How to Claim the Calm and Juicy Sufficiency of Ease
Maybe it’s not about sinking or swimming…
but rather just to float peacefully for awhile.
~ Anna Pereira
I’ve fallen into ease. Maybe it’s the time of the year, or maybe it’s because the skills I’m practicing are settling in.
This should be a good thing. And it is. And while it’s delightful it’s also feeling awkward and uncomfortable.
Such is the nature of ease. We crave it, but when we have it, we kind of resist it, or feel a little at odds, maybe even guilty.
That is, if we even recognize it’s shown up for us at all.
I want to talk to you about ease. We yearn for it, and yet we resist it. Ease can feel foreign, but it doesn’t need to be. And I’d like to offer you a way to claim ease and make it more of your day to day experience.
Ask yourself this:
If ease showed up today, would you notice its arrival?
Get curious with this question.
Because awareness alone has made it much more possible for me to embrace ease.
Why does awareness matter?
Because accomplished women consciously or unconsciously recognize they’re making progress when they’re busy, productive, working long hours or exhausted. This experience and these feelings are the messengers of accomplishment.
In other words exhaustion & tension = productivity.
So, when feelings of exhaustion, busy-ness, stress etc. are absent, consciously or unconsciously we “effort” and get back to busy to generate and “do” so we can feel productive enough.
Which means that when we do feel ease or the absence of working or efforting or struggling inadvertently we may find ways to bypass the experience.
It was this realization that helped me notice that my ways of working and my own quest for success didn’t leave room for ease.
Ease was telling me I wasn’t doing enough, or was lazy or was slacking or procrastinating…
Let me summarize it in the following way:
1) Our BODIES don’t know ease.
Sucking in our bellies all day long.
Anxious breathing in our chests.
Tight shoulders and necks.
Ask any woman if she’s holding tension in her body right this moment, and she’ll likely say “yes”.
Our bodies hold a lived experience of dis-ease. It’s our normal. Our baseline.
What is your own body experiencing right now?
2) Our BELIEFS are in the driver’s seat.
I see the following belief, and many versions of it, deeply embedded in the systems and structures of our lives. From very young we learn and are rewarded for living this belief:
“The key to success is hard work and determination.”
And because this belief is so rampant, we work ourselves to the bone, and grit our teeth to work our proverbial a** off to make all the things we want possible.
So it’s no wonder our bodies learn to be so damn tired and discard ease.
What beliefs drive your work and effort and keep you productive all the day long?
3) Our BEHAVIORS follow our beliefs.
On Mondays I write and create. I do love Mondays. Yet I’m also here in my office today because of work patterns I’ve created.
We have all sorts of patterns and habits that shape our lives, some conscious and known — like my writing. Others, less obvious.
In this way, our behaviors and habits are an extension of what we believe. Doing them reinforces the beliefs we hold and offer us the feedback that tells us we’re successful and on track.
So if/when we stop doing the things that we associate with the path to success we feel off center, and uncomfortable.
In this way habits are great — they pull us back in. And, habits aren’t always useful, because in this case, they aren’t helpful.
What habits keep you coming back to work day in day out?
The Practice of Claiming Ease
I do so yearn for ease, especially this season, she’s begging me to come out and be with her. She’s begging so hard, that I’ve reached a point of surrender.
“Fine,” I say, “I’ll be at ease.”
And eff it’s weird.
I’m feeling a wee bit guilty indulging her. And feeling into the false urgency my mind wants to create around all the tasks I should be up to.
Because I’m interrupting the current way built on the body, beliefs and behaviors most dominantly in play.
This past summer, I took a page out of my own book to prioritize ease. Here is what helped:
1) Time box it.
It was mid-August when I did this practice.
I looked over my schedule and commitments and then decided I was going to allow for ease until after the first “long weekend” in September.
In Canada, the first weekend in September is a long one, meaning there is a statutory or bank holiday (as my friends in the UK call it) on the Monday. Tuesday kiddos are back to school for the new school year. And from there all busy-ness resumes.
So I gave myself room for ease until then.
2) Decide what I will (still) do
While I choose a day or two of vacay, it wasn’t going on a “vacation”.
While not everything had to happen, some things did need to keep happening so I got clear on what those things were so I could do them consciously.
3) Decide what I will (not) do or temporarily pause
There are some key activities that I’ve decided to pause — this is also by design. I’ll continue to write my weekly letter AND I’m pausing publishing to social. If I want I can still “play” and connect with people there, but consciously I have zero requirement.
This is one example of where I’m consciously pausing.
4) Notice body, beliefs and behaviors
I was keenly aware that my body, beliefs and behaviors held a reinforcing cycle of sorts — and because I interrupted this pattern by surrendering to ease, there was still some internal chaos and “pull” back to the doing.
When I felt this, I welcomed it as evidence that I was creating ease. Yes, it was different than resisting it… and I embraced a mantra of “I am surrendering to ease right now. All is well.”
A Challenge for Us
Given our bodies hold so much of the stress and story of our lives, can I challenge you to offer your dear, sweet body an experience or two of ease this week?
Can you float on water and feel your lightness?
Or simply lie on the grass in the backyard arms outstretched taking in the big blue sky overhead?
Can you take some conscious breaths and sigh out the stress that has accumulated in your body?
Might you dance in the kitchen to your favorite soulful set of tunes?
Or take a nap without setting an alarm?
Let’s invite our bodies to lead us to the ease party.
Allowing ease into the body is so needed for a trillion reasons.
May you find ease right where you are.