(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.
Recipes for Sanity & Self-Honoring during the Holidays
It's not just your crazy mother or clueless cousin doing what predictably makes you quietly go insane. It's you. It's that you predictably go quietly insane.
This collection of simple and radical recipes should get you to more nuances of grounded, present, open, easy, humor-aware. (For a humorous angle on what normally feels like no joke, see the Recipe for Not Being Driven Insane by the Ones Who Drive You Insane. There's a radical experiment possible with the Recipe for Letting Go of Control—take it to heart.) All of this should support you to give thanks at Thanksgiving (and beyond) from a genuinely appreciative stance.
Use the headings to navigate all the material below. Go to what serves you and what you want to serve. Recipes are preceded by some notes on presence. (I'm on a personal and professional mission to keep going deeper and getting more subtle with what it means to be present.)
These are the recipes covered below (scroll down to "RECIPES BEGIN HERE" and sub-headings below that of specific ones that call to you):
Notes on Presence
Going back to known people and places with predictable challenges and triggers doesn't require replaying the same call-and-response scenarios.
How is it even possible to do it differently? In a word, presence.
Presence is the how. It's the thing that allows you to have half a prayer of choosing (hey, even super-solid agency in choosing) how you want to respond, as opposed to reacting from your well-rehearsed personality strategy. It even helps you find your footing again when you catch yourself in reactive mode, either internally or externally. (Sharp tone? Rolling/glaring eyes hijacked by your inner teen?)
I actually believe it's not that hard to cultivate presence and step in differently. And in fact, your quotient of ease will keep increasing as you do, then it gets easier and easier.
When you're in the past reviewing or measuring the present against all you've ever dealt with; or when you're in the future (even, how will I get to the end of this day)—you've left the present. You've therefore abandoned yourself (because your actual self is here, now) and you're not engaged with your smarts, wit, potential clarity, power of choice, compassion for self and others (I could go on). You're also unable to take responsibility for self-care, never mind total self-honoring that nurtures and invites your best self.
Presence doesn't require exertion. It's more about relaxing and allowing than straining. It does require a willingness to keep practicing, keep coming back, keep tuning in. It also requires allowing what is: thus, when you're present, you'll be present not only to the love and nice smells and unicorns and rainbows, but to the twisting in your gut, the painful ideologies of other human beings, your own tense body and judgmental mind, and so on. Presence means tuning in to and allowing whatever is—not setting it up so that you control what is (probably what you're up to when you can't relax).
Uh, what's the point of getting present (in the midst of what could be love-fun-warm-fuzzies) to what hurts, feels bad, creates sorrow, anger, and tense resentment?
I've got 3 great answers to that.
Great answer #1: You're in reality and aligned with what's actually happening when you get present to all of it. This means you're more sane, and more equipped to think clearly. (Delusion is so messy.)
Great answer #2: Since presence means tuning in to ALL that is, you get to choose your focus. That's actually a lot of power—just be willing to be sloppy and graceless for a minute; elegance will gradually increase. Your choice in focus will allow you to respond more often than you react, which includes responding kindly to your own reactivity when it grabs the reins. Presence means you're here in time and space, alert to what's actually happening, accepting it and responding to it authentically (including moving toward what you want more of and away from what you want less of).
Great answer #3: Presence also allows you to make choices, draw boundaries, and note when you need a break, a reset button, or any form of self-care. Presence allows for swift course-correction.
Swift course-correction is one of my favorite things to play with. Never beat yourself up for noticing you're not present. Then there's no pain in finding yourself off-track (you WILL sometimes find yourself off-track): with no judgment, you get to simply and quickly course-correct as awareness comes in. A neutral metaphor from Abraham-Hicks is the rumble strip on the freeway: as soon as you feel the tires go bumpety-bump-bump-bump, just veer back into your lane. No need to self-chastize or agonize over being on the rumble strip again. (One of my favorite simple phrases to go to: There's no problem.)
RECIPES BEGIN HERE
Recipe for Letting Go of Control (the disaster-zone metaphor that puts it all in perspective)
Recipe for Presence
Use these three steps to COME BACK to presence. (They can be gone through over and over and over. If you think it's not working, this could simply mean that you're not willing to go through them one more time, now.)
Recipe for Being at Ease
Know, going in, some basic things about ease. (Think of ease as closely related to personal power. Picture a large cat: ease; power.) Periodically remind yourself of these. Note that the recipe for presence pairs well with the one for ease.
Recipe for Connecting to Others You May Not Typically or Easily Connect With
This one likely boils down to, Be quiet if you have little or nothing to say and be real when you speak.
Recipe for Not Being Driven Insane by the Ones Who Drive You Insane
This makes a game of the whole thing. What if you were having fun with your aversions and judgments instead of by turns indulging them and feeling bad about them?
Recipe for Connecting to Source, Self, and Others
P.S. A recipe for the gratitude-intolerant also exists on this blog.
Want to get on with it? Find your point of least resistance.
Hey, have you figured out yet that it’s just resistance when you keep putting off what you say you want to do or what you think you should be doing? It really helps to know it as resistance. It helps to call it resistance. Otherwise, you have to call it lazy or lame. You might get into self-scolding or even self-loathing. And I bet you know that’ll never get you where you want to go. In fact, judging your resistance is more likely to increase it.
So what if, instead, you noticed the resistance and just got okay with it—human thing that it is, for human being that you are. What if you declared that you’re in no rush, you’ll get there in your own good time, and you’re simply going to head that way through your point of least resistance?
Ah, then you get to actively enjoy the binge-watching (and notice when it’s not fun anymore, because enjoying it means it’s not fraught with shame or misery that keeps you stuck there). Or you get to appreciate prioritizing the easy task, and move swiftly and surely through the ease of the simpler, more obvious, more joyous thing that must also be done. As you feel good about working with ease, you get to increase feeling good in general. And from that place of feeling good, and having had some guiltless fun or checked off a to-do or two that cost you little, you might take a (satisfied, can-do) breath and go for the harder thing.
I’m giving you three examples to illustrate the point of least resistance, so check out the one or ones you’re most drawn to. Example #1 targets the Enneagram’s self-preservation instinct (self-prez to Enneagram geeks): getting yourself to the gym. Example #2 correlates with the sexual instinct: working up to leaving the relationship, or agonizing over the belief it’s really time to go (but you don’t or can’t). Example #3 addresses the social instinct: wanting to rev up your connections or grow your circles. After reading your preferred example(s), drop down to the subhead “More implications of the point of least resistance.”
# 1: What if, instead of judging yourself for not getting to the gym, you welcomed yourself to the human race and considered how very many people struggle with how to work in working out? What if you stopped calling it lazy and instead took a look at the actual issue for you? This could lead you right to your point of least resistance. You might be inspired to get an accountability buddy, try a new modality that looks more fun or doable right now, or find a YouTube guide or a class. You might start simply walking or biking more to get from point A to point B. You might determine that a few good stretches could change how you feel in your body and start taking two-minute stretch breaks when that scrunched-up-at-the-desk sensation creeps in.
So much is possible! But not when you get trapped in resistance, and not when you see a point of least resistance but don’t grab it because you treat it like an evil (or at least believe that you’re wimping out, not doing it right, not doing enough).
# 2. What if, instead of forcing yourself to walk out of the relationship you suspect you’ve outgrown, or even forcing a stay-or-go decision, you located your point of least resistance? What if you gave yourself full permission to hang out there for a while and see what comes next? Your point of least resistance here could be about spending more time alone or with friends. It could involve making a pact (with your partner or yourself) to have fewer arguments (walk away at the first whiff!) and spend more time in appreciation or admiration, while putting aside stuff-to-work-out or what-to-do-next for a time. Or it could be working on passion and connection in every other realm of life while allowing, in the relationship realm, the relief of simplicity and neutrality (but not misery and criticism, at least on your end)—then you could see where that takes you.
# 3. What if, instead of telling yourself you’re hopeless at the social thing (as you wish for more of it), you told yourself that growing your connections is a good intention to hold and play with? There’s already less resistance in that. Then you might consider what feels manageable and aims you roughly in the right direction without some great overhaul of either character or habits. It could be going out to eat alone, even with a book or device for starters, or going to the movies solo or with a friend or partner and appreciating that others are about, having a similar experience. Or you might join a class so that you have a repeating experience of gathering with a fixed population on a shared point of interest in shared space. Your point of least resistance might even be an online group! It might involve self-permission to join something in silence, allowing yourself to begin by focusing on your inner experience. It might be to find a buddy to do something you’ve never done or want to do more of (salsa or karate? wine tastings or vegan cooking? choral singing or meditation?)—something that happens to be done with or among other human beings.
More implications of the point of least resistance
You won’t grow your social, sexual, or self-prez self from a place of feeling like you’re perpetually off your game (or like it’s a game you’re not remotely equipped to play). But you can grow any one of those by stepping from one point of least resistance to the next, and just see what gives as you allow yourself to step onward, curious about what’s possible, open to what reveals itself.
I cannot say enough about my love of the point of least resistance (and how much it’s helped my clients and program participants). It’s all about stepping in where it makes the most sense because it feels best and easiest and most aligned with where you are right now. This concept is super compatible with the idea of scooching (you may already know how much I love to Scooch!). The point of least resistance came to me through Abraham-Hicks, who teaches that it’s also your point of greatest alignment, most fun, and greatest joy. I keep playing with it and loving the experience and results. It’s so much kinder than all the forcing and straining or the judging and shutting down. I invite you to it (and you can learn about it in my beautiful and now beautifully cleaned-up and polished Expansion audio program).
Love and Blessings, Jaya
Note that my post Force Nothing adds to the ideas presented here on least resistance.