I’m tired. I flew into Portland, Oregon late last night for a writing workshop I’m giving tomorrow. I then return home to a new home and a new life that awaits me. The summer schedule started this week, so we have children sleeping around the dormitory and saying “I’m bored” all day. I’ll admit it’s not the worst problem in the world, and all things considered, I’m grateful. But still I’m tired.
I am reminded of a mantra I learned back in 2020 when life seemed to have stopped and every day was still hard. I was in a men’s group at the time and one of our guest facilitators shared this with us. As a Midwesterner who has proudly pulled myself up by my own metaphorical bootstraps most of my life, this simple phrase offended me:
Let it be easy.
The way she said it was like a child yelling at their parents to get out of bed on Christmas morning, “Let it be… easy!” It seemed too hard to believe. The solution to my problems, the secret to alleviating all my stressors, was to simply let it… easy? It couldn’t be. Growing up in a middle-class family in the farmlands of rural Illinois, I was taught throughout my life to work hard, to do my best. If there was no pain, there was no gain. There is no progress without struggle.
But over time it started to feel exhausting. Did I really have to kill myself to live the life I wanted? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose? What good is the life you strive to create if you can’t even enjoy it? All this chasing began to lose meaning – all this fuss, and for what? It really seemed like chasing the wind. It really couldn’t be easy. I could is this
But what when? What if I at least tried to let life be something other than a banal exercise in pain and frustration? Sure, it sounds dramatic, but for most of my life I was so caught up in what I wanted that I was blind to what I had. And all this was starting to wear me down. So I decided to try to make life easier than I was doing.
I started letting things happen and listening to my intuition, paying attention to the still small voice inside when it said, “I don’t want to do this,” or “That sounds like fun!” The voice didn’t always get exactly what it wanted, because sometimes it sounded like a child asking for candy, but I gave it the space and attention it needed, honored it (and, I soon learned, my) desires.
And guess what? Life became easier. The burden was lighter, the yoke was not so heavy. I thought that all life could be like this. Maybe I didn’t have to push myself too hard to achieve something, only to wonder why it was all there. Maybe I could just enjoy this experience as much as possible, savoring every morsel of life it offers me, one bite at a time.
it is possible.
These days, when I find myself at a wall with all these things I need to do, I start to get suspicious. Is this true? Is it absolutely right that all of these things need to be done right now, or is it just an old program running in my head that requires me to be busy and productive so that I can demonstrate my worth to the world? Don’t get me wrong. Things need to be done from time to time. But in my experience, much less is actually needed than we think.
Today I have a workshop to prepare for, a manuscript to deliver to a publisher for a ghostwriting client, and a few friends to see. I choose to take it easy, be surprised by what happens, and do my best to respond to the inevitable surprises.
Career wise, I continue to share ideas with others that interest me. I enjoy the catharsis of coming across a concept and sharing my take on it, whether in writing or audio, and then seeing the audience’s reaction to it.
It’s the magic of what blogging used to be, and there’s still nothing like it. I hope to continue to be able to do this in any format that makes sense, expressing my voice in a way that resonates with others and helps me clarify my own thinking.
However, I struggle to find the time to fit it all in between my professional and personal commitments. I want to be creative, do good work and make a decent living while taking care of my family and myself. And there is never enough time to do everything; more precisely, there is always enough time and not a minute more.
So, my friend, let’s take it easy together. I admit that such a challenge sometimes sounds, well, difficult. Isn’t that ironic? I guess that’s a work in progress. Maybe it shouldn’t be so hard. It might all seem a little easier, a little easier. Maybe it could be easy.
I’m willing to try — and in some cases, stop. you?