The Journey Continues
As Retreat in the Pines grows, I grow.
My focus right now is to stop trying so hard. What a concept! I'm over the lean in and try a little harder. Now I’m a proponent of less. Less effort equals less stress which equals more peace. Fewer commitments equals more personal time. Ayurveda teaches us less effort. Too much effort leads to irritability, anger, frustration and judgement. Sound familiar? Less effort equals peace, calm, contentment and the ability to roll with it.
If you need a weekend with less effort and more relaxation, join us for a yoga retreat.
My favorite way to start the day now, is taking my cup of coffee and Mason (he’s one now) out onto the deck in my backyard. We wake up to the sounds of our neighborhood and nature and we watch the sun rising together.
I’ve found my life changes with small simple habits. One of my favorites is a corner in my bedroom where I’ve created a sanctuary for me. By spending a few moments every day in self- reflection and gratitude; I’ve discovered the space between effort and ease, which feels a lot like contentment to me.
This past summer I struggled. It seemed like one thing after another was blowing up in my face. I started my summer closing on my new house. Yay! The same day I got on a plane with a less than one year old for a family reunion. Hello stress!
Moving in was a nightmare, the day after I moved in, my toilets started leaking, next was the washing machine flooding the kitchen floor. Instead of handling this all in a calm and capable manner, I completely freaked out. Which didn't help of course. The next few months were a nightmare of my own making because I was completely panicked about EVERYTHING and I was spiraling into anxiety. My Yoga practice wasn't helping because all I could think of during yoga was what if my house falls apart and I lose everything. A little dramatic!
Lisa Coyle, one of our instructors, is an amazing teacher who teaches the concept of Ayurveda in every yoga class. She repeated less effort over and over. It finally took about a week or so ago. I relaxed. I could breathe again.
I realized I had to get out of my own way.
Sometimes I look at social media and get instantly depressed. I wonder about those seemingly incredibly happy people – they have perfect children, a good looking and supportive partner, their home is gorgeous and they travel to exotic destinations. What am I doing wrong? But then I remember appearances can be deceiving. Most of us aren’t advertising our challenges on social media, but we all have struggles.
I’ve found when I compare myself to others, I feel unhappy and discontent. Comparison makes me expend so much effort – trying to be something I’m not. And I don’t want to live like that.
There is a concept in Yoga of sukha which means ease or bliss. The challenge is to bring sukha not only to my yoga practice, but to my life. I admit I’ve forced a yoga pose, I’ve cursed and struggled. You know the pose, the one where the rest of the class looks like they aren’t even trying. So I try harder. That’s the point where I lose any ease or bliss. I remind myself the appearance of no effort, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s effortless.
It’s a common theme for women at a retreat.
"We're tired. We've been trying incredibly hard for years, sometimes decades."
After years of forcing and trying so hard at EVERYTHING, I’ve discovered this space between effort and ease, is actually quite sweet, once you get the hang of it.
These Habits Have Changed My Life
I try everyday to spend time in my sanctuary and to start my day intentionally. When I do, I’m more productive, I feel less overwhelmed and I start my day on my terms. Sometimes I don't make time and it shows. I get stressed and anxious.
The sweet spot for me is the space between effort and ease, there's more bliss and less struggle.