I recently updated my workspace at home. I decided to beautify it and bedazzle it and turn it into a kind of altar of inspiration for all of the magical work I want to do in my life. I opted out of plastering it with motivational quotes and to-do lists, and instead decided to adorn it with crystals and flowers and jewelry and pictures of my favorite artists, a photo of myself as a baby with my father, and a simple word written in pink ink on a small piece of paper: Easy.
Because really, that says it all. Easy is how I want to feel in my life; easy is how I want to feel in my work; I want everything in my life to flow with a kind of ease and grace that feels effortless, weightless, and totally self-sustaining. For me, easy equals inspiration, good ideas, and good timing. It equals floating from one fun experience to the next, and rendezvousing with what I’m looking for, when I’m looking for it. It equals feeling good in my body—my nervous system totally cool and calm with whatever I am up to. No struggle. No challenge. Just easy.
Now, I know what you might be thinking, who is this girl and who does she think she is to be so lazy? Isn’t easy a kind of cop-out, or a cheap way of tricking the system? Or maybe you’re thinking, well, if life were really supposed to be easy, then why are so many of us working so hard to get what we want? I was taught that there’s no pain without gain, and besides, nobody who took it easy ever got a medal, or a statue dedicated to them, or a building named after them. No, I’d rather earn my well-being, prove my worthiness, and achieve greatness, through struggle, effort, and hard work…
I know I am being a bit dramatic, but the only reason I can channel these thoughts so clearly is because they used to be my own. I’ve always considered myself an incredibly ambitious person, and truly believed that the only way to achieve the big life I wanted for myself was to shackle myself to a hamster wheel of hard work. I truly believed that creativity was about how hard I was willing to struggle, how much pain I was willing to put myself through, and easy—well, that was just for suckers.
But like any self-fulfilling prophecy, my belief that success was always just a step ahead of me kept playing itself out, on repeat, ad infinitum. And I just got tired. Weary. Exhausted, really. I realize now that I wasn’t trusting the flow of life, and that in spite of my well intentioned efforts, I wasn’t getting where I wanted to be. I was scaling a mountain that had no summit—running a race that had no finish line, and for what? Mediocre results. Photographs that maybe somebody thought were interesting, or impressive (because I worked really hard to get them!), but which ultimately didn’t satisfy me in the way my soul craved to be satisfied.
And thus I bring you to my new definition of ambition: a deep, deep soul craving. A desire to create; to be; to express; to dance; to joyously romp through life; to feel easy and lighthearted. And when I feel that way—only when I feel that way—does the magic really start to happen. And all the material stuff that feels like it’s been holding out on me—the money, the relationships, the house, the hot tub, whatever it is—begins loosen its grip from the hard rock I’ve wedged it in. All on the heels of easy.
So, don’t give up your ambition; just give up your struggle. Don’t give up your big dream; just lay down your burden of feeling like you’ll never get there. And do yourself the favor—maybe the biggest favor you could ever give to yourself—of just taking it easy.
With Love and Mischief,