I love it when things are easy. Want to travel halfway across the world? No problem, book a ticket. Hungry? There’s food in the fridge. Bored? Turn on HBO or listen to Spotify.
Everything within walking distance or at the tip of our fingers! Yay.
And yet, I don’t know how many times I have heard people say,”I wish things were easier” or “It’s not that simple”. I’ve even made those statements myself. What do we mean when we say we want things to be easier or look back nostalgically to “simpler” times in the past?
Could life be made more ease-filled and simplified than it already is? Yes, technology is always advancing. We have computers, cell phones, incredible transportation, convenience stores. Somehow, even as these helpful technologies meet more and more of our needs we still feel overwhelmed by life’s many demands and wish for things to be easier.
On the other hand there is the school of thought that says working hard, struggle and not having it easy makes us better people. That it is through hardship and/or hard work that we can appreciate what we have and be grateful for life’s blessings.
Here’s what I think: more of anything will make things better but after a certain point it stops adding value. Take money, for example, studies show that one year after winning the lottery, winners’ happiness levels return to where they were before they won. In the case of work, satisfying work can be energizing, connecting us to the strength of our bodies but prolonged hours of hard work can make us resentful and tired; depleting any joy and gratitude we may have. Fame may bring great recognition and appreciation of our being but after a point it can feel stifling to be under constant public scrutiny.
Take air. We have an abundance of it. We take it for granted. We don’t think too much about air quality until it is becomes too polluted to breathe. Why do things have to get bad before we appreciate what we have?
Is there a way we could appreciate ease and convenience without becoming nonchalant and neglectful? Will we only grow by going through the school of hard knocks? Are we that infantile and stubborn in our ways?
There is a way out. Always I have found being present, whether experiencing hardship or ease, to be a very productive and illuminating course to take. When we are awake and present in the experience, our interpretation and perception of what we conclude to be a hardship can change. We look to the lessons/purpose of our experiences and from there expand our wingspan to fly the heights and depths.
It isn’t always easy (ha!) but we can apply simple techniques to our daily lives to awaken our senses and experience life through a different set of lenses:
- Just ask yourself: am I awake in this experience? Whether you are working or watching TV ask yourself: am I present in this experience or am I just vegging out or complaining about the situation.
- What feelings are arising and do they serve me? During your work or leisure time, observe the quality of your thoughts: are you happy, sad, bitter, glad?
- What is my preferred state that I would like to be in? In any given situation we can choose what we would like the experience to be: we can switch from being grumpy to being OK with the way things are. We decide.
Life is both challenging and breezy. The universe does not promise a life of ease or hardship to guarantee a sense of fulfillment or wholeness. We are our own happiness makers, we decide how peaceful we feel about our lives that we are in. What can you choose today that will change your experience for the good?
Want guidance in learning how to be in your experience? Book a session with me! And don’t forget to share your thoughts with us. I love receiving your comments.
I have discovered that I must be in love with myself.
Haha! It’s true. But it doesn’t mean I am fawning all over myself, or that I always like myself.
I think, I am in love with myself because I am curious about me. I am really exploring accepting me as I am and giving myself the permission to be however I want to be. This simply translates as allowing kindness to flourish in my heart, to stand tall in seeing the beauty in others and celebrating the gorgeousness of life. And, and this is a big one, I allow myself to be in downer moments or non-productive days. Just allowing each state to flow without judgement.
Here’s the interesting thing that I am learning: the more I trust + accept myself, the more attractive I find my being. I sense more joy sprouting and fuelling my senses. I like being around me.
However, that is not the purpose of this exercise. This is not about ignoring the trials of others. Rather, the point is to develop a truly loving, compassionate, and engaging relationship to myself.
I want to encourage all of us to examine the relationship we have with ourselves. Do we like/love ourselves? Do we love ourselves and others with a true heart without judgement?
Most of us would agree that we could stretch our capacity for self-love and love of others. We would also recognize that a great deal of time is spent in busy-ness and maintaining surface connections with a moderate to small investment made in profound, meaningful communications and communion.
But we can change that equation right now by valuing the innate goodness that dwells within the minds, bodies and souls of each of us. How would that feel? To speak to yourself softly and tenderly? To appreciate your efforts regardless of the results? To me it sounds just lovely. I would want to be friends with me.
And, if we were to dive in a little deeper, we would be astounded by the staggering brilliance within each of us. It’s the kind of brilliance that creates free societies, ends hunger or stops war.
I see that potential everywhere; to fall in love with ourselves enough, to generate such heat that the next generation of human-KIND awakens within us.
Let’s love together.
According to Virginia Satir, a respected family therapist, “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth.”
That’s one hug every hour. Do you get enough hugs? If the answer is no, here’s one way to make it happen: upon meeting a friend or loved one, hug them 3 times. That way you can be ahead of the game before you know it.
As much as we need hugs and laughter in our lives, we also need depth, alone time for contemplation and reflection. We require depth every day. Time set aside to dive past doubts, chatter and to-do lists; to truly connect with the deeper, quieter self.
When we prioritize and pursue this inner relationship with ourselves we enter the possibility of having our greatest love affair. An affair that ignites and enlivens our most profound desires: to be known and seen; to be felt and self-expressed. And more than that, to connect to the wisdom that resides within each of us.
A wisdom that understands that we are not separate from the source, that we are full as opposed to empty, and that goodness is our true nature.
It is always within our reach. When we touch that part of ourselves it fills us completely and naturally extends our bounty of joy, love and support to others. It feels fabulous to let go of the small and embrace the whole.
I want to share one of my favourite ways to cultivate this relationship with myself – one version of creating me time: I like to sit in a sunny spot and look outside. I consciously relax my focus and my body by telling it that there is nothing to do but be in that moment. I look out and observe the desert outside my window. My breathing softens and I continue this process until I begin to feel a deep relaxation.
I immerse myself in this, urging myself to go deeper and opening my focus wider still. My breath moves down all the way down to my belly, my eyes look without looking, and sounds swirl around me as I encourage myself to go deeper. At some point I may close my eyes as the desire to go within pulls me.
I can sit in this way for long periods or for short bursts. I sit without agenda or goals, just gentle nudges to be present. I do this exercise daily because it is like my soul dips momentarily into the pools of unlimitedness or is fed the best soul snack.
And then when I am done, I get on with my day able to see the beauty and endless possibilities that exist in and around me. If I don’t take this time for myself the quality of my life and relationships is vastly reduced. I begin to experience my day as somewhat off or I squeeze my mind too much and am impatient with others. I rush, chase and control the minutes.
Now it’s your turn: Do you create “me” time for yourself?
Do you like to hug or be hugged? How about laughing? Do you ever sit and feel yourself being pulled in deeper, like when you stare at a spot and can’t blink? Doesn’t that feel amazing? Dare to dive deep this week and see what’s within you!
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Photo credits: Anne Stavely
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