June 1

Motivation Mondays: SIMPLICITY

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“Our life is frittered away by details… simplify, simplify.” Henry David Thoreau

Motivation Mondays: SIMPLICITY - floral in bloom
Motivation Mondays: SIMPLICITY – flora in bloom


A monk asked Chao-chou, “I have just entered the monastery: please give me some guidance.”
Chao-chou said, “Have you eaten your rice gruel?”
The monk said,”Yes, I’ve eaten.”
Chao-chou said, “Then go wash your bowl.” Zen Mondo via
One day Chuang-tzu and a friend were walking along a riverbank. “How delightfully the fishes are enjoying themselves in the water!” Chuang-tzu exclaimed.
“You are not a fish,” his friend said. “How do you know whether or not the fishes are enjoying themselves?”
“You are not me,” Chuang-tzu said. “How do you know that I do not know that the fishes are enjoying themselves?” Taoist Mondo The Little Zen Companion by David Schiller via UFL.Edu

What does SIMPLICITY mean to you? I believe that  Simplicity is in the ease with which we choose to move through life… unencumbered by stuff. We can choose a life of easy repose, sloughing off things that no longer serve us, or  we can choose a life of constant stress and scrambling around from spot to spot in search of some version of nirvana.  Relax, become Zen like. There is nothing out there. It is in here – in our hearts; it is inside us.  What  do you do to simplify your life?


“Three rules of work: Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” Albert Einstein

Motivation Mondays: SIMPLICITY - flora in bloom
Motivation Mondays: SIMPLICITY – flora in bloom


Missing Somebody? … Call
Want to Meet Up? … Invite
Want to be Understood? … Explain
Have questions? … Ask
Don’t like something? … Say it.
Like Something? … State it
Want something? … Ask for it
Love someone? … Tell it
A monk asked Chao-chou, “If a poor man comes, what should one give him?”
“He lacks nothing,” answered the master

When a Facebook friend shared the brilliant message above, on a poster, it caught my attention because the questions posed were honest and the answers/suggestions were simple common sense answers.  We don’t need to complicate our lives with heavy duty pondering…  The responses and the Zen mondo are simply reminding us to stop complicating our lives. We can let go and move forward and take the path of compassion and minimal confusion. How do you complicate your life and what can you do to let go?

Some of us look at what we have with dissatisfaction, ignoring the gift of our skills, and instead of simplifying our lives,  we complicate it by working ourselves up into a frenzy over things that are not ours to have. We lose our calm, our focus, and our center because our wants have overtaken our wisdom and then, in a flash of recognition, in a eureka moment, we might find ourselves back where we belong; at square one… Wherever we go, there we are. Simplify the wants and the desires because what is ours will always come back looking for us. What are You letting go?  Read the story below for insight. – Keep it simple!

A GREAT STORY: More Is Not Enough – The Stone Cutter
There was once a stone cutter who was dissatisfied with himself and with his position in life. One day, he passed a wealthy merchant’s house and, through the open gateway, he saw many fine possessions and important visitors. “How powerful that merchant must be!” thought the stone cutter. He became very envious and wished that he could be like the merchant.
To his great surprise, he suddenly became the merchant, enjoying more luxuries and power than he had ever imagined. But, he was envied and detested by those less wealthy than himself. Soon a high official passed by, carried in a sedan chair, accompanied by attendants and escorted by soldiers beating gongs. Everyone, no matter how wealthy, had to bow low before the procession. “How powerful that official is!” he thought. “I wish that I could be a high official!”

Then he became the high official, carried everywhere in his embroidered sedan chair, feared and hated by all the people around him. It was a hot summer day, so the official felt very uncomfortable in the sticky sedan chair. He looked up at the sun. It shone proudly in the sky, unaffected by his presence. “How powerful the sun is!” he thought. “I wish that I could be the sun!”
Then he became the sun, shining fiercely down on everyone, scorching the fields, cursed by the farmers and laborers. But soon, a huge black cloud moved between him and the earth, so that his light could no longer shine on everything below. “How powerful that storm cloud is!” he thought. “I wish that I could be a cloud!”

Then he became the cloud, flooding the fields and villages, shouted at by everyone. But soon enough, he found that he was being pushed away by some great force, and realized that it was the wind. “How powerful it is!” he thought. “I wish that I could be the wind!” Then he became the wind, blowing tiles off the roofs of houses, uprooting trees, feared and hated by all below him. But after a while, he ran up against something that would not move, no matter how forcefully he blew against it – a huge, towering rock. “How powerful that rock is!” he thought. “I wish that I could be a rock!”
Then he became the rock, more powerful than anything else on earth. But, as he stood there, he heard the sound of a hammer pounding a chisel into the hard surface, and felt himself being changed. “What could be more powerful than I, the rock?” he thought.
He looked down and saw far below him, the figure of a stone cutter.

The details for Motivation Mondays are below. Join in! The themes for May and June are:
05/18 – FITNESS
05/25 – SERVICE

06/29 – TRUST

Always More Below!

“Manifest plainness, embrace simplicity, reduce selfishness, have few desires.” Lao Tzu

Motivation Mondays: SIMPLICITY - flora in bloom
Motivation Mondays: SIMPLICITY – flora in bloom

Fa-yen, a Chinese Zen teacher, overheard four monks arguing about subjectivity and objectivity. He joined them and said: “There is a big stone. Do you consider it to be inside or outside your mind?”
One of the monks replied: “From the Buddhist viewpoint everything is an objectification of mind, so I would say that the stone is inside my mind.”
“Your head must feel very heavy,” observed Fa-yen, “if you are carrying around a stone like that in your mind.” Zen Story
Another time I saw a child coming toward me holding a lighted torch in his hand. “Where have you brought the light from?” I asked him.
He immediately blew it out, and said to me, “O Hasan, tell me where it has gone, and I will tell you whence I fetched it.” Hasan Basri

Whether we choose to spend our lives quietly or in a big city, we can find that resolve within to simplify and find ways to enjoy our lives without the additional burden of complicated situations. A lot has to do with the agreements we negotiate with ourselves and others in our lives. When we say yes to living our lives in a clear and joyful way, we find that the universe provides us with more opportunities for ease. First, we must want to, and then, we must ask and act… What do you think? What does simplicity mean to you? How do you add simplicity to your life? Do you have days when everything simply falls into place? Do share! Thank you.

Positive Motivation Tip: Simplicity is in the ease with which we choose to move through life… unencumbered by stuff.

Motivation Mondays is open to anyone who wishes to share a motivational quote, photo, personal challenge or a post that encourages others to start the week on an upbeat note.
Basic Instructions: Each week, I will have a motivation word to help us create a response. (See listed words for end of November and all of December below)
Email address: You may email or share your post as a comment and I will add it to the round-up of related posts. email it to: contact(@)mirthandmotivation(.)com
Category tag: – Share your post using Motivation Mondays
Twitter hashtag: – Use this on Twitter #MotvnM
Dedicated Page: There is a dedicated page for Motivation Mondays. It has the same instructions and will include other helpful tools and a link to the round-up
Facebook Page: MotivationOnMondays Join our page and add your post and/or any motivational piece you think will be helpful to others.
Facebook Community: We have a Facebook community forum to compliment the page. It serves as another way to share uplifting posts and thoughts. Please join in and add your voice.

Badge: – I created a fun badge using PicMonkey’s free photo editing tools. You can create your own, use WordPress’ integrated tool on your blog or you are welcome to use mine. (see dedicated page)
Tag: – Motivation Mondays
Hashtag: – #MotvnM

Related Posts

PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: All Photos: From my Personal Collection and/or Public Domain Flowers via Wikipedia

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet


#MotvnM, inspiration, life, Memorial Day, Motivation, Motivation Mondays, motivational stories, positive attitude, postaday, simplicity

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  • I love the pictures of the flowers you posted I think they are the perfect representation for the word simplicity.

  • This reminds me of my grandmother. She always taught her children and her grandchildren ( us ) the value of simplicity. It wasn’t easy of course, especially if you grew up in a community and went to school whose values aren’t exactly like that. Simplicity encourages us to be contented with what we have.

  • I love the ideal of simplicity! I think to often we over think things and make life more difficult than it has to be.

  • being simple is not having too much desire (in all aspects). esp on material things. if we desire too much, we tend to become selfish. being simple is being contented to whatever you have right now.and just wanting to have what you need rather than what you want.

  • Love your Motivation Monday posts specially today’s. I Love all the flowers that you selected. So pretty!

  • These are beautiful. I love seeing all of your beautiful photos. Thank you for sharing them with us.

  • I love this topic, I’ve always admire those people who are simple yet knows so many things or humble enough that you don’t expect.

  • I like this post especially the ones in italics. Almost the kind of things I do. To make life simple too, sometimes I choose not to care about whatever people are saying against me. Lol. Simple.

  • Beautiful post. I think simplicity is the art of letting go and the ability to find joy and peace in the things that nourish you.

  • Sometimes you have to appreciate simplicity at it’s finest. By expressing yourself through an art form like this is one of the best ways of communication to invite or express one’s aspiration in life.

  • Such an excellent tip to encourage myself to stay simple always!! Great simple lesson!!

  • Simple is always better I think! When I was younger I use to think the more you had the better… These days I’m all about being simple, the simple life is the life for me!

  • I really love the story of the stone cutter. You have a way of resonating your perspective so well through inspirational stories and in your photos!

  • I LOVE this post! It’s motivational and inspirational! The photos are so beautiful! Thanks for sharing!! <3

  • Simplicity to me is learning to accept what you have and be grateful. Another fine read on a humid afternoon.

  • As we grow older, we forget the importance of simplicity. Our life gets more complicated as we age that we start to forget simple happiness.

  • It’s so important to embrace simplicity. I love the quotes you featured in this post!

  • Honestly one of my personal mantras. I think we could all stand to learn even more through living simply! 🙂

  • Honestly, I keep changing my approach to each day until I get it right I totally agree that simplicity is key to good living and you do need to channel that inner zen and stop looking for it in weird places. It has to come from within. Great motivational post Elizabeth!

  • I think I live a pretty simple life. I don’t need a whole lot to make me happy. I just need the people I love.

  • Simple is beautiful. Simplicity makes things easier to do and understand, so there’s no misunderstanding when people live simply.

  • i love those flowers. Now if i could get someone to come and plant just some of those for me.

  • Simplicity is my favorite virtue. I think of myself as a simple person. In reality, we can all be complex in our own way, but if we should train ourselves to live life simply and happily. – Fred

  • Simplicity in life connotes wisdom and peacefulness. It’s the way of engaging simple things in life according to its values. Fernando Lachica

  • I appreciate a simple life. As soon as I’m able to read the Leader who had no title. I became aware of the simple joys of a simple living can provide. Way beyond what most people feel in a luxurious state. Simplicity for me is the ultimate connector of the universe and me.

  • I need to work on simplicity. I tend to over analyze things at times. Thank you for the reminder to live a simple life.

  • Love this. We all need to enjoy the simplicity of life. But also let everyone know how we feel about them. This makes me want to meditate.

  • Thank you for the inspiration! Even though I am working in an office I try to surround myself with plants. Nature always relaxes me. I need to try to simplify my life in many ways and get to a more relaxed state.

  • Simplicity to me is just basically that, simple not a whole lot of drama or stuff to buy. I just want simple life, a house that is simple and not over done and friends that like me for me!

  • Simplicity makes the world a better place. Life is much easier when things are simple and plain. Although it’s a human nature to ask for more, having less desire can make our life more valuable.

  • For me, to live simple means one must learn to be contented. When we aspire too much, we begin to complicate our lives. A great example would be purchasing items we don’t really need but we buy anyway to portray our status in the society. Why would you spend your hard earned money just to look better in the eyes of your neighbors? When you can live humbly…

  • Simplifying is definitely something I’ve been working on doing in my life. Things can be so complicated, I need some simplicity in my life!

  • Wow what an amazing post! I love the details and the tips you provide. My idea of simplicity is every day looking around and being grateful, for all things big and small.

  • Great to see your motivational post. These are very timely specially at the start of the week. Thanks

  • Always remember my lecturer said to us, ” Simplicity is the key”. However, people will start think more and more complicated when growing up.

  • it seems it describes me perfectly… simple and not complicated person.. i just want things around me clear and not too much going on… when life is simple there is also peace and order

  • C.S Lewis has always been my favorite. Thanks for putting the quote there as it inspired me to pursue my dreams and follow my heart. It is absolutely true. There’s no age limit when it comes to dreams.

  • What a gorgeous round up of flower photos. It’s not easy but I try to live simply and not complicate my life with clutter.

  • Every thing starts as simple things. So for me, I’ll try not to make things complicated. And yes, God is all I need to accomplish such simplicity in my life.

  • The thing about simplicity is that, it is just not really simple at all is it? Ah, the idea of letting all the baggage and drama go, so tempting. Not so easy to achieve.

  • I love all of the beautiful photos of the flowers. My parents have been adding new additions to their garden, and I’ve been wanting my own garden and flowers lately.

  • More often it’s the simple things that mean a lot and living a simple life is worth than all the richness in the world.

  • Such beautiful flowers and they are so simple yet filled with details in shapes, colors and form.

  • Actually life is very simple, we are the one that make it complicated. All I need is have enough food, shelter, family, love, health and happiness the rest of it is secondary. Simplicity is the key to peace and harmony.

  • I believe simplicity is the true key to happiness. That is why I strive for simplicity much as I can. 🙂

  • This is such a beautiful post. I’ve always believed that it’s us humans who make everything seem complicated. Living a simple life — true to one’s self, is really the way to go to become at peace and happy. At the moment, I try to do this to my own life, although it can be difficult at times when life throws you a lot at one time.

  • I lead a very simple life, I love simplicity! We love living without clutter too. It feels so refreshing.

  • It’s a person choice to do what he/she wants in life. Simplicity is a modest way of living without any difficulties. Fernando Lachica

  • I LOVED the white flowers the most especially the daisies. They’re all beautiful. Simplicity is beauty indeed!

  • It is the simpler things in life that make us all happy, really. If life was less complicated, then it would be so much more fun!

  • I love the stone cutter story. Simplicity and contentment should go hand in hand. Clutter can be very burdensome!

  • Meal-planning has simplified my life so much! That and carrying 3 different planners!

  • That was a beautiful story about the stone cutter 🙂 Do you think it is in man’s innate nature to always wish for more?

  • Simplicity for me is being thankful with what you have and practice minimalist living.

  • I think the simpler the life, the better it is. That’s why I’m trying to have a simple life. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy but I know if I really like it then it’s possible.

  • That’s a great lesson in how much you can do with a very simple subject. I need to work on being able to capture such great detail.

  • There are lots of great things that comes with simplicity. Keeping things simple can make life much easier than ever.

  • Reading through every Motivation Monday post you share really motivates and inspire me. 🙂

  • Living simply makes life less stressful. Sometimes we need to look beyond the complexities to appreciate the beauty.

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