diamonds and trust nuggets
EASE in Holidays, Hardship, Life
Think of ease as part of your guidance system. It shows up as an indicator that you're on-track, that you're approaching something with the right method or mindset, that life is giving you a YES. Ease goes with alignment and flow, with nonresistance, with grace. When things feels complicated and ponderous and irritating in the details—look again for what else is possible. Ask this directly, a simple, powerful question: What else is possible? Or this: What could you let go here, including the whole thing?
Don't set things up to be hard. Sometimes someone describes to me how hard something is, and it turns out some (much, all) of the burden is self-created. Remember that things can be approached any number of ways, and you don't have to do the most exacting, most time-consuming, most labor-intensive version. Watch for the following pitfalls that may hold you to the hard route:
Watch for ease, find the ease, focus on ease. Do this especially when things feel challenging or the situation seems inherently problematic. Intend ease, create ease, notice any modicum of ease—even in small doses. Drop out of complaining as quickly as you hear yourself in it and talk about ease instead. Quit focusing on what's hard; quit telling the story of how hard it is. (I know I don't have to spell out what that gets you more of.) Even where you have less choice in the matter, you certainly have the choice to watch for and focus on ease.
(Ugly illustration alert.) When I was dealing with a parasite in my household, there was a grossly unfamiliar amount of cleaning and laundry involved. I definitely had a choice: I wanted to do all this cleaning so that our home and bodies could be clear and healthy. It took time and labor. It was work that I don't typically go for with great gusto. As the only adult in this household, I was the one to do this work. So as I found myself washing bedding again, every day, I would give a mental nod to women who scrub laundry on the rocks at the riverside. Next to that lifestyle, this was (bad-pun-metaphor alert) another day at the beach. There's a clothesline in my backyard, and I love pinning up laundry to dry in the sun and open air; there's also a marvelous dryer in my basement that, at the touch of a button, does its job in less than an hour. I felt so appreciative of it, and of having the choice to use the extra resources and unburden myself. My son and I shook our heads over clean bedsheets EVERY SINGLE NIGHT so many nights in a row—pure luxury, livin' on easy street!
Make tricky situations or dealing with unpleasant people into a game. As soon as fun or humor or the idea of playing a game comes into any scenario, so does greater ease. When someone drives you crazy, consider that you're both allowing that and perpetuating it, as you stroke the hackles on the back of your neck and review again (in thought or speech) how hard it is for you to be around this maddening human being. Come up with a way to generate a different internal (and possibly external) response to predictable behavior. Someone told me about making up a bingo game to keep her occupied when she was on the phone with her mother. There were certain habitual things her mom was almost certain to say or do, so she captured these with little symbols on a homemade bingo board and filled in the blocks as the conversation went along. This strikes me as pure genius (and hilarious). Much better than gritting your teeth and blowing a gasket every time the annoyance trigger gets pulled!
I've talked to many different clients about managing interactions with problematic people they don't want to oust from their lives altogether. Instead of being shocked and outraged by what's not a bit surprising (even if they outdo themselves, it still lines up with the usual fare, right?), you can make a game of watching them with admiration for how well they play their character. This is much more fun than watching with judgment, feeling irked and appalled. Applaud the brilliant acting! They've got this character nailed! When they outdo themselves, give an internal standing ovation for this award-winning rendition of themselves, just when you thought you knew all their tricks.
A client facing the holidays described to me the irritation of watching a relative visibly shrink from someone who's coughing or who mentions being sick, constantly making much of her feeble immune system and what she might catch next. Why not make a game of how quickly this gets introduced in the day's gathering (time it!)? Or keep count of how many instances of gonna-get-sick talk occur. (I'm thinking of a private game, not a group event, so it doesn't get mean. The point isn't to hate on the person who irritates you, but to dispel the irritation and get to greater ease through playfulness.)
Quit wearing badges related to hard work. I'm not from my father's pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps era, but still today I notice a lot of cultural messages out there about working hard for anything of value, and getting to feel proud about accomplishments only if they come of hard work. What if we bragged about effortlessness? What if we stressed how much ease we managed to infuse into potentially difficult paths and processes? Sometimes people I work with are seeking to go for a career change or an entrepreneurial endeavor that truly comes of who they are, of their passion, of a dream they've had for some time. Ease is one of the things that characterize the venture for them. I'm not saying they don't work hard: they do, but it's the kind of hard that isn't exhausting, that creates a momentum to propel them onward, that has at least some hefty component of I-could-eat-this-for-dessert—even as they must learn to market the thing or keep the books straight or put in plenty of hours to attend to tasks they love. All the hard stuff is worth it to support the stuff that puts them in the flow.
Get more present, right now. It may seem like the opposite would be true, but the more consciously you show up to experience in full color the details of tricky things going on in your world, the more easily you move through them. There's no resistance in presence: you're willing to be here, for whatever it is. So bring your awareness and five glorious senses to bear on the task at hand, even the most arduous or despicable task (event, conversation, boring-go-nowhere-limbo kind of moment), and you'll stay put with greater ease (and potentially more quickly catch the wave to get out).
Resources from others on ease
I learned from Byron Katie to look for all that supports you, and to sit there cataloging it when you feel alone or unsupported: appliances, furniture, the floor, the ceiling, the working phone, food, clean water, the trees, an animal presence, silence, the option to think of any song you've ever loved and find it in a YouTube search. Martha Beck talks about focusing on something that feels good or neutral in your body when you're feeling pain in another part or parts. How much of your marvelous body works?! You might google Deepak Chopra and the Law of Least Effort--you'll find some cool stuff comes up. Finally, here's an audio-clip from Abraham Hicks demonstrating the good kind of self-talk to remind yourself about and scooch toward a concept of ease when your impulse based on history is to insist it must be hard (in this case applied to relationship).
Wishing you a new year of increasing ease,
p.s. I so value feedback. If you have anything to tell me about what you've gained from this, write to let me know! Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org (just hit reply if you're receiving this as a mailing).
New Year Visioning Workshops for Women! (Trans-women welcome)
This is going to be GOOD! Not just the *new, revitalized* workshop with other amazing women, but starting the new year with the clearing and visioning we'll create together.
From Vision to Fruition
Ithaca (Jan 3)
early-bird price through Dec. 24
Rochester (Jan 17)
early-bird price through Dec. 31
This program is about stepping into the new era (any new era of your life, including the new year) with clarity of intention. If you'd like me to bring the program to where you live any time of year,contact me to see what we can dream up together. It's been done before. ...
Curious about coaching? My availability has opened up, with my manuscript no longer claiming so much time!
I offer a free 30-minute exploration session by phone or Skype or in person (in Ithaca, NY). To get the free session, just fill out the contact form on my website.
For Facebook types, I post most days with an aim to support your growth and healing, inspire you, remind you of what you already know, keep you in touch with the magic, propose that you think big, and cast my vote for you to keep being ever kinder to yourself. Some popular posts from the past month:
Make little of the unexpected fee or the thing you can't afford. Make much of how plentifully all your basic needs are met. Make little of the loose ends you didn't tie up. Make much of what you most want and get to give yourself to right now. Make little of obligation & expectations. Make much of how you choose to show up. Make little of passing tensions & irritations. Make much of humor, beauty, connection, easy kindness. Make little of what you may be missing out on. Make much of all you get. MUCH!
You are not some certain measurable and constant level of healthy. How healthy you are varies along a spectrum, and you know (you know) when you're at your best and when you're at your worst. So know that when you're on the low end of the spectrum, THAT IS NOT THE TIME TO PREDICT YOUR FUTURE OR MAKE DECISIONS ABOUT IT. You will only project the worst of what you believe about yourself, about others, about what's possible, about what supports & guides & protects you. Here's what it's time to do when you're on that low end: Feel better. Take care of yourself. Choose health, or just one healthy thing to do or eat or believe in. Choose better thoughts than the ones that match how you feel. Scooch toward what feels better.
You don't need to feel bad about a place to go somewhere else. You don't need to feel bad about a person to change your relationship to them. You don't need to feel bad about your work to go for something more fulfilling. You don't need to hate your body to make choices that make it feel or look better (or both!). You don't need to feel bad about anything to do something else.
What if we didn't separate out so-called bad from so-called good when we make our gratitude lists or consider what we feel thankful for? Could it be that it really is all good? What if we saw every sensation, every emotion, every event, every being we encounter—all as perfect parts of the whole of our amazing lives and soul journeys ... and felt grateful for all of it? Since that's A LOT, what if we boiled it down to gratitude or appreciation for right now (and now, and now, and now) and all that this moment holds? We'd basically be living lives saturated in gratitude.
Visit me on Facebook anytime. I invite you to LIKE my page and respond to individual posts that speak to you. Facebook will serve you more posts if you like, comment on, or share them--plus it brings me joy to experience the page as dialogue, not monologue.