The Easy Experiment
What happens when we stop struggling, stop pushing, and stop making things hard for ourselves? What happens when, instead, we just let things be easy?
This is my current experiment.
Paradoxically, easy is difficult, at least for me. But I’m practicing, and I’m making progress.
Take, for example, this blog post. I sat down to write about thresholds, something that’s been on my mind lately and which I really felt compelled to write about. However, even with all that, no matter what I tried, it just didn’t want to come out in writing yet.
So I asked myself what would be easy and realized that writing about making things easy would be easy. I know—meta, right? And as proof, this one’s flowing waaaay more easily than my original topic.
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I do want to clarify that deciding to take the easy road doesn’t mean just sitting back and expecting everything to magically work out. It’s more about not forcing the things that don’t want to happen and not resisting the things that do.
For me, it means I’m going to do my best to let go of wanting to get through my to-do list just to cross stuff off, surrendering to what feels most right, and figuring out the easiest way possible to do things (while making sure the quality is still top notch, of course). The easiest route may still take lots of time and energy—and there will still be challenges along the way, I’m sure—but if it’s something that’s right, it’ll flow better—and feel better, too. It won’t be so much of a struggle. It won’t be so hard. THAT is the goal.
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Part of the trick is deciphering what’s hard and what’s resistance, and that all comes down to where the message is coming from. Here are a couple of examples to help explain:
Say you’re feeling a strong internal pull to write a novel, but every time you go to sit at your computer, you end up checking Facebook, texting a friend, getting up to cook a spontaneous gourmet 12-course meal—anything but writing. That’s resistance, because there’s something deep inside you that has something to say, but there are likely thoughts—either consciously or subconsciously—floating around in your head like “I can’t do this,” or “No one will want to read what I write,” etc.
This is where you address what’s behind all your stalling tactics. Once you deal with that, chances are the writing will get easier, and, even if there are occasional bouts of writer’s block, you’ll still have this feeling you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing, and that’s where the real joy comes from.
On the other hand, say you’re in college and you declared a pre-med major because that’s what your family (all of whom are doctors) expects of you. The thing is, the way you want to help people is by becoming a detective who helps get the bad guys off the street. Meanwhile, you’re struggling to keep your head above water in your classes, there’s no motivational end goal to help you power through the challenge, and you’re absolutely miserable.
This is where “hard” comes in—you’re not listening to what’s right for you, and when there’s that disconnect between what you’re doing and what you want to be doing, there’s always, always, ALWAYS going to be struggle, unhappiness, and stress. Sometimes you may be fully aware of it; sometimes you may have suppressed it to the point that it’s completely subconscious. But, either way, I promise you it’s there, and it’s taking its toll.
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As I said, making things easy (or, when full-out easy isn’t possible, at least easier) is an experiment for me right now. A big part of it is getting out of my head, which I often catch going to the "but I need to..." or "but I should..." thoughts, even though I know better. So in addition to checking in with my body to see what feels good to me and delving into any resistance that shows up, now I'm adding asking myself, “What would make this easy?”(Shout out to my wise coach friend, Kat, for the suggestion!)
I’m not sure where this will go or how this will work, but I’m so curious to find out, and I’m sure I’ll be writing a follow-up post to this one at some point. Meanwhile, if you decide to do your own version of The Easy Experiment, I’d love to hear how it goes! Feel free to post in the comments here, on the Baron Life Coaching Facebook page, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Due to moving, I’ve been quieter on my blog and social media the last month or so. All the packing, the actual move, getting settled, and then recovering took up the vast majority of my time and energy. But that didn’t stop ideas from popping up.
There were so many times I had to stop what I was doing to write down an idea for a blog post, and knowing I wasn’t going to be sitting down to flesh it out any time soon was a little torturous. Writers write, coaches coach, and I wasn’t doing either of those things that feed my soul (although, thankfully, I do actually enjoy the moving process, so at least I wasn’t in total hell).
When I’m inspired, writing these posts makes me lose track of time. It energizes me, and I feel like I’ve truly accomplished something once I’ve hit the submit button. I love sharing what I have to say and knowing there’s a possibility I could impact others in a positive way. It makes my essential self ridiculously happy.
So I’d blocked today off on my calendar to write, and I can’t tell you how much I’d been looking forward to finally digging back into things.
It’s not going how I’d hoped.
I’m rusty. The flow isn’t there, and as I write this I realize that the slew of ideas that had been inundating me has slowed to a very sporadic and barely perceptible drip in the last week or so.
So I’m just trying to take it one step at a time, because I know eventually I’ll hit my stride again. And I know I need to keep writing because I can just feel it in my bones, even if my brain isn’t totally cooperating at the moment. There are words inside me—stories wanting to be told, insights wanting to be had, helpful tools wanting to be shared—but at the moment, I couldn’t begin to tell you what they are.
All I can do is listen to my inner GPS, follow it to the best of my ability, and trust in this crazy process I can’t begin to understand but believe in with all of my being.
And even if it doesn’t seem like I’m making huge strides at the moment, at least I’m taking baby steps—slow and not always so steady, but still headed in the right direction.
Today—and always—that is enough.
Letís Look Beyond Looks
On Saturday morning, I checked Facebook and discovered there was a new princess in the world. Then I saw this post from an old favorite show:
Along with many of the other commenters, my first reaction was “Who the hell cares?”
Here, Her Royal Highness Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, had just labored for hours to push a baby out of her body (and after suffering from and being hospitalized with hyperemesis gravidarum—a debilitating, extreme, longer-term version of morning sickness). And yet no mention of her difficult pregnancy. No congratulations to her and her boys. No comments on what a miracle it is that, once again, a woman has GROWN A HUMAN BEING.
Just people wondering what she’ll look like when she emerges from the hospital.
So often in our culture, the focus on women is primarily—or even solely—on their appearances rather than their accomplishments. The heart of what really matters is barely covered, although, more and more, the brave female celebrities who deal with this judgment on a constant, very public basis are speaking up and pointing out the ridiculousness of it all. It’s sad that they have to, but I’m grateful they are.
And that doesn’t mean the rest of us have to sit idly by. I just couldn’t stew in my frustration over the Facebook post, so I decided I had to respond:
And when that didn’t feel like enough, I decided to write this blog post, too.
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As an Empowerment and Find-Your-Voice coach, my passion is helping people discover who they are, where they want to go, and feel confident as they speak up, make decisions, and take action.
I tend to focus on the things people say and do, but I fully admit that their appearance can play a significant part, too; you could see the effect at the end of just about every “What Not to Wear” makeover. What always struck me wasn’t how they looked (although that was fun to see), but how the women acted differently during the reveal—how they stood more boldly, how they admired their reflections in the mirror, how they talked about themselves with the love and respect they deserved. It’s like each woman had come home to herself, and THAT was what made every single one of them beautiful.
This constant obsessing over what women are wearing and the expectation that they should look perfect all the time isn’t going away any time soon. But if women can manage to drown out the judgment and pressure coming at them and instead dress for themselves, wearing whatever makes them feel confident, proud, and like they’re showing their true selves to the world, that’s what really matters.
And I have no idea—maybe Kate loves fashion, and it’s fun for her to figure out what she’ll wear both for her daily outings and for big events; if that’s the case, more power to her! I have nothing against fashion and people wanting to look and feel beautiful. It’s just that, as a culture, our fixation on the unrealistic, inescapable standards of beauty can seriously affect women’s physical and emotional health, relationships, and even their work and financial situations.
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There are a million ways to be beautiful, so let’s focus on the actions and achievements themselves and let go of the need to look perfect throughout the process. Let’s see true beauty as someone who does good in the world, even if it’s something seemingly small, like saying a kind word to a stranger in the grocery store. Someone who speaks up for what’s right even when speaking up isn’t the easiest thing to do. Someone who loves with an open mind and an open heart.
And let’s remember that there’s no one way we all have to look, speak, or live our lives, regardless of what our culture implies. Each of us is on our own, personal journey in this world, and that means we’re the only ones who can possibly know which direction we should go in—or what we should wear as we’re making our way down that winding road.