29 Jul

Ease vs Easy

Dear Friends,

Here’s another thought I’d like to share

Hard work makes it easy.

Nadia Comeneci (Olympic gold medal gymnast)

I remember watching Nadia Comeneci during the Olympics, and she sure made gymnastics look easy!  (I’ve heard it said that the art of anything is making it look easy.)  What we don’t see though, is the untold hours of practice, the misses, the injuries, the repetition, the consistent showing up – day after day, year after year.             So often, we look at the end product, or at someone else’s life or accomplishments and feel cheated, inferior or unworthy.  We wish those things for our own life, but what we’re really wishing for is to skip some steps – the steps of hard work, diligence, commitment, showing up – again and again and again.  This isn’t because we’re lazy, but because we are afraid.  We’re most afraid of our own recrimination!  If we try (work hard), we risk failing.  And then, if we fail, or fall short of the “perfect” mark, we have to face our inner critic who can be so unabashedly harsh!  This all points back to compassion being an essential component of change and growth – actually, it’s the very catalyst for change and growth.  (Funny enough though, we get caught in the trap of confusing compassion with permission to shrink back into non-action.) Okay, I digress…back to “hard work makes it easy.” Recently, during a yoga class, after a rigorous Warrior sequence, I told the class to “rest in downward facing dog pose.”  It was because of the hard work we had just done that downward facing dog was easy.  After that class, which continued to be a very strong Vinyasa flow class, a student made the comment that she was jealous of the people for whom the class was easy.  I pointed out that the class itself was difficult, but that, indeed, some people did the difficult class with ease.  There is a huge difference between something being easy and doing something with ease.  It takes hard work to do things with ease.  Even “resting” can be difficult if we don’t cultivate (do the hard work of creating) a mind that can let go and be at ease.  Discipline, practice and commitment are the hard work.  Ease is doing something that is difficult without attaching all the negative stories, thoughts and emotions to it.  So, showing up – whether for a class, your job, time on your meditation cushion, your relationships or yourself – becomes easy after you do the hard work of making it a habit. Hard work makes our lives easier because when we do the hard work, we live our lives with more ease – regardless of the level of difficulty.

May you walk through the world with ease.




Originally Published July 29, 2010

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