simplify this? Am I thinking too much? Get over here, I'm trying to put sunscreen on you!
Ugh, I need some actual quiet time. I stand up, tell hubby I'm leaving, and off I go. The beach is busy today, but I know if I keep walking, it becomes quieter. I start my trek in search of silence, still pondering ways I can simplify my life.
Can I really get up earlier than the kids? I'm always so tired. I'd have to go to bed way earlier. But then I lose out on my nightly quiet time. Which doesn't seem to be much these summer days. That article says you should do the most important thing first thing in the morning. Maybe I should try. I should meditate. Yoga, I'd like to do yoga. I need more exercise. Man, I should really eat healthier too. Morning smoothies sound good. How hard can it be? I haven't done much art lately. I can never find alone time to actually do anything. Creating with my kids is hard. I always end up helping them instead of being able to focus on my own art. Just one more year. One more year and they'll all be in school. I can wait. How can I simplify my creating? I guess just continue in my sketchbook. That's quick and easy. But not so satisfying as paint. Oh how I miss paint. Ouch! That rock was sharp.
I pause to look around. Not a person in sight. The sandy beach gives way to thousands of rocks. I breathe in the warm air. Listen to the waves hitting the earth. Yes. This. This is what I needed. I start to move slower, balancing on the larger rocks so I don't hurt my bare feet. With arms stretched wide, and a smile across my face, my mind calms with each careful step I take.
I stop when I could go no further. My feet are sore. But it feels so good. I rest myself on a nearby boulder and look out over the sea of rocks, enjoying the absence of the everyday bustling noise. My eye catches an odd shaped rock. I meander over to pick it up. It looks almost like a moon. Or perhaps a croissant. No, not a croissant. It feels sacred.
It feels warm in my hand, like it's radiating love, or some mystical energy I yet to understand. It feels wrong to toss it back into the sea of rocks. To be lost again. Suddenly I know what I must do. Visions of balancing rocks dance through my memory as I rummage around looking for just the right rocks to hold this sacred piece of earth.
My mind and body become completely engrossed in turning the rocks this way and that, finding just the right weight and balance to make them stand upon each other. When three are in position, I gently pick up the sacred piece and carefully place it on top. It stays without fiddling. It rests upon those rocks like it it knew it was meant to be there. I breathe out a long exhale, realizing I've been holding it.
Breathing deeply in again, my body automatically turns to climb down the boulder to gather more rocks. I know just what I'm looking for… Round ones. With somewhat flat sides. Interesting color. Check. I grab as many as I can carry and head back up.
The edge of urgency is gone as I slip into a quiet, playful trance turning the rocks until they fit perfectly. And somehow, each rock I've chosen finds its place.
As I climb back down for yet another arm load, I realize… this is simplicity. Me. The earth. The quiet.
This is all I need to bring balance into my life.
Simple as that.
Later, as I slowly made my way back to my family, I felt like I had a treasure in my pocket. A secret to hide, or maybe to share. A few photographs and my memories of this day. Of the realization that I don't need traditional meditation, or yoga, or smoothies, or hours of alone time to find peace and balance in my life.
All I need is me,
and the earth,
and a few deep breaths.
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Susie Schroeder says
You are lucky if you have a nice husband to take the kids in the middle of a flustercluck like that and just go off. Not that I have any kids. I just go off when I want and my bf is not around and I don’t have to work. I went for a walk in the woods yesterday when I got home from work and it was great as usual.
Kristal Norton says
Yes, I am blessed! And the aggravations of the day may have just been my perception of it in the middle of overwhelm. I’m sure the kids ran off to play just fine. ;0) Glad to hear you find those moments in nature too. The woods is one of my favorites as well!
Kristal, your thoughts resonated with me at such a deep level. This morning I was on my own for a few hours while my newly retired husband went for a hike. As I usually do of a morning, I headed out to the screened in porch with my journal to write some morning pages…but I was feeling like I needed to do more on those pages than wrestle with the upset from yesterday with my sister…these moments of solitude are so important now that someone is with me all the time, but I felt I needed to do more with the time. More. I put down my pen and just sat and listened to the crickets, cicadas, and my wren neighbors chatting away…that was the more I needed.
Yes, it is as simple as that! Our magical earth and a few deep breaths.
When I opened my email just now, your words put form to my thoughts and as I wrote them into my journal I knew I needed to acknowledge their importance for me to you. Thank you for taking a chunk of your precious time to share what you worked through.
May the coming days allow you time to practice this wonderful simplicity…and to keep remembering that yes, it is as simple as that.
Kristal Norton says
Yes! It’s that simple connection to the world around us. Listening deeply. Enjoying the moment. Not just being INside ourselves all the time, stuck in that ego chatter. I’m glad you were able to find that More you so needed. Our earth is magical indeed! <3
Kim Micham says
My favorite place to find balance looks an awful lot yours. I walk the beach along Lake Michigan near my home. I wish I could do it more often.
Kristal Norton says
I’m not able to take long walks on the beach alone that often either! haha But I think the point in noticing how healing this was for me, was to see how I can find this peace with any part of my surroundings, at any time. Stopping to take a deep breath and to notice and interact with my surroundings does wonders. :)
Thank you, Kristal, for your beautiful sharing about something I can certainly relate to: our overwhelmingly busy lives and the time that goes down the Internet drain! Your description of your time at the beach finding balance is calming and inspiring to me. It’s so simple to find a quiet place and create a quiet experience. Taking deep breaths and imagining the beach does wonders for me, too. Thanks, Kathleen <3
Kim Forman says
Thank you. I have been on edge lately, frantically searching for restoration. It’s so easy to forget that it’s right under our feet. ❤️