From Employment to Unemployment to Meaning -Ch. 18: Seduced by Simplicity
Simplicity is quite seductive if you allow yourself to truly taste its romance and pleasure. Like any addictive drug, once consumed, it begins to alter your system, causing you to crave it in increasing measure.
Who knew that a decade or so ago, when I began to seek simplicity and quality of life, that I would find myself where I am today. Who knew that relinquishing laundry and food shopping, would, years later, lead to separation and divorce from my six-figure income job, to a courtship with zero income, and later, embracing an affair with 40% of my pre-unemployment salary. I still regularly hear the barely articulated “What?!” and “Why?!” emitted by shocked faces’ dropped jaws.
My simple message is that there is no price tag for peace, for simplicity, for tranquility, for balance, or for oxygen and the ability to breathe. What others fail to realize is that once you’ve formally tasted zero income, every dollar earned is a lottery winning and a cause for celebration. Once you’ve formally quit the things that bind and gag and leach life… endless possibilities appear, and each day is a resurrection unto itself.
Today, I’m swimming in simplicity’s tranquil sea.
This sea’s tranquility is filled with waves and currents, ebbs and flows, and undulations unknown. I’m not a great swimmer. And sometimes I panic. Then I find myself gagging on the salty sweetness of the water I love. Other times, I see myself standing at the water’s edge hyperventilating about stepping in. Then I remember I’ve — in Moses’ by faith fashion — already stepped in. The waters are parting with each step I take and with each stroke I make.
I can also see my reflection in the water’s surface. It’s a ripple-free image. I know who I am. My image is not undulated or blurred or distorted, despite the constant change of this mirror’ surface. And I can breathe! The rhythmic inhalation and exhalation that began automatically at birth — and that continued unconsciously until life’s assaults and batteries began bruising membranes, scarring passages, and blocking breath’s flow — has returned.
And I realize that this is all part of the journey. To see and not see, to breathe and to gasp for air, to step into the self-chosen unknown, and to swim a leg or a hundred of them, is to ethically and passionately chase one’s dreams for peace, health, and well-being, and to find, in doing so, a transcendence of self that lets one overflow into the lives of others.
I can choose the whirlpool or quicksand sinking of a state of despair. Alternatively, I can choose to trickle, to flow, to meander, to descend, to rapid, to evaporate, to swim, to ride, to sail, to just anything … other than deadness, and stagnation and sinking. Having these choices means no incarceration, no dead-man walking, no drowning, and no despairing for salvation or resurrection or release. Having these choices means living with purpose and knowing that one has a say in the formation and accomplishments of each day; of sailing and course setting and arriving at new destinations.
This journey requires marathon effort, channel swims, gulf sailings, and moment by moment implementation, calibration and re-calibration, course adjustments, and more. Without these, we sink.
Today, I find joy in my whirlpool and whirlwind of resurrection. Ultimately, there is both sinking and rising in resurrections. There is also simultaneous inhalation of and wondrous love-making with unadulterated peace when the choice is made to be seduced by simplicity.