“The Art of Being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook”
William James

One of the most powerful skills to learn is finding simplicity in the moment of overwhelm. My friend Abby references her Dad, a Miami contractor, stopping her when she used to begin spinning worrisome, “big problem” stories; “start with the simplest solution, then work your way up from there.”  Why is this so brilliant?  Because if you can do that, of all the energy, time, emotions and/or resources which might have been used to solve/fix the perceived more complex problem, can be used for other more satisfying things. If that “simplest thing” solves the problem, then your experience of life follows suit. Life’s problems are more nuanced than a home repair issue of course, however our approach towards life’s challenges can be the same. Start with the simplest approach first.


    For the last 4 1/2 years we’ve been under a major cultural stress— nothing seemed straightforward, dependable or believable. Up was down and down was up. So little felt simple in the Trump era.  If we are really honest with ourselves though, we all have corners of our lives where we become “Trumpy” —avoidant, in denial, blaming, reactive, ruminating, chaotic, and/or over our heads (but won’t admit it).


    “Simple can be harder than complex: you have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple.

    But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”

    Steve Jobs

    Here are five quick, potent, yet gentle redirections to get you back into the Mindset of Simplicity when you feel overwhelmed, stressed and/or uncertain of a direction. You notice I didn’t say, “five quick tips to solve that pesky problem once and for all.” Inner Mastery is about knowing, deep in the cells of your body, that you can ride whatever wave Life sends your way.  It doesn’t mean a flat, warm Caribbean ocean, day after sunny day. Explore the following:

    1. Get grounded in the here and Now and ask…  “What’s my top priority right now?” “What can I actually do in this moment?”  Or “what am I focusing on, that I can’t do a thing about?” In states of overwhelm, it’s usually ineffective to problem solve projected events. Action reduces anxiety; however, action is most potent on effecting a change in an active issue.
    2. Become Still and inquire within… Pull back into your aware, watcher self, and inquire: “What do I know for sure right now?” “What feels absolutely true?” Or, in response to your own inner, unsettling dialogue, “is that really true?” Learn to act on only those things that feel true or real, not where the mind can take you.
    3. Soften your eyes, see from Grace instead, and notice… all the beauty, good and/or support you have in your life already.  Start by seeing what is already in place, then ask “What is my absolute must-get-done here?” Drop frantic ‘doing’ or “fixing” energy, instead become engaged, focused and fully present with thing you can do now.  See if you can feel yourself operating from flow, rather than harsh doing or fixing.
    4. See everything from a Higher, impersonal perspective, and then explore… Does that/this really matter? What’s the cost to continue to hold onto this? What would it feel like to drop all resistance to what is? Then drop it, drop it, drop it—until you are only engaged in what you know actually matters to you in the larger perspective, and your inner atmosphere has shifts.
    5. Start your day with this (or similar) process, written or reflected. It can set the tone towards simplicity with three brief inquiries: A) What’s the 1 thing I need to focus on today? B) What am I grateful for? And C) Today I’m going to let go of…

    If we look at our life’s challenges as opportunities to gain capacity, to teach us, then we build a sense of inner mastery that becomes our solid ground underfoot, as we engage with Life. The sweet taste of simplicity has no compare. And once we feel that issues/problems which used to plague us, are familiar and manageable, we can simply move in and through. Remember to connect to your inner simplicity in moments of pressure, and doors will open when there seemed no way through.

    “Nature Does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished,”
    Lao Tzu