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November 24, 2016

Simplicity and Shredding

For most of 2016 I’ve been leading people in something called Shred 10 groups. It is basically ten days of extremely clean eating, exercise and rest to reset the body. As I sat and listened in Go Church, one of Stapleton’s newest houses of worship, to Pastor Nick Callaway teaching on the fundamental principle of simplicity and how in many ways it can restore wholeness, I thought there was so much wisdom in these two concepts, which are really one. Shredding and simplifying.

Most people tell me how busy they are…or stressed, overwhelmed, tired, even in pain. Here in a community that overflows with an abundance few human beings who have ever walked the planet have enjoyed, we are up to our eyeballs in too much. Whether it’s too much stuff, too much on the calendar, too much food, too much alcohol, there is a resounding too much. Life in Stapleton is wonderful but our bubble offers us the trap of too much which can bog us down and we aren’t even aware! Therein lies the opportunity to simplify so we can actually enjoy our community, our families, our work and passions on a more significant level. We can also extend beyond our borders that which we don’t need, which no longer serves us, and might be cluttering our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual spaces.

This month sow seeds of gratitude that will flourish throughout the year by paring down a few areas of life. It will make real gifts enjoyable, gratitude more attainable and therefore, you happier.

Areas You Can Simplify:

Stuff: Get rid of things, clothes, toys, junk taking up space in your home and in your life that no longer serve you. My personal goal this month is to help my kids embrace this principle and finally get rid of some old toys that we have held on to for sentimental reasons. I want them to know those toys could really mean a lot to a younger child, a less fortunate child and that toy will be happier (yes toys can have feelings, too!) in the arms of a happy child than collecting dust in an Ikea bin underneath a pile of socks that don’t have a match. Yes, the socks have to go too.

Activities & Calendar: During my children’s 1st and 4th grade years I made the counter-culture decision to end after school activities (there were two necessary exceptions). I wanted them to have time to play. That school year nurtured their souls and my mom heart in wonderful ways. I saw my kids relaxed instead of hurried. And truthfully, so was I. They were rested and they took off in school. It took unnecessary stress out of our lives. But the biggest benefit was that at the beginning of this year, both of my children came to me on their own lobbying for an extracurricular activity they really wanted. I was so happy they found something they genuinely wanted to pursue on their own terms. These activities happen easily because they own it and there are few battles getting to these activities. Sometimes we can get so caught up doing what everyone else is up to, we don’t even think about what we really want.

Eating and Drinking: Our Shred 10 program eliminates all processed foods, gluten, dairy, alcohol and caffeine from the diet for 10 days. In addition, you workout in some way each day and do not eat after 6PM. This allows the body to fast 12-14 hours per night which is when optimal restoration occurs on a cellular level. People balk at giving up coffee, they scream about giving up their wine, but you know what? They do it. They do it because they intuitively know their body needs a reset, a break, to simplify the constant barrage of food, drink, activity, multi-tasking that has become a societal norm. And you know how it feels to complete it? FANTASTIC. That sacrifice, that giving up, powering through cravings and detoxification, like cleaning out a closet, getting rid of the wedding china you used once and stored for a decade, taking a break from that one activity you didn’t like anyway, skipping that activity that is not bearing fruit for the priorities in your life, as much as it hurts for a minute, feels great. And in the end, true happiness is found in living out our values.

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