I believe that behind everything that we chase in life – people, places, things, experiences – there is a desired feeling. The reason that we want certain things isn’t really about the actual thing, its because of the way that that thing makes us feel. A certain relationship might make us feel connected, loved and wanted. A job at that company may make us feel secure, powerful or inspired.
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this idea and how it drives everything that I do. Danielle LaPorte has a great book about this concept called The Desire Map. Essentially, her book helps you to dive deep and figure out the 4-5 core feelings that you want to feel the most in your life. Once you know these, every little decision that you make can be measured up against your core desired feelings. Life becomes so much simpler when you’re crystal clear on the why behind all that you choose to do.
I have several core desired feelings, but the one that I long for the most is a sense of ease.
What is ease? Its not necessarily effortlessness. To me it means a more balanced life. It means inspired work following by pure relaxation. Its means passion versus striving. Softness versus force. Intuition versus overworking. Light versus heavy. It means being present, intentional and living slower.
As an entrepreneur living her life in New York City, ease has been a very hard thing for me to find and hold on to. How can working hard and ease share a life? How can you feel light, but also own a business? The all illusive question. Its an ongoing journey, but along the way I have discovered several life practices that have truly helped.
1. Follow your gut. If there’s one thing that starting my own business has taught me, its that your intuition always knows best. If you feel like you have to push really hard at something, its not the right thing. Return to your gut feelings and let them guide you. There’s nothing wrong with doing things the easier way, as long as they don’t compromise your well-being, others or the planet.
2. Keep life really simple.
- Own less. Eliminate everything you own that’s not used often or that doesn’t bring you joy.
- Do less. Eliminate everything you do that’s not truly necessary or that doesn’t bring you joy.
- Eliminate distractions. Make the choice to truly work when you’re working and truly relax when you’re not. So much of our time gets filled with unconscious internet scrolling, Instagramming, email checking. It can be hard to break this habit, but once you do you’ll find you have so much more life to live.
3. Don’t overwork. Don’t work at night or on the weekends if possible. Don’t even check social media or your email. Nobody will miss you and you will gain so much. You’ll do things you wouldn’t normally do because you didn’t have the time to. You’ll bake just for the pleasure of it. Go for more walks. Eat more icecream cones. Connect more deeply. This is what ease is all about. Give it to yourself.
4. Slow down. ‘Enjoy the little things’ is part of our tagline. When you slow down you become more present and the world blossoms. There are so many ordinary things, fleeting moments and funny occurrences surrounding us that are pure magic. They make life blissful and they are the essence of ease. No striving, just happening little moments of magic. Slow down.
“Let me give you a wonderful Zen practice. Wake up in the morning, look in the mirror and laugh at yourself.” -Bernie Glassman
“Being at ease with not knowing is crucial for answers to come to you.” -Eckhart Tolle
“Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.” -Kurt Vonnegut
“Our bodies have five senses: touch, smell, taste, sight, hearing. But not to be overlooked are the senses of our souls: intuition, peace, foresight, trust, empathy. The differences between people lie in the use of these senses; most people don’t know anything about the inner senses while a few people rely on them just as they rely on their physical senses, and in fact probably more.” -C. JoyBell
“Calm is a super power.”