How I Found More Ease and Less Struggle
Theresa Polley
September 1, 2018
April 18, 2023
My Journey

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 former Retreat Leaders, 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

  • Meditate – I can’t say enough good things about meditation. It’s free, you don’t need any special props, and it can be done anytime and anywhere. The benefits of meditation are amazing; contributes to a good night’s sleep, strengthens your immune system, reduces aging and so much more.  If you struggle to meditate on your own, try the app Headspace.
  • Create a Sanctuary – Set up a place in your home that’s specifically for you. It can be a room or a corner in a room. Make it your space. You can meditate, journal, enjoy your morning coffee or tea. This is the space where you discover exactly what you need in your life. Create an altar with photos of loved ones, books that are meaningful to you, your bible, your journal, an item that has special meaning to you. Every time you see this space, you’ll be reminded to take care of yourself.
  • Start Your Day Intentionally – Resist the urge to look at your phone first thing. Have an actual clock and an alarm. When you check e-mail, news and social media first, you start your day by reacting. Instead of looking at your phone, spend a few moments in self-reflection or journal, meditate, pray or read. Take a few moments of quiet time before you mindlessly jump into your day. This routine can be five minutes or 30 minutes, depending on your schedule.
  • Remember - Less is more!

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.

This blog is intended to provide helpful suggestions for self care and overall well-being. I am not a mental health professional. If you’re struggling I encourage you to seek the help of a professional. Find a Mental Health Professional | National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline: Dial 988

Share this Story

Theresa Polley

Theresa believes ALL women have the right to live life on their own terms. In 2004, she created Retreat in the Pines to give women a safe space to be their authentic selves without apology while finding the healing and renewal they deserve.

Retreat With Us

All Women Welcome
No Judgments
No Expectations
Join Us