Sense of Simplicity

I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions, but I do like thinking about my intentions for the year through the lens of an annual theme. For 2022, it’s “simple.” Like most simple ideas, there’s a lot beneath the surface: decency, kindness, strength, vulnerability, and humans loving humans even when it’s difficult.

For me, that sense of simplicity requires taking real action to cut through difficulty and lead away from needless complexity, whether I’m the one introducing it or someone else (we all do it at least sometimes, right?). The word crystallizes what I posted about grace and courage at the end of 2021. Simple is not always easy.

It’s like a conversation I had with my weightlifting trainer earlier this week. We were talking about why it’s such a good thing that there are no magic solutions to reaching training goals. No tricks or cheats will help you get 200kg off the ground with your bare hands. You show up and commit to doing the work. You focus on doing it well and perfecting your technique. And then hitting higher numbers happens naturally—simple, but not easy.

The words of the Shaker hymn “Simple Gifts” say it so well.

Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free
‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

— Joseph Brackett