10 thoughts on simplifying

Simplifying is sexy.

Once you begin it’s like undressing the woman (man) of your dreams. You want to get down to the essentials. Fast.

The hardest part is beginning.

Once you’ve begun the hardest part is stopping!

Use Marie Kondo’s rule: Keep only what gives you joy.

Remember the inverse of this rule: If it doesn’t give you joy, it’s got to go!

You are going to light up some smiles.

Other people will be delighted to use what you’re discarding: Friends, consignment shops, Ebay/Craigslist, Goodwill . . . 

The process of subtraction is a spiritual one.

You will find yourself tuning more deeply into your real desires for your life. You will also find that lightening up on your possessions almost magically lightens your spirit too.

Simplifying is best when you start with only one area of focus. 

9. Simplifying becomes a philosophy of more.

More love because you have more room for love in your life.

More camaraderie because friendship takes it place ahead of possessions again in your days.

More focus because you’ve eliminated so many distractions.

10. There’s nothing more fun than helping someone else simplify.

It’s true! I helped my wife eliminate the items in all those bags you see in the photo above. 

I’ve helped friends declutter.  

We always have serious fun.

Doing so inspires you to go back at it yourself. Because, you know why?

. . . . Let’s rehash 1. above . . .

1. Simplifying is sexy. 

Once you begin it’s like undressing the woman (man) of your dreams. You want to get down to the essentials. Fast.

For you 

Evan Griffith
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You are not helpless (I am not helpless)

You are not helpless; I am not helpless.

The theme a few weeks ago was hidden resources. How easily they are accessed. We all have them. We have treasure beyond measure. And there’s only one way to access them. To bliss out on your purpose.

In this blog we talk a lot about meditation. In an activity-crazy world stillness confers an advantage. Those who go silent — often — gain the power of clarity. Clarity confers the riches we all seek. 

Here’s the thing: Stillness is a superpower in an era of unrelenting activity. 

Seek an answer; go quiet; notice your unbounded energy when you propel from quietude into meaningful action.

You have resources beyond understanding; I have resources beyond comprehension.

Become clear in stillness. Then move in joy, all the resources you require will appear.

For you 

Evan Griffith
Click here for (occasional) notes at the intersection of creativity and spirit. Once a month, maybe.


30-second tip: Spiritualize your creative routine

For better results, spiritualize your creative routine.

Connect with your purpose (why you feel you’re here) . . . 

. . . and your vision (what you seek to create) . . . 

. . . for one minute before jumping into your project.

It’s liberated me into new levels of connection and creativity. I believe it will do the same for you.


Building bridges

Beginning in 7th century Japan, Buddhists began building bridges. Constructing roads and buildings and bridges for the greater social welfare of the people. Compassion for the travails of ordinary citizens spilled outward into this kind of social action.

The Buddhists of that era witnessed the hardship peasants endured, who couldn’t afford a boat, or pay to cross rivers and decided to build a freaking bridge.

That’s compassion shown concretely. 

Christian charities that wade into disease-ridden areas. Doctors Without Borders operating in war zones. 

Now would be the time for me to go meaningful and metaphorical and ask, What bridge can you build this week? 

But why am I putting this on you? Let’s turn this around in my direction . . . what bridge can I build? Where can I be of service? 


A moment of wheeee: This one doesn’t need text


Play = Survival

“A non-essentialist thinks play is trivial. An essentialist knows that play is essential.”

~ Gregg McKeown

Every higher-order mammal plays. Dogs, cats, otters, dolphins, bears.

In Essentialism Gregg McKeown notes a study with an intriguing discovery: Bears that play the most, survive the longest.

Play = survival??

Actually more than survival, thrival. Think of the most vibrant people you know, the thrivers . . . are they not playful?

I’m terrible at putting play into my schedule. Thank god for my kid. It’s the only thing on his schedule.

(For those of you without a kid, you can borrow ours — on date nights.)


1 day to 5 years: The time it takes for most dreams to come true

I just achieved a milestone that will mean little to nothing to anyone else. 

See the above van? That’s parked in my driveway. (Not in the picture, silly, that’s at a rest area on the way back from South Carolina, where I bought the van.)

The goal’s virtually meaningless to anyone else. Yet — to me — it amplifies my vision for our lives, my family’s lives. 

It gives us greater capability in our art business — meaning we’ll earn more money from this big bad beauty. Yet it’s flexible enough to be our family adventure vehicle. 

You know, for jaunts out of town, trips to the Keys, overnights to family on the other (Florida) coast, camping trips to, of all places, Disney World. That’s more for my wife than our son. Hey, you’ve gotta let other people have their dreams too.

I’ve been dreaming of it somewhere in the range of 4 to 5 years.

It’s even had a name for several of those years. Mofave. Mobile office family adventure vehicle. My wife calls it Big Mo. My sometimes funny sister calls it Big Mofo . . . 

The point is: I started dreaming about this van when it was in no way possible for us. Hell, we were facing possible bankruptcy. Several years running!

Yet here it is. Had I not begun the daydream that spot in the driveway would be empty right now. 

Things came together in such eerie ways that to trot them out here for your inspection would seem boastful. So I’m not going that route. Because I’m appreciative of all the unexpected gifts . . . that more than made up for the shocking losses along the way.

I’m humbled by life’s largesse. 

The bigger point is this: Most dreams seem to take between 1 day and 5 years to attain. 

I don’t know why this is. It hit me the other day when I began tallying up the length of time it took for a series of dreams to come true. 

Most have materialized in this timeframe. 

Some dreams explode into reality so quickly you swear you haven’t even finished the thought conjuring it up . . . 

Others come about in painful ways. For example, we own our house outright. No mortgage. That was a dream. But it came about while going through the nightmarish years of the crash. So it’s a smaller, older house that we own without debt. 

(But don’t cry for us, Argentina — the property is far, far better; wooded, large, natural, serene, a slice of sanctuary . . . )

And of course there are as yet unfulfilled dreams.

But . . . coming back to this startling insight . . . that most dreams weasel their way into our reality somewhere between 1 day and 5 years . . . 

You know what I’m ashamed of now that I understand this? How paltry my dreams have been. I’ve beggared my dreams because I didn’t believe in the more outlandish ones. 

I nourished the dreams that were impossible, but only impossible on a small scale. I let the other bigger better dreams go because they seemed to be impossible squared.

No more. No longer. Check back in 5 years. 

(Or tomorrow. Cuz, as you know, some come quickly.)

For you 

Evan Griffith
Click here for (occasional) notes at the intersection of creativity and spirit. Once a month, maybe.


A new metric for wealth

It’s time for a new measurement for opulence. 

Here it is, fresh from meditation teacher and good friend Anthony Amrhein. 

To him: 

Wealth is measured by the amount of free time you have enjoying the people you love.

Boom! Pow! Yes!

Pop songs are short and so is this post

That rhythm and hook you love in your favorite song . . . would repulse you an hour and seventeen minutes later, if you were forced to endure it repeatedly without break.

An optimal life changes rhythm. The well-paced day is filled with micro-breaks. You rise. You breakfast. You banter. You travel some distance. You work. 

You jump into your creative project. You break from that. You laugh over dinner with your loved ones. You break from that. You clean up. You take a walk. You fire off an email. You read a book.

What is it about a well-paced life? 

It’s the power of the pop song . . . immersion and release. 

Immerse and move on. Not a bad mantra for living . . . 


Unlive it (like this)

A little over a year ago I got caught up in an ugly, very public spectacle. Though my attempts at reconciliation were rebuffed, the feelings lingered. 

How do you power down a memory that dogs you?

Here’s one way. Relive it. And with each reliving gush the gooiest kind of love you can muster all over it. 

In my case, the shock of Zhu-Zhu confronting me in a crowded hallway lingered . . . each time the memory surfaced, so did those distasteful feelings. 

My secret to unliving an unpleasant experience: 

Live it, love it. 

You won’t have to forgive it. Love is bigger than that. It’s so big that when you hurl love at something it simply washes away the rancor.

When I think of Zhu-Zhu now I’m immediately struck by how fond I am of her. It is the unlikeliest of outcomes given what went down.

Only love can do that.