Up until now, pain is seemingly a non-negotiable, but suffering is a different matter; it is a choice.
Instead of suffering and struggling, we could choose the path of ease and joy. Suffering comes from resisting what is happening. Ease and joy comes from flowing with it. Every time you experience suffering, it is a sign that you are off track and have stepped out of the flow. Suffering comes from pushing our bodies to perform beyond the balance point that preserves your wellbeing. Continuing to work in this “danger zone” further stresses, depletes and exhausts you.
With so many choices and responsibilities in life, you may find yourself pushed to your limit, unable to relax when you do have a moment and disconnected from the people and activities you most enjoy. What’s perhaps even worse is that you always feel stalked by failure, fear, anxiety.
One popular solution is to live a simpler life, but, what if there was a way to navigate your life in a way that allowed you to fully show up for the people and activities that truly matter to you, and let you refuel, reboot and rejuvenate along the way?
A few benefits: When your body is at rest, you are your most creative, powerful and strong. When stressed, vision closes down and reduces your options; when you are relaxed, vision opens up and you are able to see many choices. Stress creates more problems; you get to waste time cleaning up your messes, instead of getting it right the first time. Ease and joy become ways you navigate through life; course correcting each time you
recognize you have chosen off path.
I was lucky that in my late 20’s, I heard a term that really got my attention: restful alertness, the ability to be deeply at rest in the midst of activity. The teachers of this meditation practice were
peaceful and yet dynamic, and charismatic. Later, I explored the idea of being “comfortable in my own skin” through a process of grounding and centering. These two practices have become a way of life for me. My life partner added another, “Don’t hold unnecessary tension in the body.”
I keep my choice for joy and ease top of mind. My body is now a tool of discernment. I trust it completely. Its innate wisdom helps me determine what I want to do (my body opens, moves
forward, feels upbeat) and what I don’t (my body contracts, moves away from and feels overwhelmed). My body also lets me know when it needs a break; I lose the ability to focus, feel restless or start yawning. These breaks can be as short as 5-10 minutes, time for a walk around the garden, drink a cup of tea mindfully, or close the eyes for a few minutes.
If you believe that life is a struggle, remember that Maya Angelou says, “When you know better, you do better.”