I’m a sucker for women’s magazines. Maybe it’s the inviting photos or the encouraging words. Maybe it’s the wonderful possibilities that each issue promises. Forget the fact that the cover and its table of contents are usually more inspiring than the articles inside. I’m still a sucker for women’s magazines.
So it’s no surprise that a recent issue of Whole Living made its way home with me with its tempting cover story: “Stress-free Simplicity: Create Outer Order and Inner Calm.” Now that’s an offer for me. Every word of that title holds such promise, the promise of the life I’m always striving to have: stress-free, simple, ordered, calm. Instead, my life is often stressful, complicated, disorganized, and anything but calm.
Here’s just one example. I had this issue of Whole Living in my leather briefcase, next to the desk in my home office. I’d been working at the computer and left a half-full glass of water at my desk when my grandson got out of bed and needed some encouragement to return to sleep. In the few minutes it took, our impish cat got on my desk and knocked the water glass into my briefcase, saturating Whole Living and everything else in the briefcase. Calgon, take me away!
I finally got around to reading the now wrinkled copy of Whole Living, priding myself that at least I was reading it during the actual month printed on that issue. Due to my often stressful, complicated, disorganized, and anything-but-calm life, I’m usually reading about Christmas recipes in May or back-to-school strategies in February. That glossy (and wrinkled) cover held such promise . . . but the story itself? It held no great revelation.
The easiest way to simplify, it began, is to embrace imperfection. The stress-free, simple, ordered, and calm life that the cover promised is found in a principal of Zen Buddhism, wabi sabi. Beauty (and all those promised side effects), according to wabi sabi, is found in the natural world where things are imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. Abandon perfect and accept the world as imperfect, unfinished, and transient–thereby developing a stress-free, simple, ordered, and calm existence. (You can read the whole article here.)
Hmm. Long ago I’d given up seeking perfection, so I don’t think this article is going to help me with my life renovation. What advice can you offer? What helps you become stress-free and calm? What helps create order in your life?
Linda Post Bushkofsky, executive director, really does love her stressful, complicated, disorganized, and anything-but-calm life.