In his thoughtful and thought-provoking song “Anyone Can Whistle,” Stephen Sondheim writes:

It's all so simple,
Relax, let go, let fly.
So someone tell me, why can't I?

In this month of giving, getting, and gathering, when we all do more and push harder, relaxing and letting go are relegated to minor bullet points on the To Do List. In our bustling and striving, we barely remember what we’re bustling and striving for. In our rush to find the perfect turkey or bottle of wine, we forget why we’re looking. Mindful of the next task, we miss being present to this one.

Sondheim’s words make me stop and think about simplicity. As the song says, we can dance tangos, slay dragons, and read Greek. What’s hard is simple. But to be simple is hard. I don’t know about you, but my growing up was about working harder not easier. Case in point ... this article was originally three times as long and said less!

I’m just thinking out loud, but what if this holiday season I drafted a new blueprint for success? What if …
• When a dinner guest asks, “May I bring something?” ... I say yes.
• When invited to an event I have no energy for ... I say no.
• When I feel inundated by unfinished tasks ... I delete some.

I like this.

• Before the whole gift-giving, party-going atmosphere starts to feel out of hand … what if I sit down with family and friends and talk about creating more meaning with less doing?

Author and former Scottish Episcopal Bishop Richard Holloway has said, “Simplicity, clarity, singleness: These are the attributes that give our lives power and vividness and joy...”

Don’t get so wrapped up in busy-ness that you forget to experience joy and gratitude. As soon as you feel yourself inching toward overwhelm, take a moment, center, and choose simplicity, not just this season but in all seasons of the year.

Wishing you good ki and a season of Simple Gifts…. (listen)

Author's Bio: 

Judy Ringer is the author of Unlikely Teachers: Finding the Hidden Gifts in Daily Conflict. She provides conflict and communication training throughout North America with unique workshops based on mind/body principles from the martial art aikido, in which she holds a second degree black belt. Employing best practice communication models, Judy brings to life key concepts such as self-management under pressure and appreciation of other viewpoints. Her programs are interactive, experiential and energetic.

She has written articles on the relevance and application of the aikido metaphor for Aikido Today Magazine and The Systems Thinker and is the author of the award-winning e-newsletter, Ki Moments.