I have a 440-page guide on how to simplify my life, but I haven't found the time to read it.

Like you perhaps, my once-quiet world now clatters with the joy
of a large family. Amid the din, I've had to simplify my quest
for the simple.

The advent of a simpler life can be launched with a concept so
simple it takes only a few words, yet its implications and
manifestations have given birth to entire institutions and
provided intellectual fodder for philosophers for centuries.

Still, it is better, more accessible, easier to implement - at
least for me - if I can keep the message simple.

Too much interpretation waters down the message. Too much debate
strips it of its power. Too much explanation distracts us from
its essence, and gives us an excuse to avoid getting down to the
business of doing it, of living it. And to live it is to change
our lives in sweeping, everyday ways.

It is this: Live in love. Whatever contributes to the love in
the world, do it.

I suppose I've taken the risk of sounding airy-fairy and
hippie-dippie. But just for a moment, allow yourself to
recognize that love is the only gift you will always have in

Recognize how different you feel when you extend it to others.
Recognize how its unrestricted sharing infuses you with new
energy in your own everyday life. And allow yourself to see how
such recognition could change your life. If, just for today, you made
it your simple goal to wholeheartedly extend yourself in love and
kindness. To love lavishly. Haphazardly. To smear it all over the place.

Once as a junior in college, I found myself in a bar with a
group of graduate students. I was the only underclassman in the
bunch and they were debating ethics, lobbing names of dead
philosophers like bocce balls with not a small dose of
intellectual pride.

I was quiet, soaking in all of the ideas and insights, when
someone who had too much to drink asked the underclassman what
she thought. "Whatever contributes to the love in the world, do
that," I said.

Silence followed as they waited for me to expand, to elaborate,
to offer proof. "That's pretty much it." I said.

It's not new advice, but it's certainly simple. For me,
simplifying your life is not to add another "should." It's
simply to recognize that your degree of happiness equals your
degree of compassion.

If someone curses you, hold her in your mind and bless her. If
you feel like cursing someone, bless her, too. Recognize that
the feeling of overwhelming compassion is available to you any
time you wish to call upon it.

Leading the simple life is to witness how extending love brings
you joy in a fundamental down-to-the-marrow sense. A joy you can
feel in your belly. And then to surrender the rest. To surrender
anything that takes way from that - whether it's an activity, a
possession, a relationship, a feeling, or a simple thought.

Ghandi said, "Renounce and rejoice." It doesn't get much simpler
than that.

Copyright 2004 Eliza Bloom

Author's Bio: 

Eliza Bloom's new book, The Bloom Method, is now online, and you can read it--in its entirety--for free: http://www.momscape.com/elizabloom/thebloommethod

Eliza also invites you to join her private mailing list, where you'll receive an uplifting message each week. To join, visit http://www.momscape.com/subscribe.htm