Before the stress, rush, and bustle of the holidays really take hold, consider this wise teaching: Creating simplicity can be one of the happiest, most rewarding, delightful and satisfying things you can possibly do. In order to create the sort of simple life you want, it is important to be able to come to the project with what the Zen Buddhists call “beginner’s mind”—the mental equivalent of the new page.
This crucial step in our quest for a simpler life has nothing to do with budgeting, with moving to the country, building a straw bale house, home-schooling our kids or swapping our Aston-Martin for a bicycle. The important thing, with this step, is to make sure you stay out of the branches. Get right down to the roots and trunk of who you are and what are the basic conditions which would enable you to live a life which is simple, pleasant, enjoyable and deeply satisfying.
If you have trouble taking time for yourself during the holidays, this piece of deep wisdom from Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh will help:
Time Out is Essential: Give yourself time, space and silence.
Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hahn advises people to think of it this way: for optimum spiritual and emotional health—and in order to be effective in the world—time out for rest, relaxation, contemplation, meditation (or just sitting quietly, disengaged from all potential distractions), should comprise some weeks in ever year, some days in every month, and some number of minutes (at least 15) in each day.
Time out is the essential first step for creating the simplicity we crave.