August in the northern hemisphere is my favorite time of year. It’s a natural time for simplifying routine, clothes, and food.
In the last hot weeks of summer, I want to be in shorts and flip flops or barefoot on the beach. I don’t want to fuss with hair and makeup or fancy clothes.
I also yearn for simplicity in my food. Strawberries or tomatoes eaten straight from the container on the way home from the greenmarket, or sliced and tossed with fresh basil and olive oil. A fresh slice of crisp, sweet watermelon. Throw in a great crusty baguette, some sea salt and fresh pepper, and I’m in heaven.
A classic rule of cooking: when you’re working with high quality ingredients, the less you do to them, the better.
Keeping it simple allows the flavors of the ingredients to shine through.
It sounds like it should be a simple task.
The Food of Our Minds
Yet, when it comes to the workings of the mind, simplifying often seems so complicated.
Over-achievers tend to have a long list of things they “over” do.
I’ve never met a problem that I couldn’t make more complex. My mind loves to work harder than it needs to. Over-thinking, over-analyzing, and over-complicating things have derailed me more times than I can count. Over-doing? Yup. Guilty of that too.
These are habits of an over-active mind.
Breaking these habits is part of my personal daily practice.
My daily mantra is:
How can I simplify?
It’s a year-round practice, but the dog days of summer remind me to step it up.
Ideas Are Like Strawberries
Our thoughts and ideas are like heirloom tomatoes, Tristar strawberries and juicy watermelon: high-quality ingredients capable of standing on their own without adornment or over-working.
We need not overcomplicate or overwork our ideas, or overdo our actions.
Overthinking, over-analyzing, over-complicating, and over-doing are habits we engage to compensate for feeling insufficient. The feeling of not being, doing, or having enough.
If you make a problem seem more complicated than it is, if you present your over-analysis, you’ll show everyone how smart you are.
Breaking these habits requires the inner work of recognizing and accepting ourselves as sufficient.
Your actions, thoughts, and ideas are enough as they are. You are enough.
Allow your best ingredients to speak for themselves.
True mastery is found in simplification.