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Simplicity. Saturday February 20, 2016

I have an illness/disability that affects me mentally and emotionally, as well as physically, and the failing currency is energy; it's something I have to think carefully how best to spend; something I have to plan, pace and prioritise.

I don't want to live in a boom and bust economy.

In effect, I was given a new body in 2010 and it took a few years for this newness to make itself fully known.

I can still remember how the old one felt and I often find myself thinking/feeling/acting as if I am the same person; my mind hasn't caught up. And I often wonder if it can as the sands are ever-shifting.

The manifestations of this illness continually change and surprise me. I think I've learnt a rule or a technique or I have an approach that works and then it becomes obsolete.

It's as if a software developer, who keeps changing things for the sake of it, and a technophobe, who has been given a new computer with a new operating system and new versions of software that seem bafflingly clunkier, uglier and more irritating to use, have met inside me and are at war.

What I do know is that my capacity is not what it used to be, both literally and figuratively; I have moved to a smaller house and my mind doesn't seem to contain as much as it used to.

I don't want to cram either with 'stuff'. I have to operate a one in one out policy, not only with mugs and books and suchlike but, it has struck me, I have to do that with ideas too. My mind is full of other people's ideas, and suggested projects that I am now too fatigued to follow up, and the half-finished, adds to the backlog that adds to the abysmal (in both senses) fatigue.

Recently, my thoughts turned to Lent and how best to prepare for it. I didn't want to just give up chocolate so I contacted a bishop, a vicar and a curate to ask them for their suggestions. Only the curate replied and the thought that appealed to me most this year was that of simplicity.

I found myself looking up 'living simply' on the internet, and there were some useful thoughts; simplicity versus clutter and how clutter drains energy. Then I started looking up books about simplicity to get some more ideas...

But hang on a minute – that isn't quite the point! A book about simplicity to help me declutter my minute home and compromised mental capacity? Yet another book I'm unlikely to get round to reading? Don't I already have enough of those to fill a charity shop?

Subsequently, I spoke to a nun; she suggested at least half an hour a day of being kind to myself.

Perhaps it really is that simple.

The Librarian
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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Lou Sat, Feb 20th 2016 @ 7:03am

Hello Librarian! Excellent, excellent blog. As a fellow traveller on the road of low stamina it really resonated with me as your comments were so familiar. Being kind to myself seems mad - I have so much to do already, how would I fit it in?! Which is exactly the point, isn't it?! Good point, well made and something I shall continue to think about. Thank you.

The librarian Tue, Mar 1st 2016 @ 12:02pm

Thank you! I've been thinking about the nature of kindness (the subject for a future blog...) and I think/hope it is something that can infuse everything I do, even when that feels overwhelming.

Norman Sat, Feb 20th 2016 @ 7:48am

Hi Librarian. Sometimes being kind to oneself is the hardest thing. Especially if we don't feel that we've "earned" it. Do you have your ideas written down in a notebook or on computer? Re-reading them often gives an impetus to add to/clarify/expand them. It doesn't matter if you don't finish. Is Schubert's eighth somehow not a beautiful piece of music?

(A bishop a vicar,a curate and a nun? I'm sure Hopeful One can find a joke in there!

The librarian Tue, Mar 1st 2016 @ 12:03pm

Isn't it? i am starting to acrue ideas in one of my many notebooks... and yes, definitely a joke in there though i've been racking my brains...

Bearofliddlebrain Sat, Feb 20th 2016 @ 8:48am

Dear Librarian,
We so often give freely to others, what we simply can't give ourselves...but you need to find it in yourself to give yourself peace, quiet - time for you and kindness for your soul.

On the other hand, being kind to you might mean putting on some dance music and having a boogie! It might mean decluttering or just sitting with one of your books or listening to an audio book and letting the sounds wash over you. Sometimes 'less' is 'more' :)

Be kind to you today, in whatever ways you are happy with and let us know what you did....if you have time!
Bear hugs to you x x x

Hopeful One Sat, Feb 20th 2016 @ 8:48am

Hi Librarian-- a welcome blog reminding us of the virtue of simplicity. And realising that happiness is not necessarily to be found in material possessions. . In fact in my experience the happiest people I have come across are those with realitively little in the way of possessions. It seems that this state of frees from the path of greed envy and jealousy ( one will always find people who have more than what we have) to a path of gratitude for what we have, valuing our fellow beings and connecting with Nature.

In response to Normans wish above here is my offering - a bit naughty I admit , but I think by now fellow Moodscopers will be used to my sense of humour.

These three nuns are tasked to clean and tidy Father's room everyday . They meet in the corridor one day. The first says " Oh ! You won't believe what I found in Father's room today" The other two want to know and ask " What did you find? " The first nun says " Pornographic magazines!" The other two ask her what she did with them. She says " Well I just binned them" The second nun says " You won't believe what I found!" The other two want to know. She says " I found used and unused condoms " The other two are shocked and ask her what she did. She says ' I threw out the used ones and pricked holes in the unused ones" The third nun says " Oh ! My God"

Bearofliddlebrain Sat, Feb 20th 2016 @ 9:04am

Lolilol HO!! Lol!

The librarian Tue, Mar 1st 2016 @ 12:05pm

Great joke! Thank you! And yes, I am becoming more and more convinced that less is more - in so many things but especially possessions.

Anonymous Sat, Feb 20th 2016 @ 8:53am

I think that's a REALLY good idea. I think a big part of people's problems is that we're not compassionate, kind, caring, to OURSELVES. I used to be very tough and unkind with myself and it made me depressed. Good luck Librarian!

The librarian Tue, Mar 1st 2016 @ 12:06pm

Thank you, and good luck to you too.

Bearofliddlebrain Sat, Feb 20th 2016 @ 9:02am

So...not to take HO's spot but couldn't find a clean joke involving a bishop, curate and a nun so:

Q: What does a dyslexic, agnostic, insomniac do?

A: Stays awake all night wondering if there really is a Dog

LillyPet Sat, Feb 20th 2016 @ 9:24am

Lol! Diggit would laugh heartily at that one bearkins! Xx

The Gardener Sat, Feb 20th 2016 @ 9:28am

A goody, bear. Librarian, please how am I going to decide how to down-size my library? Must me 4,000 books. Keep the ones which will look elegant? Most old Penguins will go, brown pages, faded tiny print. Queen Victoria's letters? Haydyn's dictionary of dates which stops at 1899 (1000's of dollars to replace, apparently). I hope - re actual blog - that I'm getting to grips with less energy and working round Alzheimers. I USED to wake up with a list which would take two people a week (to be done in a day, of course). Now, the lists are 'musts' and what I CAN achieve, to try and write in my diary 'that was a good day, what I did, I did well' - and, most important to learn day by day not to get riled. A bit like librarian's 'one in, one out' policy. It took me till about 75 to stop castigating myself with what I had NOT done, and what I had not done WELL.

LillyPet Sat, Feb 20th 2016 @ 9:46am

Great to hear that TG. Your library is a beautiful magnificent and precious collection not clutter. It shows that you have found a way to simplify how you manage things and what to focus on. You are an inspiration and I am following your example. Hugs LPxx

The librarian Tue, Mar 1st 2016 @ 12:10pm

Wow, that's quite a collection of books... As LillyPet says, books are not clutter and I am trying to steer clear of weeding mine (I have to do enough of that at work!) I am trying to keep a note of things I've managed and to celebrate them, even if that's just making myself a pot of tea. Achievements don't have to be big or grand or complicated or life-changing or 'meaningful'. Celebreating the small things - another subject for a blog?

LillyPet Sat, Feb 20th 2016 @ 9:39am

Hi Librarian,
The notion of simplicity has always appealed to me. Simplicity in every way. As a child I wanted to be a librarian beause I liked the peaceful ordered atmosphere of libraries. I seem naturally to be disorganised complicating and overthinking with a desire for simplicity and peace.
Bear's idea of an audio book version, if one was available, on living simply would be good. Maybe just that one book to dip into during lent would fit in with your idea of simplicity. I agree with being kind to yourself. I'd give up worrying and just be.
Thank you for an inspiring blog TL! LP xx

The librarian Tue, Mar 1st 2016 @ 12:11pm

Thank you for your lovely comments, LillyPet, and yes, just being is enough.

Frankie Sat, Feb 20th 2016 @ 2:36pm

Dear Librarian - Snap! except I received my "new" body in 2011 ... and my mind at the moment feels particularly crammed full ... darling hubby and I have at last agreed a plan and way of working for decluttering (which I find particularly painful). Maximum two hour slots - three categories: keep, keep for now, chuck; and that keep for now category is to enable me to declutter in my own time and come to terms with my feelings of loss and anxiety surrounding the process ... just completed our first slot - new work surface now available to work on - hooray! Great blog - thank-you Librarian. Frankie

Anonymous Sat, Feb 20th 2016 @ 4:58pm

Just what I needed to hear, Frankie. I really do not understand how piles of paper can cause me so much angst but with your help I feel better able to tackle the task. Thank you.

Frankie Sat, Feb 20th 2016 @ 6:28pm

Glad it helps Anonymous - I think part of my anxiety is finding things I should have dealt with already - which makes me feel guilty and inadequate. Elder daughter has told me I must give up guilt for Lent! Once tackled I do always feel better though. Good luck! Frankie

The librarian Tue, Mar 1st 2016 @ 12:13pm

One step at a time. and I am trying to say goodbye to one thing at a time so i don't feel overwhelmed by the emotion of it. Giving up guilt for Lent - brilliant! I am also trying to give up apologising for myself!

Lex Sat, Feb 20th 2016 @ 6:40pm

As well as being kind to yourself, perhaps you can give yourself a kiss too? As in the acronymn: Keep It Simple Super-Librarian! L€x
p.s. there's always room for more books - even unread ones. They generate a magic field that makes you automatically more intelligent.

Lou Sun, Feb 21st 2016 @ 6:31am

Fantastic comment Lex! "there's always room for more books - even unread ones. They generate a magic field that makes you automatically more intelligent." The Japanese have a word 'tsundoku' for the pile of unread books, which I rather like :)

the room above the garage Sun, Feb 21st 2016 @ 6:43am

Hello Librarian, great blog thank you! Low stamina here too, easily flattened. Sometimes being kind to myself is not so much doing but not doing...not berating myself for things undone. Wishing you well for Lent, keep us posted. Love ratg X.
p.s. HO and Bear, thank you! :-)

The librarian Tue, Mar 1st 2016 @ 12:17pm

Thank you, RATG. I have been spending the times I am unable to do anything but lie on the sofa visualising kindness - my three year old self in loving arms - and in listening to myself (to be discussed in another blog!)

I find your posts very inspiring, by the way - please keep them coming.

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