(Would you, could you believe that it’s supposed to be easy?)
I just found a little note I wrote for myself with an Abraham-Hicks quote that struck me: “The path of least resistance is also the path of greatest joy, greatest clarity, and the most fun!”
Abraham’s path of least resistance is a crazy-simple concept: You watch for and find the easiest, most effortless spot to next place your foot. Don’t see the whole picture? Don’t have a start-to-finish plan? No problem. Find your next step, knowing that’s enough. Take the easiest step you have access to.
You can do it tired, scared, confused. Point yourself roughly in the right direction (as I talk about in part 4 of Scooch!) and step forward, wherever your foot can land without some big leap or forceful stomping.
You can do it with curiosity instead of dread; you can stay tuned for the guidance rather than fear you’ll get it wrong. You can trust yourself to course-correct as you go.
It’s always okay to find you’re in resistance. Watch it dispassionately, compassionately. Then find your point of least resistance, and step there. Rinse and repeat; rinse and repeat. You’ll see and feel the resistance melt away. You’ll find the momentum builds as you go, often surprisingly swiftly.
To proceed along the path of least resistance, start by noticing when you’re in resistance.
In your body, resistance can feel like
You’re in resistance when you're
It also helps to be clear about the signs that you're on a path of least resistance:
How to follow the path of least resistance:
All you need to do is gingerly pick your way along the unknown way, one step at a time, simply finding your next point of least resistance. What’s the easiest way to go that feels like it’s in the right direction? Forget the whole picture. Don’t call this one step a drop in the bucket. Your point of least resistance simply gives you access to movement. One step, and another, and the next, until you’re moving so well, you forget you didn’t know how to do this. You’ll course-correct as you go, so don’t worry about whether you’re heading just the right way. You’re meant to build and ride momentum.
Hey, it’s not just that the path of least resistance will get you to where you’re going in the most effortless way. Remember the quote I began with from Abraham-Hicks? “The path of least resistance is also the path of greatest joy, greatest clarity, and the most fun!” So when it feels like that … you’re on it!
Love & blessings, Jaya
Note that an earlier post on least resistance approaches these concepts from another angle.
Below are categories of positive rumination, with examples. Scan them, if you wish, and come closer to the ones you’re most drawn to or need the most help with. Use all of these categories with an intention of self-soothing. Notice that you actually know how to soothe yourself and you’re able to soothe yourself.
DO NOT make feeling better a requirement for sticking with self-soothing. Do it for its own sake. Do it because it’s more likely to eventually calm you and make you hopeful and clear and able to act--while going back to negative ruminations or self-attack is likely to make you feel worse and get stuck where you don’t want to be. Cultivate kind, self-supporting rumination for the sake of not abandoning yourself. Do it as practice. Do it to be kind; to vote for life, healing, evolution; to come closer to love.
Connecting to magic: Notice signs and symbols; review synchronicity, echoes, repetition. Let yourself be wowed by the gorgeous timing or aligned meetings you didn’t orchestrate. Make much of how life keeps surprising you. Revel in the wonder of super-cool stuff and creatures and facts—amazing stuff is actually REAL on this planet. Let the beauty of it all touch you. Laugh at absurd happenings and interconnections. Be fascinated and amazed by how the parts of your life and people in it are woven together by an intelligence greater than you—an intelligence that’s interesting and loving and has a fabulous sense of humor.
Trusting in or experimenting with a friendly Universe: This is a human experience, not something personal. I’m willing to be a human being having this human experience. This is not punishment—I don’t live in a punitive Universe. I don’t need to understand why this is happening; I need to get present and meet it well. I can believe I’m guided and have all the support I need. I can watch for all that’s revealed along the way and trust the journey. I can believe I [anyone, a group, the planet] will gain from going through this.
Lemonade-making (subset of friendly U above): [First one’s from Byron Katie:] I’ve been spared. Whatever or whoever falls away no longer belongs in my life to support my current level of healing and evolution. There will be lessons in this I can’t see yet; perhaps I can name one now—some likely or obvious one. Nothing is going wrong here (besides that I’m not getting what I wanted when and how I wanted it). This is a great opportunity to practice what I’ve been wanting to practice. I’m building some muscles right now, and muscles are appealing. This is a chance to trust life, to show up for what’s actually happening, to value open and shut doors equally as part of my ongoing guidance. This is an opportunity to draw and hold boundaries. There’s no problem with what’s happening. (Note the latter is true even if people are hurting or dying—not to deny death or suffering but to accept anything as part of human life on planet earth, and to believe in an evolutionary thrust operative even it looks like it’s going backward.)
Looking for all that supports you: Start simple and get basic. I have food, water, air, a roof overhead, ground underfoot. My mattress supports me; this pillow supports me; the couch supports me. This land supports me. The beauty of this place supports me. My love of this mission supports me. I have a working phone, and there are 3 people I could text or call if I wanted to; if I left them a message they’d receive it in right time with caring. I can see one thing I could do right now that would make me feel better physically or emotionally; I can see one thing to do that would support me to feel better inhabiting my space. Certain people occupying certain roles in my life support me. I can think of one thing to try or think about differently that I want to practice and/or that has served me before. Someone kind is nearby or has been recently. Strangers have helped me or could. The unexpected could happen, and I’m open. I can remember a specific time the unexpected did happen. I’m not lacking support just because I hurt. I’m not lacking support just because I don’t know what to do or can’t see into the future. I’m not lacking support just because I’ve made mistakes or think I’m making one now. Actually, I do have all I need right now.
Cultivating the belief that you’re fine as you are: There’s nothing wrong with me. Whatever I’m feeling is okay. There’s nothing to fix. Source sees me as an entirely valid and beautiful being on an entirely valid and beautiful journey. I’d like to see myself as Source sees me. I’d like to see myself through lenses of love and compassion and ease and forgiveness. I think I can get better at that; in fact, I already have. All will be revealed as I go and I’m okay right now. I’ve been here before and I didn’t get stuck here. It’s okay to be a work in progress—that’s in fact all that’s possible. It’s okay to be exactly where I am now on my path at this moment in time—and because it’s impermanent, it will yield to something else. What if there’s nothing to fault myself for? If I’m in a shame spiral or self-reproach, the thing to correct is the shame or the reproach; I don’t need to be corrected; I am not a problem. If I’m not acting right now or if I keep putting that off, maybe it’s not time for it. Maybe I’m working up to it. Maybe I’d work up to it better being kind to myself. I’m fine.
Giving yourself a bit of credit: Consider and name things you’ve completed recently, things you feel good about, things you did well, things you’ve achieved, things you’ve understood more deeply, new insights or aha moments. Consider something recent you handled better than ever or interrupted or remembered earlier. I’ve come a long way. I’m doing better with this than I used to. I can think of things I’ve cleaned up or transformed that I wasn’t sure I could change or that I know human beings can go into denial about or get stuck in. I’m willing to look at myself. I’m willing to witness myself right now and to get kinder in the witnessing. What I’m feeling or believing now really better represents my younger self. You might imagine sitting with or holding that one now and giving them/her/him messages of love and reassurance; let them in on good things to come.
Expanding into “I’m amazing”: I actually like myself—I like my sensibilities and my preferences and my skills and my talents. I like how I look, how I use my body, how I feel things. I love how the Universal intelligence [love] [goodness] [life force] moves through me. I can think of things I’ve done that are really cool and kind of amazing. I love what I’m cultivating and moving toward right now. I can think of things I’ve lived through that made me a strong and kind of badass human being. I like some of my current life choices and experiences and ways of being that support and express my badassery. I can think of ways I’ve loved well and truly made choices for good. I love how I’m loving now. It just keeps getting better. I keep getting better. I’m amazing. I can think of things I’ve created or been part of or led that I truly value. I appreciate my values. I can think of things I’ve learned about or learned to do that I’m kind of in awe of. I like how I feel right now. I like who I am right now. [Last one’s from Louise Hay:] I love myself, I approve of myself.
Being here now: There’s nowhere else I need to be; there’s nothing else I should be doing. The Universe has got that right now and I don’t need to give it my attention. That’s their business, not mine—I release them to their life, I release myself to mine. Ah, in this exact moment, this is what I see (hear, taste, smell, feel). I don’t need to check on the future right now. I get to focus on the one task of the moment, not the outcome or other parts of the project. There’s nothing to asses or evaluate right now. If I’m stuck in something past, I’m the one holding on to it: the Universe and all of life has moved on. If someone else is stuck in a past we had together, I can leave them to it; it’s up to me to move on and cultivate my own presence here and now. I can feel the breath moving through me. Right now, I can connect to the felt, sensory experience of the breath. I feel that it feels good, it calms me, it brings me to the core of my being. The breath connects me to now and brings me to my body as it is now, as I inhabit it now. I’m willing to be here now.
Going general (from Abraham-Hicks): I don’t need to figure this out right now. I’ve (we’ve) gotten through similar or worse and I’m (we’re) wiser and more equipped for this. All will be revealed in right time. I’ll know what to do in the moment. This is all human stuff and life stuff—not personal to me. This is a normal human experience to go through and I’m willing to go through it. If I don’t know, I don’t need to know right now. It’ll all come out in the wash. I can pan out to eagle view and get out of stressful mouse-view. I can leave the details aside and keep my overall vision in view. I don’t need to understand where the money will come from—things get financed and my understanding of and relationship with money can keep changing. I have time—we all have time; there’s no shortage of time. I know how to prioritize. I just need to locate the next thing to do. I can aim roughly in the right direction and trust in my ability to course-correct. I can believe I’m guided even in the midst of uncertainty.
Soothing yourself could include bits from all the categories above, and if you can’t put a topic down, there’s nothing like going general (just above) to diffuse the stress of it. Mental self-soothing or self-talk that makes you feels better involves giving yourself a string of messages to remind yourself that nothing’s going wrong, that you’re equipped to meet what’s happening, that all is well, that you’re guided, that your needs are met and you’re safe, that everything and everyone are in the care of a greater intelligence than yours, that love prevails.
Love & blessings, Jaya
get real about love
Heart art from the incomparable (Ithaca local!) ALiCE MuHLBACK. (Alice made my logo!)
get free of 3 painful patterns in relating
Attachment, frustration, rejection: 3 simple and super-recognizable relational patterns. It’s so helpful to see how they’re operative—because, simply put, they take us away from love.
Note that we all have all three patterns, with one predominant. They work together: you have to be attached to something in order to be frustrated that it’s not in place and then reject what you don’t want. Note, too, that I correlate these 3 styles to Enneagram types at the very bottom of this post!
This may seem more heady than my last deeply heart-based Love Overhaul post, but I promise there’s some gorgeous wow-juice in here. I’ve laid it out with simple clarity (not saying you’re slow or thick, oh, NOT-Molasses One; I know your life is full). And this may look long, but it has lots of skimmable bullet points.
I’ve illustrated each pattern below with simple “I” sentences. Scan for the phrases that resonate (uh, and maybe feel cringey). I invite you to watch first for your own relational patterns, then later consider how you’ve been on the receiving end of those of others.
As you read, remember there’s nothing to judge: this is just what we human beings do. We’re just trying to get our needs met because we don’t trust that’s always happening anyway. We don’t trust that life will show us how. We don’t trust that we’ll be okay if we don’t grab the reins from others (or use more subtle tactics to manage them). So read with compassion and kindness to yourself.
What could I be attached to that would keep me from purer forms of love?
How do I cultivate or demonstrate frustration, thus staving off the purer forms of love?
How many ways could I feel or wield rejection to keep myself from purer forms of love?
PAUSE. Allow an integrating breath to go fully in and fully out. You can stop here and just notice and take in the ongoing story of attachment, frustration, and rejection in human (your) relating. Or read on (or come back later) to get more clarity on moving beyond them.
Countering these relational patterns
I’ll give you a bunch of helpful bullet points, then I’ll give you the big, most important thing, the one thing to focus on if nothing else. (Spoiler alert: It’s about presence. Boils down to NOW.)
About NOW as the key, once again
Speaking of this moment, NOW can be understood as the great solution, the foil to the relational patterns, if you’re clear on the difference between relationship and relatedness. I learned this from Jessica Dibb and Russ Hudson, two brilliant teachers of the Enneagram.
Relationship is about structures, agreements, and expectations.
Relatedness is about active, dynamic, live, in-the-moment relating with another. You’re relating with who they are right now as who you are right now.
Once again, now is your best friend. Now contains all you need in every realm of life, and certainly to express, experience, and act upon love. (It occurs to me all human relationships are love-based—even in our professional lives, even in quick exchanges with a cashier: we’re always emitting, receiving, exchanging love.) Actual relatedness requires being present right now to what’s actually happening, what’s being said, what’s being felt.
I like to think of my progeny in terms of the current version of them. There have been so many versions over the years, so I get to keep falling in love with who they are now. We can apply this to anyone, and bring it to now: the beloved before you isn’t simply a current version as in this year’s version or this era’s; this is the current version right now, in this very moment. There has been and will be no other moment like it.
We support one another’s becoming and our endless potential to transcend false identity by simply allowing one another to be as we are right now and drop in for that. Drop in with curiosity, awe, amazement, the sense of what a privilege it is to witness and partake of this moment, to participate in it fully, to discover someone you love all over again, to discover yourself again in the process. Does it get any better than that?
I invite you to the freest love you have access to at any given moment. Breathing consciously into presence, you can witness and shift out of attachment, frustration, and rejection.
If you’d like a simple, beautiful love credo (which got more responses than anything I’ve written perhaps ever), see my post Love Overhaul.
If you're Enneagram-aware, note that the attachment types are 9, 3, and 6; the frustration types are 1, 4, and 7; the rejection types are 8, 2, and 5. (Still, we all have all three, whatever our core type!) Note that each of the 3 relating triads discussed here has a representative type from each center! (Example: For attachment, 9 is the body type, 3 is the heart type, 6 is the head type.)
Baffled by the order I named the types for each of the 3 styles in the first sentence of the prior paragraph? I named them in the order of the 3 centers—body types first (891), then heart (234), then head (567). That's the flow of the Enneagram.
Love and blessings, Jaya
Consider that you may have it backwards: solutions don't make you feel better; solutions come once you've made yourself feel better.
If you're a match to the problem, here's what it looks like: You're walking around feeling what it makes you feel—frustrated, scared, sad. You talk about what's happening as a problem to be solved (or as hard or impossible to solve), as urgent, as being terrible (or infuriating, or hopelessly unfair, or whatever the emotive flavor du jour). You think about it a lot (as a problem). You worry, strategize, agonize, obsess.
This keeps you in the problem.
If you're a match to the solution, you trust there's already a solution on the way—called in the moment you observed or named the problem. You know it's already okay and will resolve—all will come clear without your needing to know how right now. You're able to let go of the parts you can't control. You're watching for where you can step in gracefully; you're open to inspiration, which you can grasp and respond to quickly (catch the wave) because you're not weighed down with worry or even hopelessness. In short, you can hold the thing with curiosity and expectation, trusting that this problem is ultimately no problem, and simply move toward or open to the solutions as you see each next step or possibility.
This brings in solutions.
How do you get out of hard emotions that perpetuate the problem—or keep you as a match to the problem?
The short version is, Quit putting a story to the feelings, and just be with the feelings. Or, since the story will assert itself, notice what you're saying to yourself or others about it, and quit saying it.
Of course, you'll have thoughts. Thoughts happen. The trick is not to get involved with them. I have a client currently going through a break-up and she worked beautifully on simply witnessing thoughts moving through. They're so typical, those break-up thoughts, aren't they? I'm not lovable, No one will ever love me, There's something wrong with me, I'm no good at relationships. Later, in session, she and I were able to question and deconstruct those thoughts. On her own, she just put them aside and took care of her emotions. She let herself feel and cry without telling herself lies (or without focusing on and running with any lies that temporarily whispered to her).
Think of writing thoughts down as a great and crazy-simple tool for getting them put down and put away without your losing track of what they can reveal. (Ah, a break-up still shows me what's left of my illusion of unworthiness.) If you want to look at them later and pull them apart, call them for the lies they hold, or see what else is true besides what you were believing at your worst, do that.
A how-to note: Try making lists of short, simple sentences, one thought per line, instead of journaling—which can have the same negative effect as telling it all to a friend. You expand the problem and all the feelings around it as you tell detail after detail, and embroider without even noticing, and throw in a bunch of interpretations as if they were facts. (She undid everything I'd worked on since the project began. They threw me under the bus.)
Focus on soothing what feels bad—not understanding it, fixing it, or making it go away; not coming up with solutions so you can feel better.
Consider that you may have it backwards: solutions don't make you feel better; solutions come once you've made yourself feel better.
Thus, simply being with the feelings kindly becomes your first priority, and you can feel good (not irresponsible) about not thinking it through. Look away from the story, and make it your one and only job to soothe the feelings. Be your own mama to your own inner sick kid, and do anything to make things feel better. (If you're male, ungendered, gender-fluid—whatever—still be your own mama.) Maybe it won't look like reading aloud, bringing juice popsicles, making soup, stroking a forehead, or singing songs (though it could). It might initially look like simply witnessing the pain, allowing it, dropping into it, giving it breath (the only balm you can apply from within).
If you don't have my book, Scooch!, you can get it from Amazon as a real book or an e-book (you can also peek in and read a bunch with Look Inside feature). Chapter 3 walks you through separating out minding the pain body and tending the mind. Chapter 5, “Good Tears versus Bad Tears,” describes how to release emotion without getting sucked into story.
Quit figuring out the solution. Get out of ploblem solving.
When effort and striving characterize a search for solutions, you're still a match to the problem. Instead, scooch toward trust that you're fine and the solutions will come. Then you're in what Abraham-Hicks calls a space of allowing, and solutions can come in (more) effortlessly, perhaps in unexpected ways.
A how-to note: Speaking of Abraham, you can use their tactic (and easy-to-remember two-word admonition) GO GENERAL. Pan out and away from the details you've got under the microscope, and tell yourself general things you can believe: I don't have to figure this out right now. I've been in worse places and it worked out. I can think of one person right now who's had a similar experience and got through it. They may be able to provide support and resources. I'm doing fine. I can think of three things I've done right recently in this realm and whatever I've done wrong is probably fixable and certainly forgivable. Keep talking for as long as you need to to reset your mind toward the general, believable, and kind without needing to work out any particular kinks in the tubing.
By the way, I'm not categorically against problem-solving. Brainstorming and pushing around puzzle pieces have their place. Do them after the soothing, when you're in a space of allowing.
How fine and well (relaxed, trusting, joyful, present) can you be before the solutions come in?
Being a match to the solution does much more than bring in solutions. It allows you to be fine before solutions come: you're already okay; you don't need solutions to make you okay. It creates the openings for solutions to come. It allows you to see when radical solutions are needed or, conversely, when there's actually nothing to do whatsoever. It also releases you from urgency and the illusions around timing and time that we human beings so easily fall prey to.
The basic concept in this writing comes from Abraham-Hicks, and their language goes like this: “Be a vibrational match for the solution, not the problem.” I know that as soon as the word vibration gets in somewhere, it can sound airy-fairy. That's why I saved it for last. And have you read up to this point? This is so solid. If you're not sure it'll work, I invite you to experiment with it (and make it a grand experiment—what have you got to lose, except a furrowed brow and tense muscles?).
For myself, once I got past the languaging, I found that Abraham's teachings often come to me in an instant on a deep level, and then I tease them out to understand the application through various means: things they say and things I experiment with on my own and the seemingly magical ways, right when I'm working with a particular idea, that my clients seem to have stuff come up that obviously asks for just that concept. Now that this is part of my conceptual tool kit, I notice that people can have a releasing ah-ha when I simply point out that they're being a vibrational match for the problem.
So hey, what problem are you a vibrational match for right now? Wanna be a match for the solution?
Love & blessings, Jaya