I don’t remember the exact conversation, but I do remember this one line from Kelly, my writing buddy:
A person needs to have ease in their life.
I remember feeling lost for a moment. I was trying to imagine…
I’m familiar with ease in clothing from my years of sewing my own clothes and taking a tailoring class in high school. But ease in life is more elusive.
And while I have been secretly longing for ease, I haven’t really defined it.
My trusty Winston Dictionary, College Edition defines ease as “1) freedom from pain, labor, or any physical discomfort. 2) quiet, tranquility, freedom from mental disturbance…” and that makes me laugh. Who in the world is free from mental disturbance?
I am tempted to think that ease means freedom from working, but that’s not really true for me. I like working. Moreover, I like the structure of working. I function better that way. So ease is more like the resting place that I have mentioned earlier. Similar, but different.
A resting place is about stopping motion. Ease is motion without struggle.
To have ease in my life is to have extra so that when a difficult day shows up, I can step away without fear of not paying the bills or not meeting the deadlines. And I can see that ease takes a strong intention. Planning ahead. Construction. I imagine I am a tailor, standing beside a bust of myself. I choose materials carefully. Knit fabrics that stretch with movement. Rayon fabrics that sway with movement. Linen fabrics that rustle. Wrinkle. Crisp.
Oh, I see. I already have crisp. Think task master. Think too tight. Think ambition. Go back to stretch. How do days like that feel? What do they look like?
Well, for starters, they don’t try to fit too much into a small space. Days with stretch have extra time on either end.
Check. I already have that ease. I get up very early so that I have personal time before I start working. I have five hours of ease! I eat a nice, leisurely breakfast, I exercise, I write, I think. Evenings have fewer hours, but they are mostly unplanned. And if I fritter that time away, that’s my choice. I can give away my ease. But now that I have named it, I feel more proprietary. That too tightness? Totally in my hands.
After all, I am the tailor.
So what do rayon days look like? What sways for me? Art is my happy movement. My sweet treat. My battery charger. This is where the intention comes in. A good tailor plans for the fabric qualities… takes advantage of it’s uniqueness. Since structure works for me, I need an art plan. Every day. Not just a plan to do art, but a plan that says which art because I can easily get lost in my many mediums. Today the plan is blogging. Tomorrow, design a new book. Check.
Now for the “extra” part. The bill paying cushion. My task master says get rid of some of that other ease. And this is where my feathers get ruffled. I want it all. I look around me and see plenty of people making sacrifices to have financial ease. They work 40 hours (or more) a week at jobs that don’t necessarily feed their souls, but do feed their bank accounts. I can’t check that box. And I see that this question is complex. I’ve been wrestling with it ever since my conversation with Kelly. I have some ease. More than most people. Is it enough? Is it possible to have more?? Now that I have asked, I want to live the question for awhile and watch what shows up.
Do you have ease in your life? Has it always been part of your plan or did you take years to figure it out? Did it (or does it) require sacrifice? Please share your insights.