When I was a kid I liked to skip stones on lakes. If I threw a flat stone at the correct angle and with enough speed and energy it would kiss the surface and leap into the air again and again.

If we have too much stuff in our lives, our attention skips from one object to another without really enjoying anything. If we have too many activities, our attention jumps from past to future without settling into the present. If we have too many opinions, we end up thinking about how things should be without fully seeing how things are.

Happiness and ease flow from the bottom of the lake. They aren’t found hopping over the surface of life. We have to slow down enough to settle into the depths.

Joy and ease are simple and uncomplicated. Having lots of things to do, stuff to manage, places to go and opinions to consult make life complicated.

Practices that cultivate simplicity do two things. (1) They reduce the amount of stuff, activities or preferences so we have a better chance of settling into the present. They get the outward to resonate a little better with the happiness, joy and ease in our depths. And (2) they help us become more aware of our relationship to stuff, experience and thought.

Our Soul Matters Sharing Circle is a group of over 150 Unitarian Universalist congregations who follow the same monthly worship themes so we can more easily share small group material, as well as worship, sermon, music and children’s religious education resources.

Sharing resources helps us avoid duplicative work and frees us for other ministry. However, the greatest gift is deeper connection.  Despite great distances between us, we are spiritually connected by the themes, traveling each month on the same journey. Like a favorite reading from our hymnal says, “alone our vision is too narrow to see all that must be seen, and our strength too limited to do all that must be done. Together, our vision widens and our strength is renewed.”