Ease Doesn't = Easy
2020 has not been an easy year. In fact, it's pretty safe to say it's a year NOBODY will forget. We've all experienced an abundance of extra-ordinary challenges this year. How have you managed the challenges? How have you moved through 2020?
I talk a lot about living with ease in the work that I do. The misconception that many have is that living with ease means life is easy. Living with ease does not equal easy. If that's your expectation, you will be disappointed. You will feel as though you're failing at living with ease.
The common misconception is that living with ease means that you're floating through life on some kind of magic carpet ride where everything is roses and sunshine and easy-peasy. Certainly you will experience blissful moments while living in ease, but it isn't like that 24-7.
For me, living with ease has nothing to do with easy. It's not about easy. In fact, I'm OK with life not being easy. The truth is, life is full of challenges.
Often our instinct is to resist the challenges because challenges are just that, they're challenging. They force us to go into unknown territory. Challenges stretch (and sometimes yank) us out of our comfort zones. They push us past the point of feeling comfortable, of being able to predict the outcome.
Challenges take us out of our feelings of safety and security.
Usually we'll resist the things in life that are difficult. The challenges. Rather than step up to the mountain and be willing to do the hard work to climb it, we'll often go around. It's easier to go around it, it's more predictable.
But when you resist, you're in a fight. You're fighting against what is. Resisting, although it seems like an easy way, is actually so much harder. It requires way more energy to resist and it's exhausting . This is because when you're in resistance, you're activating the sympathetic nervous system - the fight/flight/freeze response. This system is activated when you're stressed or feeling fear; both of which are experienced when resisting. Click here for more on the sympathetic nervous system.
Living with ease means releasing the resistance. It means releasing any desire to control the situation and manipulate the outcome.
Living with ease means you're willing to move through life's challenges. Not bypass them and not try to control or manipulate them. You feel the pain and move through it. You move through the feelings of discomfort. No matter how messy it gets, you're willing to move through the mess. Living with ease means you're willing to climb the hill, you're willing to be in the waves of uncertainty. It isn't easy or comfortable. It's anything but predictable. And it's amazing.
You see, when you're willing to release resistance and be in ease with what is, especially the things that aren't in your plan, you'll grow. This is when you have the greatest opportunity for growth. It's in the challenges that you blossom. That you evolve. It's where you become a little bit more of who you're meant to be.
You came to this earth in the body you were given, with all of your unique circumstances, so that you could grow into the best of yourself during this lifetime. Every challenge helps you become more of who you are meant to be.
For years, decades in fact, I lived in resistance. I worked really hard at keeping myself feeling safe as much as possible. Avoiding challenges was something I was very good at because I thought that by doing so, my life would to be easy; I wanted easy.
However, what I learned is that keeping myself in that bubble came with a cost, and it was high. The price I paid was living a life that I wasn't happy in. It was a life filled with anxiety, sleepless nights, and lots of overwhelm. Not to mention, I was incredibly unhealthy.
Over the years, I've learned how to bring ease to my mind and body through self-care. Doing so has helped me to embrace life challenges. I know every time I'm willing to step up to the challenge being presented to me, I have an opportunity to become more of myself. I love these opportunities to grow and evolve. This is what life is all about; it's about evolution. We're meant to grow.
And so, I accept the challenges.
Here's 5 Ways to Help You Live with Ease:
Let go of the need to control by surrendering to that which is greater than you. Perhaps that's God, or the Universe, whatever you believe in, surrender to that. When you do, you live with trust. You will trust the process knowing that you're going to be OK and you will know what to do each step of the way. Surrender allows you to move with the uncertainties, experiencing the challenges as they come. It will also keep you living in the moment, rather than resisting what is happening and wishing it were different.
Activate the Parasympathetic Nervous System -
The parasympathetic nervous system, also known as the resting state or rest and digest state, is when the body feels most at ease. Being in this state helps the body conserve energy and experience less stress. When you're in this state, you respond to all that's going on around you, rather than unconsciously react. The more you activate the parasympathetic, the more ease you'll experience. Click here more on the parasympathetic nervous system.
Prioritize Sleep -
Everything in life is way more challenging when you aren't well rested. The mind and body require sleep to restore. Without adequate sleep, you aren't well-equipped to manage even the tiniest of life's daily challenges, let alone the big ones that will inevitably come your way. If you're struggling with sleep, make it a priority to address your sleep issues. Click here for ways to help improve your sleep. If you're still struggling, seek professional help. It's next to impossible to experience ease when you're exhausted.
Find Stillness Daily -
Give yourself time each and every day to be still and get away from the distractions of life. Even 10 minutes can make a huge difference! Get away from your computer, get off your phone, turn off the TV, and be still. Enjoy quiet. Use this time to meditate, enjoy a cup of tea, daydream out the window, or whatever feels good for you in that moment.
Write Out Your Feelings -
Writing out what you're feeling is one of the best outlets of expression. It's also one of the easiest ways to maintain mental and emotional clarity. Where there's clarity, there's ease. Writing regularly, or keeping a journal, is a practice that helps you increase self-awareness and self-trust; these also help increase living with ease. Click here for more on journaling.
Remember, it's through life's challenges that you will gain the most. Learn to embrace the unknown and move through it with ease. It won't be easy, but I promise it will be rewarding.
In what ways do you find ease? Leave a comment and let me know, I'd love to hear from you!
If you've enjoyed this blog, I'd greatly appreciate you sharing it so that others can benefit from reading it as well. Thank you.
Looking for more tips to help you live well? Check out Your Live Well Journey - The Podcast, every episode offers ways to help you improve your self-care.