That’s the question I’m asking myself lately. About lots of things.
I’ve realized that I tend to expect difficulty and complication.
Regardless of the how or the why, when I expect something to happen with ease, it usually does. (And even when it doesn’t, the expectation of ease seems to help me respond to the non-ease better.)
The trick seems to be remembering to expect ease. Because when you’ve had 30-cough years of expecting difficulty, that makes for a pretty well-worn synaptic pathway.
Do you ever catch yourself gearing up for a situation by playing out all the ways it could go wrong? I totally do that. What will I do if things don’t turn out the way I want? What will I say if they get angry? What kind of crappy customer service will I get today? How will I respond if they accuse me of blah blah blah?
Not helpful at all. Things usually work out fine despite playing out the worst-case scenarios, but how much more pleasant would my life be if I could approach those situations neutrally, if not optimistically?
An example (and an acknowledgment)
A few days ago I had to go grocery shopping by myself. Usually if I need to go, I arrange it so my husband is there, too. Not very efficient, but there you have it.
As I was psyching myself up to leave the house, I was pondering what an easy shopping trip would look and feel like.
And then, just as I was about to head downstairs to leave, the cat decides to throw up. And of course it was on the carpet rather than on the tile, where it’d be ten times easier to clean up.
Now, I don’t make a habit of sharing my cat’s digestive mishaps on the blog, but here’s why I’m making an exception today:
Sometimes things aren’t easy. Or at least not as easy as we’d hope.
So please know I’m not sitting here telling you that if you’d just expect ease, life would be All Easy, All the Time. Follow that line of thinking to its logical conclusion and it implies that the hard things happen because we didn’t exercise proper thought control. And that’s just bullshit.
By the time I was in the car and had shaken off my own shame about my tantrum, I was back to thinking about grocery shopping, and how it might be possible for it to be easy.
Although things didn’t go 100% smoothly (how dare they be out of Havarti Slices again?), I didn’t feel bombarded by other people’s energy. And it didn’t take as long as I thought it would, even though I spent extra time looking around for treats.
Despite the initial departure delay, overall it was a decent experience.
So I guess the other trick is, when the expecting ease thing falls short of providing ease, to trust that things will still work out in the end.
I’m continuing to experiment with this idea – and trying to apply it to bigger things than household chores.
What if writing a blog post could be easy? I’ve been blogstipated for over a month now, and lo and behold, here’s a post. (Well, sort of. See below for ironic update.)
What if finding a buyer for our rental property could be easy? What if dealing with the bank on the sale could be easy (and quick)?
What if it could be easy to finish writing my ebook?
What if launching that ebook successfully could be easy?
I’m sure sometimes I’ll think about how something could be easy, and it will be easy. Other times, my cat will throw up on the carpet.
Regardless of the outcome, the question will certainly be a reminder for me to approach stuff that has a history of difficulty with more openness.
If nothing else, it will prompt lots of noticing. Noticing where I might be making a situation harder than it needs to be.
It will open a space to pause and choose an easier way. When I can.
I started writing this post last Wednesday.
And since the shopping trip, there have been lots of not-so-easy stuff popping up (including a touch of writer’s block), which makes me a bit nervous to publish this.
So in case it’s not clear: I’m not saying that expecting ease is a guarantee of ease. Obviously, it’s not. Which is why I’m calling it an experiment. I want to practice influencing what I can influence – even if it’s just my own perception and experience of events.
Really, this is about doing what I can to give myself what I need.
How about you?
Care to join me in this experiment? It can be as simple as asking yourself the question when you remember to ask it, and noticing what comes up. This isn’t about piling on more shoulds.
And guess what? If ease isn’t your thing right now, replace it with whatever quality you’d like to experience more of. (What if it could be fun? What if it could be calm? What if it could be…?)
What helps you find ease?
Or, what quality do you want more of these days? How are you going about getting it?
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