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how to have an easy life (hint - you can't)

Have you ever sought a quick fix to a problem, only to discover that the solution may have been quick, but it came with a bunch of other problems you hadn't foreseen?

This came up with a client I worked with recently. James had chosen a path he thought would bring him ease (being supported by his parents into adulthood) but had found challenges and difficulties all along (being controlled by them and not feeling free to make his own choices).

He ended up being fed up and resentful of his parents and his life and seeking ease elsewhere, only to run into more difficulty of feeling trapped in a situation he thought he couldn't get out of. He was trapped between wanting to hold onto the comfort and ease of the money, afraid to lose it, and wanting a different career, marrying a girl his parents didn't approve of and fearing their reaction to it.

As part of the solution, I explained that there’s no such thing as an easy life ☹️ and the more we want things to be easy, the more difficulties we are going to face (what a bitch life is, huh?) until we accept that as part of life. In seeking ease, James was caught between the difficulty of having his parents control his life choices and the difficulty of the consequences of him if he "disobeyed" them, age 41.

We worked to see the benefits to his parents of him making his own choices, pursuing the career he wanted, detaching from them financially and emotionally and marrying the girl he loved. We looked at the drawbacks to them if he did as they wanted. We also looked at the drawbacks to him of having the life he was now dreaming of, to help calm down the fantasy of ease and prepare him for the reality of it.

Once he had done that, he no longer feared his parents' reaction to him living the life he truly wanted, and was able to move on, knowing that his chosen career would come with challenges, as would marriage.

Long term pain patients can be seekers of ease as well - I see so many of them seek quick fixes to their problem only to either not resolve it or end up with more problems in the form of side effects and frustration. They choose injections, nerve blocks, surgery - all external fixes that offer ‘ease’ because the hard work of doing physio, or dealing with the real problem (which in most such cases is linked to mental or emotional pain) is too much effort, too difficult. Many of them end up having tried all of the quick fixes in the hopes of having an easy life, many ending up addicted to opioid drugs which render them unable to function properly, and still in pain. So much for easy.

Now let’s think of movement - the more we try to avoid injuries by sticking to ‘safe’ ways of moving or trying to keep our students safe through our teaching, the more likely we or our students are to become injured, and the more upset we’ll be about it when it happens - I’ve seen this a lot. It is very common for yoga teachers who are determined that yoga is here to fix us therefore yoga injuries are feared and desperately avoided. Yet they happen and cause yoga teachers huge angst.

A couple of parkour coaches I know are so injury averse and that they try so hard to prevent their students getting injuries yet someone injuries themselves in almost every class and they get really badly affected by it.

But the sport he coaches carries inherent risk and there is very little he can do to prevent people getting injured - it’s out of his control but he ends up attracting injuries because of his aversion to them, and this will keep happening until he learns to accept that injuries are an inevitable part of being active.

It’s only when we accept and learn to love

the reality that life - has just as much difficulty as ease, and as much health and disease, injury as, erm, non-injury that we won't get upset when life inevitably punches us in the face with these things.

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