We are taught early on that we have to work at things. If we don’t succeed, then try try again.
We learn that when things get tough we should lean in,
give it our all.
We learn that struggle is part of the process.
But what if we’ve had it wrong all these years?
What if, instead of leaning in, we stopped? Not forever...but just for a few moments.
What if we pressed the pause button on our struggling and just let ourselves (and our problem) be?
What if, when things got frustrating, instead of pushing forward we stood up and walked around? Got a drink of water? Took a few intentional breaths and let those quiet moments help us recalibrate? What if we stopped in the middle of the struggle to set the struggle aside so we could just be ourselves? The self without the struggle.
What if, by simply pausing, the struggle passed us by and we were left with just the problem and ourselves, without the additional chaos that our struggling inevitably adds to the situation? Seems like the answer to the problem would be much easier to see without all the commotion that frustrations add.
I liken this idea of “effortless effort” central to the wisdom teachings of Tai Chi . Using effortless effort we can literally step aside when life moves aggressively towards you. You side step the fight, find your center and continue from there.
Is it possible that by pausing, we can step aside of our own inner fight and find a new way to be with the situation? Think how different life could be.
Try it sometime. It’s surprising how well pausing works.
Here’s a short 5- minute audio meditation to show you how.