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Mini Series: Choosing Ease

The second part of our mantra indicates that we can find flow by choosing a path of ease. The level of difficulty we face in our pursuit of our version of creative success is a choice. By choosing paths of ease that feel natural, with the least amount of personal resistance and pressure is going to yield more opportunity and abundance than constantly struggling against an opposing force or jumping over unnecessary obstacles. What this looks like for every creative and every discipline will be vastly different. But we all know when we feel resistance and when we feel ease. The choice is always ours.

For me in dance, ease looks like movement. If I try to count and choreograph in my mind to music by breaking it down into counts and beats and movements and then walk into the studio and throw this unrealistic, literally imagined piece at a group of dancers it never works, and then I’m stuck banging my head against the wall trying to make everything I imagined fit. But, when I sit with the music on repeat, when I move my body to it organic shapes and movements begin to emerge in patterns. I may keep coming back to a particular feeling, movement, combination, or quality. By choosing the movements that come with ease and feel natural, I am free to collaborate and create in a more efficient and successful way.

In my novel writing process I begin by writing scenes as they come to me, all jumbled up in terms of order. I’ve written the climax before the beginning, moments of character development before I’ve really got their appearance down, and I’ve fallen in love with secondary characters before really envisioning the protagonist. By writing what comes naturally, the narratives and moments that are clear and focused in my mind I am able to carve out the heart of the story instead of writing myself into corners because I chase a direction that just doesn’t speak to the characters in my head. This is why although I do believe in having a plan or general plot points you want to hit, planning to extreme leaves no room for ease, and often creates a heap of obstacles. The same can be said for embarking on this journey with absolutely no road map whatsoever, and things often drastically change and contradict to the point that you have three entirely different versions of the story all fighting to be the right one.

Choosing ease is all about following your creative intuition. You need to be willing to abandon projects, paths, and ideas that begin to create too much friction. Now, this isn’t to say that when blocks or challenges come up it’s not worth working through. Often, in these patches of friction growth and inspiration happen, making you a better creative. But if you spend months without movement, days trying to figure out a piece that seems to be actively working against you, it could be a sign that you have neglected the path of ease. We do not always need to be struggling. Sometimes the easiest choice, the simple path, the clear winner is the right winner too.

How to Choose Ease

Listen to Intuition - Creatives are in tune with their intuition in a different way than most others. We have this innate trust in the process and when we feel something isn’t right we need to be able to trust that by changing gears we are moving into a better space for development, output and exploration.

Road maps and Bullet Points - I am a big fan of a general road map, plot notes, and bullet points for goals and things to hit during a creative project. But how we get them done and the way we get there needs to leave space for growth and pivoting.

Show Up WITHOUT Expectation - Half the job of a creative is to show up and be present to actually do the thing. Doing so without expectation of a result or output allows for greater ease in the process by removing pressure. It opens the space for flexibility in the process and gives opportunity for more freedom.

Follow Your Joy - If what you are doing or how you are doing it is causing you anxiety, stress, sadness, anger, excessive frustration, it is a good indication that it is time to abandon it in favour of joy. That’s why we create in the first place, and it’s why we keep coming back to it again and again. To choose joy is to choose ease. All things we love should be joyful in the doing, even when it is hard.

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