The word “easy” has been popping up for me a lot lately- but not in a consistent way.
It seems like I have a love/hate relationship with it..No, that’s too strong.. A want/don’t want relationship – but that’s also not right..
You know how sometimes a word can be the same word, spelled the same, sound the same but mean two different things in two different contexts?
Like the word “BEAT” – if I ask you what does beat mean- maybe you think it’s what your heart does, or maybe you think it means to conquer someone in a competition.. Or maybe it means to hit someone or something? Or maybe it’s a rhythm that you’re on.. Or it’s what you ask the DJ to give you. Or it’s what you tell someone to do when you want them to leave.
All of these meanings of beat are interconnected and similar, but also obviously have different meanings and connotations and emotions depending on the context.
Maybe that’s what’s going on with me and the word Easy – and that’s why sometimes I want things to be easy.. It’s why I’m attracted to easy..
And why sometimes I’m very wary of easy.. And I want to remember that EASY is not what I want at all.
So let’s talk about easy.
The 1st Easy
The first Easy I want to talk about is when I hear myself think: “I just wish this was Easy”
In this case, I’m making “Easy” mean a way to avoid pain and discomfort, to conserve energy, and usually to avoid effort.
And right now, you may be right here with me, thinking- “yes! Of course, let’s choose easy. We should wish everything is easy.”
Like, starting a business, learning a new skill, making a choice between 2 good options (or 2 bad options), growing up, losing weight, saving money, being in a relationship.. Everything! Right?
Don’t we all wish all of those things were just super easy? But, then I think, do we really wish that? If all of those things really were super easy, then, where is the learning? Where is the problem-solving, challenging experience?
An Easy Book and Ball
It’s almost as if you told me “I’m bored, I want something good to read.” and I hand you a book written for 3rd graders. It may still have an interesting story line and interesting characters, but my guess is, it wouldn’t hold your attention. Why not?
Maybe you would finish it too fast? Maybe it wouldn’t be interesting or challenging enough for you. Maybe you would be able to predict exactly how everything would turn out? Maybe it wouldn’t overcome your boredom- which is the whole reason I was handing you the book in the first place.
The analogy here is that when we’re bored, and want something to read, we’re not satisfied by something that’s not interesting or challenging enough.
We want twists and turns, we want a puzzle or something unknown and maybe we want a little drama, or suspense or a thrill.
I think I see this when I watch my dog play, which isn’t very often any more because she’s very senior and she’s blind and mostly deaf. So, when I see her playing, I stop everything to watch her play and sometimes, try to help out a little, because I’m trying to keep her young and playful forever!
The whole time I’ve known my dog, she’s always been more interested in challenging than easy. She used to play by herself with her ball for hours (and sometimes she would enlist our help too). She had a game we called “Elevator” where she would jump on the bed, with the ball then nudge the ball until it rolled off the end of the bed, then she’d jump off the bed, retrieve the ball and get back up on the bed to do it all again. This happened over and over.
The drama sometimes came when the ball would get stuck between the mattress and the foot of the bed- she would need to push it, or pull it to loosen it. I swear that was her favorite part- when it got a little more challenging or difficult.
The other day, she was hanging out with me in my office, and I saw that she would nudge the ball away from herself with her nose and then go looking for it, or actually, smelling for it, because, remember, she’s blind.
So I was watching her find the ball, then send it away.. Then go find it again and as she did, she would walk into the wall or the table leg or have to climb over and navigate around the obstacle course made up of the furniture in my office.
And every time she found the ball again, I expected her to sit down and hold it and enjoy it for a moment.. But she never did.. She always nudged it away again. And I thought- why is she making it so hard on herself? Why doesn’t she just sit down and enjoy her ball?
What do we really want?
So, all those things I mentioned earlier (starting a business, learning a new skill, making a choice, growing up, losing weight, saving money, being in a relationship – those aren’t all the same as just sitting around one afternoon feeling bored- and wishing you had a book to read or a ball to play with – but I still feel like when faced with those things, at some level, we still do want twists and turns, we want a puzzle or something unknown and maybe we want a little drama, or suspense or a thrill.
Maybe because otherwise, those things wouldn’t hold our attention. We would be skipping important lessons and challenges. We would be bypassing the growth and development.
How does this show up for me?
What I’m noticing lately.. Is the mind in (my ego) me is suggesting a “false easy.” The mind in me considers what I’m about to do. In my case, grow my coaching practice or promote this podcast. I immediately start to get scared and nervous.. and immediately, the mind in me suggests that there might be an easier way, a short cut, or even an exit.
When I notice I wish something was easier, it means my mind is trying to conserve energy (as if there were a limited supply! LOL!).
Or, maybe it means that my mind is trying to avoid the pain of discomfort by wishing for something easy – as if I was owed easiness, as if life shouldn’t be uncomfortable at times.
It means my mind is opting out of what it thinks will be a “painful” journey – what it doesn’t acknowledge in it’s protective, comfortable state is that a “painful” journey is where I could learn and grow the most!
So, every time I catch myself thinking “that would be easier” I can evaluate what I’m thinking and why – because most times, I won’t really want to choose the easier path. And, it’s likely that it really won’t be easier in the long run. It’s possible that a short cut could result in a longer detour later.
It might be that if I skip the learning and development and growth now, I’ll still want it later.. So I’ll end up with the pain and discomfort at some point anyhow, and my quest for easy now, just prolonged my lack of learning and understanding and growth.
Another way to think about this version of easy might be like a form of cheating. I remember once when my sister and I took a bus trip from Germany to Spain. This was back in the 90s before we all had devices and on-board entertainment. So, our on board entertainment was a deck of cards. On the way home, everyone on the bus was tired, sunburned, maybe hung over, probably bored. As my sister and I started playing cards, other passengers gathered around us to see how the game would go, to see who would win. And I remember one of the watching passengers kind of nudging me, indicating to me a way I could cheat. At first I ignored her, and then she kind of non-verbally suggested it again, a little more insistently and I was like, “no, I’m good.”
I remember being so puzzled at her suggestion that I might want to cheat, that I might want to win the “Easy” Way! I remember thinking- what’s the point in that? The whole point of the game is to play, to see what card comes up next, to sit in suspense – not knowing if I have the better hand or not.. Why give that all away just to cheat and to win without really winning?
As I think about that reasoning I had back then during that late night bus ride, I wonder why I don’t have that same attitude towards my own sweet little mind when it non-verbally nudges me and suggests I could just take the easy way.
Why don’t I ask myself “What’s the point of that? Why would I want to give up this suspense? And this experience of seeing what’s about to happen?
Do I want the Easy Suggestion?
This “invitation” to find an easy way came up for me as I was setting up my coaching practice. As I privately and publicly declared “I’m a coach. I’m taking on clients. I’m going to help women get what they want in life and get rid of what they don’t want by showing them their own resistance and helping them release it!”
I remember thinking “it might be easier if I’m working for someone else while I’m building my practice, while I’m growing my client roster.” It might be easier to have a part time job.. It might be easier to work for a more established coach rather than marketing to and attracting my own clients..
But- in reality, when I dig down below the surface of the “Easy Suggestion” that actually feels so much more complicated! That actually feels like it would take so much more energy to split my attention. That actually seems like a distraction and delay from getting what I really want for MYSELF!
And again, when I was planning how I would roll out my 6-week 1-on-1 weight loss program – I thought – I could offer a money back guarantee. That would make it so much easier to sell. But, then, I started thinking about why I wanted to offer a money back guarantee?
Did I want people to sign up for weight loss coaching because they knew they could ask for their money back? And did I want to figure out how to decide what would be required to be eligible for the refund? And did I want to map out the logistics of giving back the refund if someone didn’t meet their goals?All of this started to sound very complicated, not simple.. Not easy.. And not really what I even wanted!
I want to work with clients who are “all in” 100% on their weight loss – or in whatever transformation they’re looking for by coaching with me – not people who are thinking they might not go through with it and just ask for their money back. I want to work with clients who are prepared for the discomfort of changing themselves and their thoughts and beliefs in order to lose weight or to get the transformation they want
That means, I really don’t want to offer any guarantees – the guarantees aren’t mine to offer- those have to come from my clients. So, then I realized.. I thought that selling with a money back guarantee would make it easier to sell – but in fact, I don’t want it to be easier. I want the discomfort in this case too.
That’s why it’s a “false easy” – what I thought would be an easier shortcut could equal something much more complicated to untangle later.. And, could cost me the learning and growth along the way.
So- what do you think? Have I talked you out of easy yet?
2nd kind of Easy
The 2nd kind of easy is when everything is in perfect alignment, it flows effortlessly
“Let it be Easy”
How does this show up for me: I’m not even thinking about it.. It feels like the natural next step, things just seem to show up or appear to help along the way.
Where’s the learning- in this case, the point is not to learn, it’s a knowing without necessarily knowing, and even more clarity comes with hindsight and reflection
Easy Examples of Easy
Have you ever met someone and just fell into an easy friendship? Have you ever decided you would do something or learn something, and everything just fell right into place for you?Have you ever wanted something, and the path to it just seem to naturally unfold in front of you, with luck and coincidence and alignment?
Or, another way things could have been easy is because of our human memories.
When I think back to something that may have been difficult, painful, uncomfortable.. But looking back, I don’t remember all that discomfort.. And it really just seems so easy?
Easy in Hindsight
Maybe some things just seem easy in hindsight.. Maybe as I was going through something, it was actually uncomfortable, and annoying, and scary.. But I just kept going and didn’t even entertain the possibility that I might not be successful or that it wouldn’t work.. And now, later, with distance, and my human, faulty memory, I look back and think- wow, that was so easy! Why can’t everything be that easy?
An example of this is launching this podcast- I know I created resistance and drama for myself last year as I was figuring out how I would launch this by my self-imposed deadline. I remember making up very reasonable sounding reasons why I couldn’t start recording yet and why I wasn’t ready to learn how to edit yet.
But, once I pushed through my own resistance, and got started.. I saw how easy it actually was for me.. And now when I reminisce to just 6 months ago.. I notice that I’ve already started to forget the hard, frustrating parts and it just seems like it was all so easy for me. So, there’s an example of me forgetting the resistance that I either pushed through or released.
Another reason why some things are so easy is because we have no resistance to them to start with.
Isn’t it interesting that most of us probably never intentionally think about what has been easy for us and why? Why don’t we study what’s been easy for us.. And try to reverse engineer it? Have you ever stopped to think “What’s the easiest thing I’ve ever done?”
For example, I seem to do really well at job interviews. I seem to make friends and connections pretty easily. My marriage seems pretty easy to me. Managing my money is easy for me.
What about you? What things in your life are you just innately good at?
My guess is, whatever those are, you have no resistance about them whatsoever!
A False Dichotomy
Have you heard the expression “we can do this the hard way or the easy way?”
Usually, I imagine, the person saying this is fictional, and probably a villain trying to convince a character to make it easier for the villain! Is this what our brains are doing?
Do our brains take on the role of the threatening villain – assuring us that we only have 2 options, and obviously we want to choose the EASY way (because, of course, that’s the way that always takes less effort for the villain too!, right?)
What if our automatic answer to that question was always “The Hard Way, please! 100% the hard way!”What would we learn? Experience? Realize? If we were always 100% committed to doing everything the hard way, instead of looking for the Easy Way Out?
And, is that offer – that we can do this the hard way or the easy way- also a False Dichotomy?
Do you know this expression? A Dichotomy is a sharp division of ideas into two contradictory parts. So a false dichotomy is an amazing concept that means whatever you’re talking about is NOT jointly exhaustive (there may be other alternatives), or not mutually exclusive (maybe alternatives overlap), or maybe the answer is neither of the 2 offered choices.
What if there are so many ways to do something – not just the easy way and the hard way. What if there’s the experimental way? The growth way? The workout way? The scenic way?
Another question this brings up is “can something be easy, while not being easy?” Meaning, can it feel natural and aligned and unfolding- while also creating discomfort and requiring effort and promoting growth?
Like a workout – you’re working your muscles and stamina.. You’re pushing yourself and feeling pain and discomfort.. But, it also feels amazing and you may want to keep going.. And you do keep going back to it over and over.
Or being totally in flow working on a project- with lots of problem solving and challenges – maybe overall, the project is flowing along.. But part of your work, part of that flow, is solving all the little barriers and obstacles that pop up as you go.
What’s the Point?
What am I trying to convince you of? Or share with you? What am I now realizing for myself?
Here it is! When my mind offers me “Easy” as a way for me to escape pain or bypass discomfort or conserve energy, that’s because my mind is in scarcity mode and thinks that something’s a threat.
But, when there’s no resistance, when I’m in abundance and intentionally choosing from love, not from fear, that’s when Easy is about flow. It’s when Easy is about alignment and perfect unfolding.
That’s why I love the mantra “Let it be easy” – it reminds me, I don’t have to resist, I don’t have to fear, I can just let things be easy.
And, that’s why when I hear myself think “I wish this was easy” I can remember, of course, my mind wants to protect me from pain and conserve energy. I can use that as a reminder to check if something really is painful and if I’m actually more interested in expending the energy so that I can learn and grow.
You might recognize this contrast between the 2 easys when you think of “Get Rich Quick” Schemes. To me, the schemes imply there’s some urgency to get rich, because otherwise there’s a threat of missing out, or not having enough, or that you don’t have enough now- which is why you need to get rich quick – what if, you felt completely abundant and you trusted you would get rich in the exact right amount of time?
Shouldn’t we beware of any “Get ANYTHING Quick” Schemes- like “Get Thin quick” Get smart quick? Get Loved quick?- aren’t these all just short-cuts or cheats through an experience?
Does our attraction to these schemes or offers indicate that we may have resistance around the subject.. Or that we may have thoughts of scarcity?
So what about you? What do you wish was easy for you – and now that you know my theory.. What do you think your reason is for wishing it was easy?
And, what naturally has unfolded for you so easily? When you think about how it call came to be- do you think its your human memory forgetting the tough parts.. Or do you think it’s because you had no resistance to the whole idea in the first place?