Simplicity Is the Ultimate Sophistication

—Leonardo da Vinci

Pregnant is something I have never been, but oddly enough, I notice pregnant words everywhere! I’m not talking about the list of words an obstetrician rattles off to expectant mothers at every appointment, but I’m referring to words that act as gestational carriers for another word. Said a different way, a pregnant word is a word within a word that provides additional meaning and depth to the original word.  Before you labor (pun intended) further to figure out what I am saying, let’s get to this month’s blog post, a first in a series on pregnant words.

The word January is rooted in Roman mythology and is named after the god Janus. Janus is known as the god of the doorway, so naturally the month of January is deemed the gateway to a new year, and for many it represents a fresh start. On the American calendar, January is typically set apart from the other 11 months because our thoughts tend to be hyper-focused on setting goals of self-improvement. Thus is born a slew of resolutions that may or may not grow to maturity but aim to preserve and improve our lives as a whole.

How do we maintain momentum so our resolutions aren’t downgraded to just good intentions?  It might require a miracle or two. I believe mortals have a need and desire for miracles in their lives, but many are unaware that miracles are accessible through small, deliberate, and consistent means. Through her personal experience as an author, Julia Cameron knows that to “ ‘Get tiny’ is good advice for how to inch forward.” (Julia Cameron, the Complete Artist’s Way, pg. 617) This small and deliberate approach to life is also echoed throughout holy writ, “For precept must be upon precept…line upon line…here a little, and there a little.” (Isaiah 28:10)  Per Bristow, a world-renowned voice and performance coach, wisely advises his clients to approach goals and resolutions in eASy, small, and fun ways: “Starting small takes very little effort, but when done with enjoyment you'll automatically want more. Everyone wants more of what they experience as fun and fulfilling. The trap many fall into is that they fail to enjoy the process and therefore fail to create any momentum. Our daily activities become chore-like mundane things we ‘have to do.’ ”

One of my readers, Laurie Ogden, recently contacted me with a perfect example of  Per’s approach. Laurie has come up with what she calls the ‘mini-challenge,’ based on the book, Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results, by Stephen Guise. Once she sets a goal, she breaks it down to the tiniest bit and only does that tiny bit each day. For example, she made a resolution to drink one small glass of water each day—only one. After implementing this small step, she described what happened next was, “…just short of a miracle for me—I end up drinking five small glasses a day. [Typically] I rely pretty much on Diet Coke because water is boring! By concentrating on drinking one small glass of water, it raised my awareness, and when I am thirsty and want that Diet Coke, I think about which is healthier and what my body really wants—water. So a shift is happening!”

It’s as eASy as one small glass of water…

Laurie also set a goal to smile once a day, “I used to be called ‘Smiley,’ and I am still smiley, but the goal went further…I don’t just smile but I pay attention to why I am smiling. When I honor the WHY, the reason for the smile, I ultimately look to God because most likely He has just sent me another tender mercy—which He seems to do by the boatload every day.”

It’s as eASy as a smile.

It’s as eASy as setting the alarm one minute earlier each morning.

It’s as eASy as reading one verse or one paragraph.

It’s as eASy as eating one bite of leafy greens.

It’s as eASy as walking to one corner of the block.

It’s as eASy as we can make anything…and that is pretty eASy!

The word ‘as’ is used in comparisons and to emphasize amounts. So when you see the pregnant word ‘eASy,’ remember, when working with resolutions and goals, keep it as eASy as possible!

(Note: To learn more about the importance of keeping things simple and eASy, see chapter 3, “Small and Simple Saves Souls,” in my book titled Sacred Soul-Space: Making Room in Your Life for What You Have to Offer This World.)