Day 21: That Fine Line Between Effort and Ease
Ever felt like you’re walking a tightrope? Balancing high up in the air, barely putting one foot in front of the other, with only your focus, determination, unending nerve, and a wobbly balancing pole to get you through?
Welcome to the circus of life.
Where the constant pendulum swings between the light and the dark, the ups and the downs, and where even the inhale and exhale can be a challenge. That stage where we manage a never-ending list of deadlines, commitments, obligations, priorities and “must-dos.” But if we live in this space of constant effort, there is no celebration and joy.
Conversely, if we live in a constant state of bliss, relaxation and retreat, there is no motivation to fully experience all that life offers. So the key to balance is finding that sweet spot between the effort and the ease.
In the traditional text of the Yoga Sutra’s, Patanjali speaks of “sthira-sukham asanam,” which loosely translates as “posture (asana) (should be) stable (thira) and comfortable (sukkah)."
On a yoga mat, sthira-sukham asanam broadly defines a physical practice where the joints and bones are harmoniously aligned with an easy flow of breath. Off the mat, this translates to finding the sweet spot between being alert, paying attention and using energy efficiently, while not straining the body, mind and spirit to the point of stress and anxiety.
Finding ways to balance that effort and ease can be as simple as:
1. Take a short break from the desk and walk around the office, or ideally outside.
2. Make time to prepare, sip and enjoy that cup of your favorite beverage.
3. Close your eyes and take five deep breaths into your belly.
The body has its own wisdom on finding the center point, so pay attention to how you are feeling. Are you over excited and hyper? Or restless, exhausted, and cranky? Tune into your body’s knowledge to find your center, then pace yourself to still accomplish what is necessary for your day or week ahead.
One of my early teachers believed that the greatest ease was found in the emptiness between the inhale and exhale, because that was the space where everything was quiet, and we could hear what the unconscious mind wanted to say. So in my practice I look for that space in-between. Moving from the doing to the resting, and opening up to what is possible.
So take a moment to look at areas in your life where you may need to step into the space in-between to rediscover that sweet spot.
Even the smallest shift can bring huge change. Denouncing one negative thought, taking one less bite, drinking one less glass will help bring you back closer to a center point of the body’s natural rhythm.
Then with this knowledge, you can better access your energy, turn toward a space of joy and happiness, and be the ringmaster of your own circus.