Ease - an internal state of having freedom from rush or urgency. It's so needed and yet so elusive.
Can you remember when you last felt truly calm? Fully present? When you last looked out of the window (before looking at your phone)?
When did you last stop to gaze at your child. To see the stars. To hear the birds sing. To notice that the days are starting to get longer and the snowdrops are coming up.
If I could choose one component to gift myself on a moment by moment, day by day basis it would be ease. Why? Because when I feel at ease life becomes richer, fuller, funnier. I laugh more. I feel more joy. I'm able to think better and more clearly.
It doesn't mean that my to-do list gets smaller or any challenges I face get easier but how I approach them does. When I'm at ease I have an inner state of calm that allows me to navigate my life with more grace and wisdom.
I was asked by a participant on a course last week, how can I cultivate ease when my work, my colleagues and my life is full of urgency,? When I'm surrounded by adrenaline, deadlines and an overwhelming and ever-growing to-do list?
We have to choose to. We have to consciously choose ease. Even when it's not easy. Especially when it's not easy.
We have to make being at ease a daily habit. Why? Because the world outside isn't. Our workplaces aren't. But if we can be the quality of everything we do improves. We think better. We're more creative. More open. More compassionate. We're kinder to ourselves and others. We can work out what's truly essential and we make other people feel that they matter.
3 ways to cultivate more ease:
I find the 3 things below really help to re-establish a sense of ease especially when I start feeling overwhelmed:
- I do a 'brain dump' - I capture everything I need to action or think about. I do mean literally everything I have on my mind. All of it. I can end up with hundreds of things from small and unimportant to huge and critical. I don't filter. I just focus on getting every single little thing in one place.
- I re-establish my boundaries ('what's okay and what's not okay', Brene Brown). It's really hard to have a sense of ease when I'm not clear on my boundaries. I have learned that no one else can do this for me. Work won't put boundaries in and there will always be too much to do. A good indication my boundaries are being crossed is that I'm feeling resentful (or angry or frustrated or anxious). Ease cannot exist without boundaries. This short video is well worth watching (5.40) : http://www.theworkofthepeople.com/boundaries
- I create an incisive question for myself so when the outside world starts to speed up and the pace is increasing I can come back to my own sense of internal ease and calm. My question for today:
'If I knew what matters most to the people around me is how they feel when they're with me (not what I do), what would I choose to focus on today?'
I'd love to know which component means the most to you and why, please get in touch by email or on twitter.