The Empress of Ease

Affirmation 11 Ease

You might recall that I declared 2014 the Year of Ease. You might also recall that I err on the side of Over-Achievement and that I have an unfortunate tendency to make things way more complicated than they need to be.

Well. As it turns out, Ease plus Achievement is a remarkably counterproductive concoction. Recipe fail! It’s like mixing caffeine with melatonin and praying for sleep. It’s like pairing white cats with black velvet and hoping that one of those things won’t rub off on the other thing. Wishful thinking, my friend! It ain’t gonna happen!

Try pairing spaghetti sauce for dinner with wearing a white shirt. Recipe for disaster, no?

Or try pairing spaghetti sauce for dinner with wearing a white shirt that day. Recipe for disaster, no?

January was a short-lived but powerful experiment in Ease Gone Wrong. On one hand, I was yearning for the warm waves of Ease to wash over my existence like a soothing, amniotic balm. Passively sinking into Ease. Letting Ease embrace me gently like an angel. On the other hand, I wanted to Excel at Ease and to be the bestest, ease-iest* woman on the face of the planet (and in the history of the Universe). Lifting up the Trophy of Ease! Competing for the Blue Ribbon in Ease! No pressure, though. Ease into Ease, right?

Accepting the Ease Award with a starfish jump!

Accepting the coveted Ease Award with a starfish jump!

Ha. I started off with good intentions. At the beginning of each new week, I would think to myself, “What can I incorporate into my days that would feel dreamy and ease-filled?” Each Monday morning, I would sit and ponder this question with the most earnest of hearts and, after a few minutes of relaxed contemplation, would write down a handful of things that would feel like silky and luxurious pockets in my otherwise frazzled schedule.

  • Drink my morning elixir before breakfast
  • 10 minutes of divine decluttering!
  • Get together with girlfriends over tea
  • Attend a group EFT session
  • Phone my mom and sisters

The first week of January felt Ease-filled, indeed. Granted, I was recovering from a terrible flu at the time, so I didn’t have the strength to be Empress of Ease just yet. “Luckily”, by Week 2, I had enough gusto in me again to ramp up the Ease and to start packing my schedule with a plethora of Ease-y Things To Do. In between inputting expense receipts and calculating sales tax remittances for our art business, I would barrel through items on my Ease List, feeling adrenaline and whatever hormone makes Over-Achievement feel so dang good chorus through my veins.

Yes! I just read a chapter in that Numerology book. CHECK!

Oh ho ho! I can put a big ‘X’ through that “walk outside for 10 minutes” item, NOT TO MENTION I WALKED OUTSIDE FOR 30 MINUTES. I AM AWESOME AND I WIN!!! [insert graceless and over-exuberant End Zone Dance here, made all the more awkward by the fact that I don’t even watch football]

Like this. Only awkwarder.

Like this. Only awkwarder.

Sadly, whenever I would “run out” of things to do from my Ease List, I would add more items.

By the end of January, I was so flush with Ease Accomplishments that… I was exhausted. (Slow. Learner. Strikes. Again.)

At least I was able to recognize my Defeating the Purpose-ness early this time (or at least earlier than usual). So, together with my coach and dear friend, Kathy, I set a new standard for February. This month, Ease will mean carving out tiny chunks of time each day (even if it’s 5 minutes to start) and literally doing nothing. Because as much as I enjoy reading, writing, knitting, tapping, tea-drinking, cooking, brainstorming, walking, hiking, cycling, hanging out with friends, staying connected with my family, and taking the odd photograph– SERIOUSLY, WOMAN: SIT. DAMN. STILL. DO EET. FOR REAL. LIKE, NOW.  (Nothing says “Ease” quite like BOLD-FACED CAPS, right? I thought so.**)

It’s taking awhile, but I’m learning. At least there are still close to 11 months left in this Year of Ease, right? Maybe by November or December, I’ll have “achieved” Ease… in the non-achievement sense of the term, of course. 😉 In the meantime, I’d love to know:

Are you a slow learner, too?

What life lessons do you need to ‘learn’ over and over again?

How do you incorporate Ease into your lives?

*Ease-iest: Not to be confused with Easiest. If you know me at all– and I assume you do if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time– you should be certain by now that I’m as far from loose as one can get. This here lady is wound tighter than a top!

** Tangential anecdote: I took piano lessons for about 3 or 4 years when I was in grade school. My shoulders were always tensed right up to my ears during my lessons, and my piano teacher would ream on them during warm-up. “RELAX. YOUR. SHOULDERS!” she would bark, while heaving her entire body weight onto my shoulders and yanking them down, presumably to detach them from my neck altogether. Surprisingly, I never became a concert pianist, nor did my shoulders ever learn to loosen up. What gives?

17 responses

  1. I’m looking forward to your post at the end of the month about how hard it is to sit still for those 5 min. chunks of time. 🙂 I am a slow learner too especially about things like putting myself first. Repeatedly if I find something I actually enjoy doing that’s good for me pretty much as soon as I figure out I’m liking it I quit. What’s THAT about?

    • Thanks for the vote of confidence re: managing to sit still for five minutes. 😉 Granted, it’s now the 9th of Feb, and I’ve “put off” doing it so far… presumably waiting for a time when everything is perfect and free from distractions. (Like that will ever come!)

      Tomorrow is Monday, so I will be penciling in a 5-minute window of ease for every day this week. Fingers crossed, right?

      (And in regards to your quitting on things that are enjoyable AND good for you to do, maybe you’re bumping up against your own, subconscious upper limits? The author Gay Hendricks has a theory that we all hold deep (but largely unconscious) beliefs that we can only be too happy, too wealthy, too healthy, too successful, etc. in our lives. There is no “objective” upper limit to what is possible– we set these limitations for ourselves in a super arbitrary manner. As soon as we brush up against our self-defined upper limits, though, he reasons that we find some way to sabotage ourselves and to return back to our state of comfort/homeostatis. Maybe we win the lottery but then squander it and end up in massive debt a year later. Or maybe we have a great job, amazing health, a beautiful home, but can only manage to date real losers. In your case, maybe you start quitting the “good” stuff when you realize how AWESOME it’s making you! It’s scary to be AMAZING, isn’t it?) Food for thought…

  2. It’s taken me years, no make that lifetimes, no don’t even believe it’s happened yet to settle into ease. Yet, lately, cross-fingers, my life has felt a tad bit ease-ier. Did I mention to you 600 times about the book “The Gift of our Compulsions” by Mary O’Malley? It was like a huge ah-ha that finally sunk beneath the layer of my resistance in certain areas. I still can’t believe she published it in 2003 and only now did I find this gem. Read it two months ago, let it simmer, but have noticed self relaxing and dialoguing and finally starting to reconcile the inner opposites.

    It addresses our resistances and why we don’t succeed in our trying, trying, trying to become *better* people. I am going on tour recommending this book, ha ha ha.

    • This is the first I’ve heard of the wonderful book, Kathy! I just logged on to the public library website, and not only do they have it in stock, but it’s on the shelves at my local branch RIGHT NOW! Must be a sign. I’ve put it on hold already.

      I am becoming more and more aware of the limitations of “trying”, although my default setting still seems to be on “strive”, darn it. 🙂 Acceptance vs resistance feels so much better inside my soul, but we’ll still have to train my behaviour to get on board…

    • Thanks for the compliments, Laurie! I figure that humor can make any situation feel better (if not more ease-filled…)

      I appreciate the link to your other post, too. I don’t know why I didn’t see it earlier– maybe the post notification got lost in my post-harbour inbox apocalypse! It happens… 😉

    • Haha, I’m giggling at the idea of wishing somebody “less ease” for the week to come, but man, I SURE NEED IT! Less is more, isn’t that what they say? 😉

    • Five minutes at least seems possible. If she had recommended 30 minutes or even 15, I don’t think I would have been able to wrap my mind around that. Way too daunting! But five minutes, come on. I *should* be able to do that, right?

      Nice to see you around these parts– hope you are doing well!

    • You just blew my mind a little bit, Peg. I’m going to have to sit with that thought for a while!

      Thanks so much for the new perspective. I can’t believe I’ve never thought about it this way before…

  3. Oh Dana. Only you could exhaust yourself trying to put more ease into your life! Ha! Well, I could likely give you some pointers on this since I’m a master of being at ease (when I’m not working my ass off).
    Let’s do another coffee soon. Next week?

    • Hahaha– I like the sound of that job title (Master Of Ease… When I’m Not Working My Ass Off). Sounds familiar!

      Coffee next week would be stellar. Text me and let’s make an ease-filled date. 🙂

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