This morning as I sat in a garden, my mind fluttering between responsibilities, memories, obligations, priorities, the sun beating down on me, the gurgle of my empty stomach and a whirlwind of neurons zig zagging across my brain registering everything that had happened, was happening and would happen in my life. My mind, very thankfully, came to an abrupt halt. My attention was seized by a small flower, in its bright orange dress, dancing on the edge of its stem in the sunlight, flirting with a little bee, simply trying to give it a kiss. Watching their nature’s dance keenly, a feeling of content, of everything being right in the world, washed over me, as if all that I had I done, all I was doing, and all that was left to be completed, was in accordance to some grand plan that I was just allowed to get a glimpse of. As soon as this feeling had nestled its way inside of me and comfort began to take hold, my natural curiosity sprung the loaded trap of my mind. With teeth formidable to any bear trap, and depth capable of ensnaring any beast, my mind aiming at sabotage targeted my soul, and the question burst forward “Why?”
Why indeed? Why had this simple act, so regularly played out, seized my attention, halted my thoughts, and laid my weary nerves to rest? As I continued to watch the dance searching for an answer, it was but one word that explained it all, SIMPLICTY. I’ve always had a natural attraction to the elegance of simplicity, never one for clutter, or over the top dress, simple and straightforward as I can be. Simplicity is something I’ve strived for and aimed at throughout my life. Simplicity has attracted me to many of my passions in life, from the martial arts, to public speaking, to business, and to education. Sometimes those who know me accuse me of being too simple, however in this moment of reflection something dawned on me, simplicity, like beauty, is in the eyes of the beholder.
A flower to many is nothing more than a flower, brightly coloured, varying in size and shape, and to some a fragrance (although because of my poor sense of smell I have never shared that sentiment). All in all for the common person it is something pleasing to the eyes (and to some the nose). Yet to the poet it is a source of inspiration, quite like the line I once read in a collection of Tupac Shakur’s writings, “The rose that grew from the concrete.” This imagery of a rose (as many imagine it to be red) springing from the concrete, the downtrodden pavement, declaring “here I am.” Bringing with it the petal and the thorn, the beauty and the danger, the delicacy and the resilience, things only a rose grown from concrete would understand. Or what about the romantic who uses the same rose as a declaration of his love, or the mourner who chooses the flower of choice to lay atop their loved ones in a final act of remembrance. Or what about the botanist who sees not the flower, but each part of an organic being in intricate detail, understanding that this natural exchange of flower and bee are but an essential and complicated element in the whole balance and preservation of the world around us. To take it a step further, what about the physicist who thinks in atoms, and neurons, and delves deep into the complexity of the millions of parts that go into sustaining the very form of the flower.
The flower so simple to me (and many others) can be so complex to those with a different angle, a more in depth look, a more connected view. Isn’t this true for all elements of life though, that the speech I give, or the writing I share, are they too not simple to the untrained eye or ear? Are they not simply words, that when resonating with an audience makes them feel good, motivated, maybe even inspired? Is a dance that stops your breathe not just simply a set of movements across a stage? Is the food served to you simply not just organic material assorted in various combinations with either heat or cold applied? It’s true it’s all simple, but the simplicity lies in the unique binding of the complex. Nothing we do, say, or experience is in fact simple. You, me, us, them, we’re all complex; we’re all striving to bring our many functions, lessons, talents, learnings, and so much more together to produce something amazing. We spend hours, days, weeks, months, some of us even years preparing to bring forth that which lies within us. To connect with people socially, emotionally, mentally, physically in a complex organization of beings now dubbed society.
Yet at the end of the day, what more will it be than a product or a service, that provides a simple sense of satisfaction to the end user. Much like the flower’s dance in the garden, sometimes our simplicity is all the world needs to feel at peace.