Do You Resist Ease?
I confess. I do.
I do so even though I am fully aware of the benefits of bringing more ease into my life; even though I know specific strategies that can help me to shift from tension to ease in just a moment or two; even though I teach other people how to let go of stress and tension. Despite all this, I still resist it sometimes.
As I prepare for my online class next week, Finding Ease at the Computer, I have been giving this a lot of thought.
In truth I am MUCH better being more easeful more of the time than I used to be. I was a tense, tight mess before I discovered the Alexander Technique fifteen years ago! Now I know how to use my body intelligence to release excess tension, and I make it a practice to consciously choose ease as much as possible. Yet the old resistance still exists. Maybe it always will.
Ease is an underrated quality, and many of us are resistant to the very idea of it – either consciously or unconsciously.
Even as I write this blog post on ease, I find myself wanting to think hard, concentrate, just get the job done, and use extra effort to hold the pen and put pressure onto the paper (yes, I often write my blogs long-hand first!). Old habits die hard. We have the “try hard” work ethic drummed into us from early in childhood. It doesn’t feel like working if I’m not putting effort, aka muscular tension, into it.
And yet, we get our best ideas so often NOT at our desks when we are “working.” I’m not the only one who comes up my most creative ideas or solutions to problems when I’m in the shower or out for a walk!
The image of Rodin’s Thinker says it all. We actually think more clearly, however, when we are not tensing, tightening, hunching, scrunching or frowning in concentration.
The trouble is, we don’t then get the feeling we associate with working – and certainly not working hard – when we’re not tensing up, contracting our muscles!
I am writing this to remind both myself and YOU that EASE is NOT the opposite of work.
We can actually do more work, be more productive and creative, and have more fun doing it, when we have less tension in our body and more ease. We also won’t suffer from the after-effects of too much tension, such as back or neck pain.
Ease does NOT mean lazy.
Ease is neutral. You can be lazy with ease or you can work with ease. You can be lazy with lots of tension and you can work with lots of tension.
I sometimes resist ease because it is easier to go with my habitual tension. Ease may use less muscular effort, but it requires more consciousness, more attentiveness to myself in the moment, more presence on my part. It requires a willingness on my part to prioritize ease – to give it more value than my desire to “get something done” for instance.
The trouble is, if I’m hurrying I don’t feel like I’m hurrying if I’m not putting muscular effort into it. If I’m “very busy” I don’t feel very busy if I’m not putting lots of effort into it.
Of course I won’t. I must accept that ease may feel odd to me, like I’m not working properly, that I’m not working hard – that’s kind of the point!
Yet the more I choose ease over tension, the more experience I have, and the more evidence I get that work actually gets done, AND I feel better, do better, and ideas come more freely and easily. The more I make ease a practice and a priority, the more my resistance to ease lessens. And, the more I practice, the more I am likely to remember that ease is an option even in times of stress. I may not always choose to go there, but I DO have the choice.
So give ease a chance. Your back, your neck, your business, your family, will thank you!
Would you like more ease in your life? At the computer? Do you think you have resistance to ease?
As always, I’d love to hear from you. The comments function is still not working properly here on the blog. In the meantime, if you have an observation, question or comment for me, please hop over to my Facebook page and leave it there.