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Try Easy

Aaron McHugh

I flipped the one-man outrigger canoe five feet from shore. It was my first time to attempt to paddle one of these small Polynesian water craft. I assuredly cranked my first paddle stroke with testosterone power plunging me upside down. I repeated the cycle with more grit with the same result. My Hawaiian friend ashore offered a kind word, “Try easy.”

Liz Gilbert writes, “We are the strivingest people who have ever lived. We are ambitious, time-starved, competitive, distracted. We move at full velocity, yet constantly fear we are not doing enough… Dear ones, EASE UP. Pump the brakes. Take a step back…My radical suggestion? Cease participation, if only for one day this year-if only to make sure that we don’t lose forever the rare and vanishing human talent of appreciating ease”. Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace With Marriage, 2010.

Ease is a chosen state, selected gear to downshift into. For most of us, we fear that “easy” will not produce desirable results. We won’t win. We won’t achieve the metric. We won’t arrive at the destination on time. Ease is often the secret ingredient to unlocking new possibilities.

I downshifted this summer and let the taught line of progress slip away. I paused producing Work Life Play podcast. I spent a lot of time doing things I love with the people that I love. True to Liz Gilbert’s advice, “The world will still need saving tomorrow. In the meantime, you’re going to have a stroke soon (or cause a stroke in somebody else) if you don’t calm the hell down.” Amen sister.

Friends, find your easy gear and give yourself a break for a bit.