If asked what one thing contributed most to my recovery the first time around, I would answer achieving an attitude of relaxed effortlessness in all that I did. There are some pretty major blocks to relaxed effortlessness such as anxiety, stress and anger, but once any such issues are worked through relaxed effortless becomes a matter of day to day practise.
However, even with practise and intention there are certain things that tend to get in my way. The following minor obstacles are things that I look out for so that I may catch myself early if my easy going manner is mislaid.
The cold can be an enemy to relaxation as the body will curl up and tense muscles to try to conserve and generate heat. If I’m not dressed warmly enough when I go outside I find myself automatically walking faster than my usual relaxed pace, faster than I should if I’m trying to avoid effort. Similarly when I’m sitting still (especially if I’m distracted by working on my laptop) I can find that I’ve got too cold and have started to tense up and hunch my shoulders. By making sure I’m dressed warmly enough for the room and taking regular breaks to move around a bit I am more likely to be able to keep myself relaxed.
It’s incredibly hard to rush without becoming forceful and tense. I find that even if I am late, if I can shake off my sense of urgency, moving at a relaxed effortless pace tends to get me there just as quickly. My main strategy for tackling this issue is to aim to give myself plenty of time for everything so that I never have to rush. Tackling a sense of urgency is harder because first you have to notice it, then you have to challenge it with the trust that being chilled out will be just as efficient. One you’ve tested this theory out regularly it becomes easier but I generally prefer to get up earlier and not to have to rush.
The completion compulsion
This is probably one of my biggest challenges: my compulsion to complete a task when I’m getting near the end. Sometimes I might just want to complete a part of a task at a particular stage because it seems a neat way of doing it, rather than allowing my energy levels to dictate how much I do and when I stop. When I’m getting tired and need a break, attempting to finish something will often result in my pushing myself; in my having to make an effort and in losing my sense of relaxation. Achieving relaxed effortlessness involves being aware of when you are becoming tired, paying attention to the cues and acting on them regardless of how close you are to finishing what you are doing.
Once we are aware of the obstacles to our goal we have the ability to find ways around them: to plan strategies or develop new skill. The obstacles that are the hardest to tackle are the ones that we are unaware of. What gets in the way of you approaching life with an attitude of relaxed effortlessness?
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