Wearing less. Like a sexy dress.

The other morning I passed a lady fumbling for keys in her bag to open her little manicure shop on Mass Ave. We exchanged a quick smile and I felt my heart swell with appreciation:

  • The fact that she’d gotten out of bed.
  • That she’d showered and fixed herself up.
  • That here she was, showing up for another day of business, no matter how busy or slow, good or bad, it might turn out in the end.

It got me thinking about all the little things, all the ways in which people—you, me, that lady—show up for life.

Those things I used to take for granted? I’m noticing them. I’m loving them. And, this seems to be getting worse.

That’s right: worse as in, it’s spreading. In fact, I think it’s contagious.

The main symptom? Simple joys.

Like goat milk in my morning tea. (The milk I sometimes refer to as my a-buck-a-sip milk). And I should say goat milk in the best-ever-tea. (Yorkshire Gold, if you must know, of which my sister sent me three big boxes for my birthday).

Things like arm muscles growing more defined, not from any health club membership like I used to have, but from walking home a mile or so from the market several times a week, balancing, among red cabbage, lemons, kale, cheese, chocolate and bread, yes: that half-gallon of buck-a-sip goat milk.

The bright fire-orange reusable bags I fold up and carry around with me.

The city park I walk through with its birds and its marsh. Its benches and bunnies. Its frogs and its ever-changing-trees. Its kids and their moms and their dads and their soccer coaches with British accents and lovely tight tushies. And my running track and my walking paths, including a glassphalt path made of smooshed up, recycled, colored glass mixed into black asphalt. Ahhhh, Danehy Park. I love you.

The light of the moon on said sparkly path.

I could go on, I’m sure.

Lately, my pared down life keeps returning me to one simple question:

What is essential?

I love that question. It helps me find the heart of a matter.

It cuts through overwhelm with pruning shears of kindness. It gets rid of clutter to find the smooth surface of my kitchen table, the sweet comfort of my heart, and a mind that incubates all manner of ideas.

Yesterday, going about my business, I started playing with the words “Less is less,” singing them to the catchy tune of “Black is black,” by Los Bravos:

Less is less, a skimpy, sexy dress
More is more, one more thing of bore and chore.
What can I do? Cuz I-ayayayayay, I’m feeling new.

I know, cheesy. But hey.

Less and essential make room for bursts of unabashed laughter. For joy. Followed by quiet, in which to notice sounds, like the plaintive call of mourning doves. Like the neighborhood boys’ basketball bouncing in the park. Like the church chimes on the quarter hour. Like my visiting friend’s breathing while he sleeps.

Sounds a whole lot like just what I need.

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11 Responses to Wearing less. Like a sexy dress.

  1. Michelle Russell says:

    Ooh, so much goodness in this post! I’ve been feeling such an urge lately to simplify, declutter, and achieve clarity–so much so that at times it’s become just another compulsion, and I forget what I want to simplify FOR. This–your bare and spare observations about the ordinary day-to-day splendor that surrounds you, and the way you are appreciating it–serves as a wake-up call to me. Thank you!

    (P.S.–Why is your comment form not accepting my website’s URL? Weird.)

  2. Heidi,
    Lovely. So true, it only we can let go of the struggle, life becomes simply beautiful. Despite it all.

  3. leah
    Twitter:
    says:

    Love this post, Heidi!!

  4. AntiK says:

    You need more pain in your existence. Then you will apprectiate the "simple joys" more. Without pain, all joy is meaningless. Acknowledge and embrace the world of pain and suffering, then know true happiness from even the smallest pleasure.

    Your positiveness demands one thing, only to be shown how oblivious you are to the world. How easily your happiness will die, like when your "visiting friends breath" stops forever, or when your sister who gave you the milk calls you, this time to inform you of a death in the family.

    In a life filled with depression, you appreciate everything and will take NOTHING for granted. Everything from the birth of a human, to its inevitable death will become beautiful.

    Severe depression is appreciation. Happiness is ignorance.

  5. Heidi Fischbach says:

    @michelle send me your url and I’ll put it up. I’m not sure why you couldn’t. thanks for the note ;)

    @cmartell I was so excited to see space monster made it onto your blog! yay!

    @leah_art *kisses*

    @AntiK I think you and I have a lot more in common than you imagine. It’s the kind of things you mention that make me not take joy for granted. I’m sorry things feel so hard for you right now.

  6. Susan Marie says:

    Wow, what a post. Hooray for simple joys. And for inventing some new words for a song about sadness, from a place of deep understanding. Here’s to lugging home the buck-a-sip milk!

  7. Amy Crook says:

    What a wonderful call, not to action, but appreciation.

    How appropriate that my kitten is asking me to appreciate him (and stop typing). I think I’ll go do that now.

  8. Gina
    Twitter:
    says:

    Simply beautiful. And, I see, a fellow squarespace customer….

  9. Michelle Russell says:

    Hi, Heidi! My URL is http://www.PracticeMakesImperfect.com. ;o)

    I’m also including it in the form field…I’m on a different computer now, and maybe it’ll work this time. No worries, though–my comment wasn’t about getting my URL in your comment section. It was because I wanted to say how much I loved what you wrote!

    (P.S.–for what it’s worth, it didn’t work again. Specifically, the error message I’ve gotten both times says "The URL you provided is invalid (unrecognized format)." Just in case you want to investigate, in case others have this issue.)

  10. Heidi Fischbach says:

    @susan_marie @amy @gina so happy you all came a’visiting! Come in, come in! Let me serve you some Yorkshire Gold tea with a buck-a-sip goat milk ;)

  11. Eileen says:

    Oh Heidi, your writing floors me. Seriously, I’m laying on the floor after reading this. Only you could make reusable grocery bags into magic. And have me thinking, by god! beautiful, reusable grocery bags are this precious little magic! Why haven’t I seen this before? And see, now I see it. Thus is *your* magic. So much love to you, so inspired by you ~ Eileen

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