This weekend I had a glorious Saturday. For the first time in a while, I attended a day long meditation retreat. And it felt so luscious, juicy, and luxurious. Why did it feel so special? One word...ease.
How do I want to feel these days? It's clear I want to feel more ease. It's a word that has been coming up time and time again through the coaching work I've done with my own coach, healing I've done with my healers, and lessons I've learned from my teachers. Several years ago I had a beautiful soul reading and even the soul reader said one word could sum up this lifetime for me...ease. I think I'm finally starting to listen.
Even though I've had a desire for more ease for a long time, the truth is I've been skirting it. I've been doing it in fits and stops. I've been playing with it. But I haven't really made a serious commitment to follow through with ease.
I've been thinking about it a lot for a couple reasons. First, I got super sick last week and it caused me to have a long unexpected pause in my life. A long pause from the to do lists. The goals I had for the week. The endless things one could do as an entrepreneur. You know what's the danger of becoming an entrepreneur as an over achiever? You can suddenly endlessly overachieve because you are your own boss! You know what's the beauty of becoming an entrepreneur as an over achiever? You hit the ball out of the park in your work because you always deliver excellence. But as my own boss lady, I've been thinking a lot about how hard sometimes I push myself and that it's time to do business differently. I've been asking myself what would running my own business with more ease look like?
Second, one of the most common questions I am asked whether I am teaching or coaching is how do I make more time for "x?" Fill in the blank with anything that matters to you. Self care. Exercise. Your kids. Relaxation. The pottery class you haven't signed up for. More often than not, people are feeling desperate for more time for relaxation and space. Space to breath in a world where achieve, achieve, achieve, is the norm and do, do, do is the mantra. "Just do it" Nike says.
So what do you do when you feel like you are struggling with the "how to make time" question?
When your to do list is running off the charts? When the backlog of what should have happened is longer than the years you've been on Planet Earth? One word...ease. One to do list..."the stop doing list."
It's a favorite question when I'm coaching people. What would you stop doing in service of "x?" And it's always the hardest question to answer. For my clients. For me. For any of us. But here's the thing, anyone who lives the life they want to live will tell you one thing, it's as much about what you choose not to do as it is about what you choose to do. And while many of us may be good at the "what to do list," we often suck at the "what not to do list." Giving up something, deciding what to say "no" to, what to absolutely drop, is hard. It's so counterintuitive for most of us. And it's a muscle that takes constant practice.
Here's the hard truth, that thing that you don't know how to make time for...is because you are doing, doing, doing everything else. And because you aren't making it a priority, it ain't gonna happen. Something's gotta give.
Something's gotta go. Somethings gotta be on the "stop doing list." And until you are ready to stop doing, you definitely won't be doing what you want. Do you need a room to go and scream now? Trust me. I get it. I feel you. For years, I mean YEARS, I fought the idea of giving up things. I'm still practicing to embrace it. Even this week I was fighting my coach on some "stop doing." But I knew I needed it. I knew I craved it. But even when I fight myself at moments, the difference is I finally know just how important it is for me to be clear about the "stop doing" list. And I always end up letting go.
Trust me, if anyone was going to figure out how to not give up something...it was me. I was just going to figure it out. I thought maybe if I calculate those hours and minutes a little more efficiently. Manage the doing more effectively. I was going to conquer and add once and for all. Nope. Eventually, something had to give. And usually its been my health. Over and over and over again. Or some sense of mental sanity so I feel completely overwhelmed and unable to focus on anything. And this woman is tired of burn out cycles. I've mastered those. This year is the year of mastering ease for me.
Timing is perfect for the "stop doing list." The Spring Equinox is next week and each time there is a solstice I create a list of what I'm letting go of and what I'm inviting in. Know what's on this year's list? Letting go: Over achieving. Letting in: Ease (said with a big sigh).
This week, I want to invite us for Joy Tip Wednesday to take on one simple practice, one awesome impact: intend ease and stop doing.
But you have to be brave enough to un-grip the fingers around your to do list and release into some letting go. Here's how:
- Set an intention of ease. Place your hand on your heart and say it out loud with me "may I live in ease." Write it down. Announce it on social media. Say a silent prayer. However, whenever, set your sights on some more ease.
- Get clear on your to do list for the day. Be honest about everything that is swimming in your head that you have your sights set on. If you're anything like me you may have five things on your to do list and thirty actually in your head. It's important you get real with yourself here.
- Drop 1-3 things from your to do list. Will the world end and children starve if those 1-3 action items on your to do list don't get done? I'm guessing not. So let...them...go. And breathe.
- Do NOT add anything to your to do list. I repeat. DO NOT ADD ANYTHING. I see you. You think I didn't. I know how this goes. Scratch off that and this and then oh I have time for this now! Yeah no. No adding. Whatsoever. Them's the rules. Hey! I'm still watching...
- Enjoy your ease and the space you created. Seriously. Allow yourself to feel ease during the time and space you created. Don't try to be productive. Achieve anything. Just be. And love every second of it.
- Feels pretty freaking awesome right? So then repeat it already!
What are we doing when we choose to stop doing things and start allowing some more ease? One big word that I explored last week...love!
What's perhaps the most loving thing we could do for ourselves in a world of endless to do's and overachieving? Giving ourselves permission to give something up. To let go of things. To stop doing. And start being!
You know when my biggest ah ha's happen? In the shower. When I'm cooking. When I'm dreamily staring out the window. When I've finally given myself some ease. When the pressure to do something, solve something, achieve something is gone. All the big oh my freaking gosh moments happen when I'm not trying to achieve or figure out anything. Ha! How ironic! The Universe has an awesome sense of humor and I love that! And you know what I want more of? Clarity. Insight. Connection. All of it comes when I give myself a little more love, a lot more ease, and I stop adding things to my plate.
Now take this big ole permission slip to stop doing some things and get on loving yourself with some ease. I promise even though it's scary it will feel absolutely ahhhhmazing. You might just learn that those hair on fire things you think you needed to do today don't actually need to be done today. Or maybe this week. Or gulp...sometimes the realization is never. They need to be done when...never. Consciously giving up "to dos" has been one of the most powerful practices in my life and I'm psyched for you to play with it. So get ready to breathe a sigh of relief for the first time in a long time.