In a noisy world on social media, where “hustle” is the entrepreneur’s favorite term, have we forgotten the joys that come with simplicity?
So often I hear this idea of “If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough,” but here’s the thing: I don’t want to be scared.
I don’t want my dreams to scare the bejeezus out of me. I want joy. I want inner peace, simplicity and to enjoy this present moment – the only moment that is available to all of us.
I want a garden and a few rescue pups and to come home to my husband every day, knowing I spent my day, spreading some extra added light and joy to a family’s life. I want to form connections with people and gift them tangible art that they’ll cherish with their children forever.
There is this idea spreading on social media that we need to chase something. That we need to effort and strive and hustle and make something big. I’m here to tell you that if you want peace, if you want simply…joy, that is okay too. In fact, having peace and joy within yourself is more important than the follower number, the client roster and the “hustle”.
You – living, showing up, being present – are enough.
As an ex-shiny penny chaser, I can relate to the idea of hustling, grinding and putting in your 10,000 hours. As a new photographer in NYC, I chased new clients, more revenue, and dreamt of spending my days in a large New York City studio space. But it was when I followed my intuition and moved from New York City to a small colonial town in Virginia that I was sent off on a path to embrace the slow and the simplicity of working as a creative artist.
I learned about these so-called “shiny pennies” – all the achievements and outcomes that my ego continuously sought out. But no matter how much I achieved or accomplished, there just seemed to be another one around the corner…and another one…and another. There had to be an end to it all…right?
It was suddenly that I realized, “I don’t need to hustle. I can chase simplicity.”
After I began studying values and meditation, simplicity became my biggest value in 2017.
And quite simply, valuing a life of simplicity begins with the present moment. It begins with becoming aware of your surroundings, aware of the connection you share with the person in front of you. But primarily, it starts with the breath.
While I love and have used meditation religiously in the past, being aware of the breath is so much more than sitting in a yoga pose for 10 minutes. It is about being aware of your body, and how each muscle feels in that single, precious moment. It is about listening to each breath enter and exit your system, and sustain the life you have. It begins by focusing inward.
It’s powerful, isn’t it – how the moon can suddenly shift your perspective from busy goals and to-do lists to pure awe and wonder? There is this serene stillness that envelopes us when we look up at something greater than us. It reminds us to slow down and to embrace simplicity and magic. Take a minute to gaze up and stare at the moon for a few seconds. I promise it will bring silence to your world that wasn’t there a few moments ago.
As a creative, taking the time to write in a journal, watercolor paint and, of course, photograph brings me back to my center. But taking the moment to intentionally and slowly photography, in a way that isn’t rushed but carefully thought out and felt, takes you to a whole other level of creativity. It is these moments, on a quiet walk, when I softly observe my surroundings and the people around me, that my best artistic work flows out. It isn’t forced but flowed. And it all stems from a place of quiet inner peace and slow simplicity. Suddenly, creating remarkable art becomes simple and effortless.
Lastly, intentionally bringing your full focus and attention to each interaction you are gifted is a beautiful way to practice simplicity in your daily life. Keeping your phone in your car’s glove compartment, turning the notifications off, and giving the person next to you your undivided attention. Focusing not only on the words being spoken but on the physical shifts, reactions and energy that is exchanged. Listening intently has changed my relationships with others in more ways than one. Not only has it made my connections deeper and richer emotionally, but communicating becomes simple, with far fewer miscommunications, tensions and confused or negative reactions. My relationships are easy, light and simple merely from listening intently.
As I continue to live my life from a place of joy and simplicity, I have observed the consistent peacefulness in not only my personal life but my photography work as well. I hope this post has inspired or encouraged you to find the simplicity in your life today and going forward.
2016 - 2019 Helena Woods | Helena Woods Portraiture is located outside New York City in Fairfield County Connecticut and travels worldwide for her clients. Helena Woods is New England and Connecticut’s premier family, children, baby and newborn photographer specializing in modern classic custom family photography with a timeless look that's always in style. As a professional photographer, Helena captures maternity, newborn, baby and family portraits in NYC, Westchester, Trumbull, Easton, Weston, and Westport, Greenwich, Darien, Westport, Norfolk and all Fairfield County surrounding areas.