Miracle of Ease sounds like a digestive aid, a joint cream, or a low-impact exercise dance requiring a broomstick skirt. However, the miracle of ease I’m about to describe is a phenomenon in which a new door swings open before you, and the moment you step over the threshold people, funding and resources await you.
I experienced a miracle of ease when I founded Listen To Your Mother. The show came together in a matter of weeks, a venue became available for minimal up-front costs, the talent came in droves, and the audience and press followed suit. I brought LTYM into the world and shaped its fundamental components, but a mighty miracle of ease took over thanks to many capable hands, brilliant minds, and generous connections coming together seemingly effortlessly to catapult LTYM to national stardom. It happened easily quickly and breathlessly when LTYM first took-off. I could hardly keep up, and described it as my legs running miles ahead of my torso. Had this moment of ease–this miracle– not occurred, you can bet LTYM would’ve remained local, comfortably safe, and small.
Mind you, “ease” doesn’t mean easy. Sometimes getting to the door of opportunity requires hours or years of work, plus conquering fears, naysayers and any manner of obstacles. These rare auspicious moments of synchronicity I call “ease” often require personal sacrifice, tough decisions, and demand stretching far beyond our comfort zones to new, foreign and often intimidating terrain.
Ease sometimes reminds me of the effortless chemistry of two people falling in love, or even the early weeks of parenting when you can coast on pure adrenaline, before the darkness of sleep-deprivation takes a toll. Ease comes from a force greater than you, and relies on the many helping hands and offerings of others; like the family and friends stocking your fridge and your layette. With each tiny moment of burgeoning self-efficacy (diapering! feeding! figuring out that rocking thing to stop 5 minutes of crying!) comes a feeling of new mastery YOU TOTALLY MAYBE HAVE THIS INFANT THING KINDA HANDLED and believe you can and will function on 90 minute increments of sleep indefinitely. Then five weeks later you crash and have to figure out the hard work of sustaining a new being. But for a brief moment you soared. Ease is fleeting and it’s supposed to be.
Ease is a friendly cloud lifting you to your next video game level, giving you a reprieve from your rote trajectory under barrels and over fireballs; boosting you to a higher plane. Yes, that level will eventually present its own obstacles and setbacks, but that’s the life cycle of personal and professional development.
Right now I’m watching ease happen for a couple different people in my life, and it leaves me awestruck to watch stars align–even when they aren’t my stars. My sister and her family recently moved across the country for her new job. They sold their house the week it listed, and found a house in the very competitive Seattle market the following week. Her husband dreamed of returning to the mountains and felt ready to leave his position of many years, and their 16 year old welcomed the idea of a fresh start. The move includes a lot of labor and stress, but all with the clarity of meant to be and the ease of watching resources and opportunities line up with uncanny timing and abundance.
An online friend of mine who recently completed some award-winning research is being actively recruited for positions that will take her career into the stratosphere, even though she wasn’t even considering leaving her current position. With each interview and application and step in the process it seems so obvious to me that the universe (God, energy, #Convfefe) is leading her into an exciting new chapter. She didn’t even want to do this award-winning research. She planned to take a safe route, and yet she found herself following the more intimidating path with relative ease. Meant to be. Miraculous, really.
Writer Nancy Davis Kho decided to turn her blog and manuscript Midlife Mixtape into a podcast. 2000 downloads later–and with inquiries from literary agents as a result–she continues to find fascinating industry leaders in business entertainment and technology for her guests. Her interviews of these GenEx thought-leaders thriving in midlife are combined with hilarious anecdotes about the music that underscored their journey along the way, and advice for their younger selves. I keep texting and emailing Nancy because seeing this project unfold with such success, I feel like I’m witnessing one of her magical moments of ease, made even sweeter by years of work and investment blogging, freelance writing, attending live music religiously, networking across social media, and shopping a manuscript, only to pay off in an unexpected and delightful iteration that combines all of those elements.
I feel ready for a period of ease. However, ease isn’t necessarily something you can aim for, nor can you inhabit ease forever. The trick lies in noticing when it happens, and maybe–especially when it doesn’t happen. Consider family road trips; you have to plan it and pack the car–often you hit horrendous traffic and someone pukes and everyone fights the whole time, it rains and you cut your trip short only to return home relieved and happy to see your own bed. I can think of several of my pursuits (TV shows! Manuscripts! Going sugar-free!) that began with energy and potential only to falter one way or another and bring me back home to start again–regardless of how I fought for them. Other times you make every green light and fly unobstructed across miles of landscape. Someone still pukes but magically you have a plastic bag at the ready. Your kid decides he’s had enough screens and even initiates a conversation. The weather stays sunny and mild, and perhaps a new family tradition is even born. LTYM was that kind of trip–remarkable ease, great company, incredible views– and enough arms and bags to catch the puke along the way.
You can’t chase ease, but you can decide to consciously do the opposite–to stop forcing outcomes. That’s where I am. I’m working on a project I enjoy–completely offline. If it becomes my next thing I will be thrilled. If it doesn’t, I will keep my eyes open for that next cloud– ease–so I can notice where it is, hop on, and rise.