+ stress relax Nov 10 Muse 10039141_s“At-ten- shun!!!” The soldier snaps to full height, shoulders back, eyes forward, fully alert. Later, he’s told, “At ease, soldier.” With a sigh of relief, his posture softens, his gaze relaxes, his whole being is less vigilant. This is the contrast of alertness and ease. Attention is focus, intense concentration, full alertness. Ease is calm, relaxed, less effortful.

With a slight change of spelling, the word, attention, is “at-tension.” Attention seems to carry an element of tension. Tension is not always a bad thing. The strings of a violin, for example, need to be at a certain level of tension in order to be in tune. There can be tension in a roomful of people waiting for the guest of honor to appear at the surprise birthday party. But tension is not meant to be held continuously.

Attention/ease is a rhythm that our bodies and minds require. We need to be able to be fully present and alert for many things in our lives. But, too often, we ignore the other end of the spectrum, staying locked in an emotionally and physically exhausting mode of hyper-focus. Our adrenal glands, the body’s regulators of “high alert,” are on call so continuously that they become overworked. The results are stress, anxiety, and worry – all code words for fear, in my opinion.

Stress, anxiety, and worry are habitual energies that, for me, are no longer compatible with the spiritual principles by which I try to live my life. I don’t want to be in fear anymore! I don’t believe in living in fear! I want to live and be in my life with ease.

Years ago, when I was being treated by a homeopath, I remember half-jokingly asking him if my remedy was going to make all my problems vanish. Maybe if my problems went away, I’d stop being fearful and stressed! After chuckling with me, he got serious and explained that no remedy was going to act like valium in my life, taking away the feelings of pain or discomfort. “Things will still show up.” he said, “The question will be; how will you respond to what shows up?”

How I respond in my life does ultimately come back to me, to my habitual ways of being. I have worked to heal and transform old, stored fears, worries, and the patterns that created them. It has taken some work and time, but gradually, through attention (gently held, not like a soldier in the sometimes war of my life!), and practice, the patterns of worry/fear/tension are changing. These days, I set the intention to live “with ease and effortlessness.” There has been some improvement, and I’ve noticed three things that have helped me:

  1. Staying in the present while being respectful of the future.

Being here, now, is a practice that reminds me that, today, all is well – or well enough. I am healthy, functioning pretty well in my life, and have many blessings. Along with the present, I am aware of my long-range intentions and goals. Not wanting to ignore this aspect of the future, I ask Source to help me stay mindful of planning and actions I might take. This way, I’m both in the present and holding the future with thought and respect, but not with worry.

  1. Letting go of the drama.

Drama is a pattern/energy that has permeated my life. Being a little outraged about something, feeling indignant, hurt, afraid – all of this, quite frankly, is a little more interesting at times than the real level of emotion I’m actually experiencing. I’ve also noticed that a slightly elevated dramatic level makes a better story when I’m telling my friends about it! But I’ve discovered that the intensified level of emotion is also exhausting and usually based more in fear than in trust, and more in the imagined future than in the present. By listening to the real level of my feeling and naming it, I’ve been amazed at how much less tiring it is to deal with the situation and how much closer I am to ease.

  1. Repeat the mantra: “Ease”


Cultivating ease is like cultivating any new awareness – it takes practice. Repeating the word ease as a mantra brings a sense of release (the word, ease is part of the word release) and expansiveness. My breath slows a little, gets deeper, my body gently relaxes. A little smile comes to my mouth, and my eyes soften. My mood lifts a bit. In ease, I feel happier and lighter. “Ease, ease, ease…” Try this mantra.

I associate ease with effortlessness, grace, facility. The dictionary, however, offered a new word in its definition that reappeared in all four entries and captured the essence of ease:


Ease: 1. The condition of being without discomfort; freedom from pain, worry, or agitation. 2. Freedom from constraining, embarrassment, or awkwardness; poise; naturalness. 3. Freedom from difficulty, hard work, or great effort; facility. 4.Freedom from financial difficulty.


Pretty noticeable, isn’t it? Ease is freedom! This is what I want to permeate my life – and yours – freedom. So, “At ease, soldier!” Be at ease, be in freedom. And, please let me know how it goes…

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