Sometimes I have no idea what to do with myself. Usually it is because there is so much to do. When it gets to be too much, I don’t want to do anything. Or I have so much on my mind, I don’t know what is the most important, so I don’t feel like thinking at all.
I don’t think I am alone in this.
One morning I woke up with a Ludwig Mies van der Rohe quote on my mind. You know the one “Less is more.” I realized that could be the answer to the problem of too much to do.
The beauty of less.
Living a meaningful, joy filled, purposeful life is something we all desire. It’s a skill isn’t it? And all skills have something in common in order for us to be good at them. We have to learn the tools of the skill, we have to practice, and we need repetition.
There is another element to being skillful. And that is the one we often forget.
It’s the skill of learning how to stop doing what isn’t necessary and to let go of trying too hard.
From complex to simple equals beautiful.
My first encounter with this idea was when I began to learn, and then later to teach, the art of dance. You might think that two of the most important skills for a dancer are becoming strong and flexible, which is true. But, even with those two elements in place there is an even more important skill that must be learned.
It is how to do a movement without adding movements that aren’t needed.
A beginner moves everything just to get the arm to move. Fingers, head, toes, neck, legs move too. The more skilled the dancer, the more they stop doing what is not needed. Instead of doing more, they do less.
You are doing too much for it to be right.
It’s Michelangelo’s sculpting in action. Take away what isn’t needed.
We make things hard. We do more than is necessary. In the world we live in today, this is an easy trap to fall into. In this age of technology and instant information we all have a chance to do, or be, or watch, or participate in, an infinite variety of things.
Although I try to have a non-technology day once a week, I don’t often keep that agreement with myself. I get distracted by emails to check, things to fix on websites, classes to watch, and things to learn. The idea of spending an entire day doing nothing that is considered productive feels almost impossible to do.
And yet, stopping to listen is the most productive thing we can do.
Like you, I want to live life as an artist, to see life itself as art. Which means, we have to let go of what is not needed.
As in dance, we have to discover what is most important, and move from that understanding.
We can choose easy.
The good news is, we already know the purpose and meaning of life. Although each of us may choose to express it differently, the basis is the same.
We desire to express the joy that is the innate quality of the universe. To live clean, clear lives, free of clutter. To let the past dissolve since it is only a false memory. To have every symbol, incident, and situation lead us away from a material based point of view, back to our true spiritual nature.
Imagine the choices – movements – we will make when we begin from the idea of expressing joy. We would stop trying to fix things, people, and situations, as if they were broken, and as if we were responsible.
We would practice the skill of turning our thoughts of everything to the cleanest and clearest version as possible. The one that brings us closest to everyone’s true nature.
Let’s leave out the movements, ideas, decisions that are not needed. Do they help us express joy? Are they clean, clear, free of clutter? If not, they are not needed.
We are designed to live life with the skill of an artist. We aren’t beginners. We are practiced and able.
So in the words of Queen Elsa from Frozen, “Let it go!”
We are the dancers of Life, let’s go dance!