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free and clear


The quality or condition of being easy to understand or do.  The quality or condition of being plain or natural.

Webster’s Dictionary

When I first began to take yoga, I had to have my mat in the same place in the studio every time.  I needed a water bottle, a towel, a kleenex, 2 blocks, 2 blankets, my sweatshirt– and my purse nearby. I needed to get to class at least 15 mins early to stretch and focus and have everything just right.   Even when I started cooking as a teenager; I made a mess – sometimes even forgetting whole ingredients.  I burned cakes and cookies.  I would finish a dish triumphantly and look around the kitchen at a mountain of dirty dishes, spilled flour and melted butter on the countertops. When I started dancing, I needed my favorite ballet slippers-broken in just right and my favorite leotard.  I needed my hair off my face and tied in a bun just so.  If I didn’t have these specific things….how could I possibly be at my best?

But it was only a starting point.  Sometimes you have to just dive in and figure it out as you go.  I would watch the experienced yogis in class.  They strode in without fanfare-with just a mat– and seemed to be so streamlined in practice.  A great chef has a clean kitchen, palate and serves flawless and focused food.  And my favorite dancers of all time seemed to eliminate all extraneous movements.   Slowly over time, I needed less “stuff” next to my yoga mat in class. I would arrive with my yoga mat and a smile.   I began to cook dinner and have an actual plan.  I would just clean as I went.  When I arrived for ballet class, I would just throw my hair up and grab whatever pair of shoes I could find in my bag…just to see how I would deal with something different….after all, live performances have lots of surprises.  As I grew older, life got busy and I didn’t have time to have “perfect” conditions.

While my skills increased, so did my confidence.   You begin to master a skill, or improve your natural talents–and find you need less outside “stuff”.  You start to rely on yourself, and trust that all you need is you.  True mastery of something means that it becomes simplified. You can boil it down to it’s elements.   It becomes part of you, and you of it.  You can just open the door and let it flow.

We always tend to overthink and overcomplicate things.  Simplicity is a glorious goal because it is free and clear of self- doubt and fear.  Less movement, less worry – more focus, more freedom.  Being in the moment, and trusting your talents and instincts is the reward of the long journey.

You already have the power Dorothy……you didn’t need the ruby slippers after all.

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Maria E #

    It’s like you wrote this just for me to read this week–thank you Shannon! I needed these words! XXOO Maria

    August 24, 2010
    • Lady, I am so glad you connected with my words. I am in rehearsal and going thru this complex process…simplicity is my goal right now! lots of love xoxoxox

      August 24, 2010
    • Dn1IV5 It’s spooky how clever some ppl are. Thanks!

      April 10, 2011

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