Sometimes I get my job all wrong.
Sometimes I think my job as a monk and meditation teacher is teaching classes and retreats. Or perhaps mentoring and supporting. Or writing and podcasting.
I get wrapped up in the details. The urgent little jobs that need doing yesterday. I wonder what I should do as opposed to doing what I want to do. I second guess and avoid and doubt and procrastinate and get more and more immersed in what isn’t important …
Do you know what I mean?
Then, in some beautiful way (usually with a metaphorical clap around the head to wake me up), I get reminded that my sole job is to keep every single moment of my life easy.
To say it from the other side of the coin: my job is to keep every single moment of my life free of suffering and struggle.
And I suggest your single most important job is exactly the same.
Now: this doesn’t mean sitting on a beach in a hammock, although I reserve the right to take that option every now and then, and so should you.
Easy doesn’t mean hiding away from the world at all.
It is full involvement. Full responsibility, fully in, full catastrophe living – as mindfulness guy Jon Kabat-Zinn might say … yet – and here’s the most important point about making it easy – minus the catastrophic and “un-easy” drama and stress that seems to accompany so many people’s lives.
Making it easy is a completely different attitude to all of life, and I have a good friend Suka who is very good example of this.
He runs a large motorcycle shop in Edinburgh, with all the associated demands of that: staff, stock, sales, promotion, training, you name it, he’s the boss of all of that.
I almost fell off my chair some years ago when he told me that when his job stops being fun, he stops and walks away.
I just assumed that sometimes jobs – especially with big responsibilities as running a business – meant not having fun … that is has to be tough, that you have to suffer, even a little bit to get what you want.
To hear him saying that he decided to stop putting up with anything that was not fun and easy was awesome to me, and exciting.
And the proof is in the pudding: his business is more alive than ever, he always seems to have a ton of time to do exactly what he wants with it, and he always has a big smile on his face.
Suka is living proof that fun does not mean avoiding hard work, but doing it with a completely different mindset than many of us have ever used before.
It was another good friend, Nic Devlin from Somebody Inside, who put into words my “life focus” in terms of keeping life easy, fun and fluid.
Her whole philosophy as a coach is the single question: “What if this could be easy?”
Whenever life seems tough, or you don’t know, she suggests applying this question.
She showed me that everything can be easy. Even the death of a loved one, that, when I applied the question, even that was easy, even amongst the chaos and the emotion.
As I said, easy doesn’t mean not taking responsibility. It doesn’t mean not needing a touch of boldness every now and then. It doesn’t mean avoiding making tough decisions.
Easy is avoiding all the rubbish that makes life hard – and 100% of that rubbish is internal.
We make it hard by trying to avoid the fear and the things we don’t want. We make it hard by not saying the things we really want, because “What if?” and “What will they think?”.
We make it hard by putting up with less-than. We make it hard by not living a life that we want.
We make it hard for ourselves by worrying about things we have no control over. We worry about how little sleep we’re getting. We worry about the amount of worry we have.
We create so many problems by doing things the hard way.
We make it hard by living constantly in our heads and never in our bodies, tuned into what is actually right in front of us. We make it hard by living in the past and the future, never immersed in the presence of Now.
There’s this seemingly endless cycle of struggle and suffering, simply because we actually choose to make it hard.
It doesn’t seem that way though does it? Because it’s a habit, it’s an unconscious skill we’re very good at.
It’s an unconscious skill – and a small question like “What if this could be easy?” is so revolutionary – because hard is what we are taught from early on.
We are taught that life is tough, and you’d better get used to it. “No pain, no gain!” and all that. No wonder we think struggle is the path forward.
But as soon as you start to try making now easy, you start to see that all of life can indeed be easy.
What if I could enjoy this?
What if this could be easy?
So that is my job.
To wake up every single part of myself to the fact that I choose every part of my life, and I can choose differently any time I like.
I choose to be free. I choose to make it easy. I choose not to stress and struggle and suffer. Because I’ve had far enough of that already.
Because then I can then live the life I’m supposed to: being the very best version of me. And that is my calling, my why – that is what is truly important to me. Everything else comes from that one place.
Choose to make it easy.
And why not?
What have you got to lose, except suffering, stress, and struggle?