Is this the opposite of ease?


It’s Saturday morning, 6:24.  I’ve been up since 5:00.  Woke up and just could not go back to sleep.  Matt got home very late from a trip and so he’s sleeping.  Whit just got up and despite my entreaties that he go back to bed, he’s sitting at his desk, down the hall from mine, working on homework.  Grace will probably sleep until we wake her up (see: teenager).

We had the most wonderful dinner with my parents, aunt and uncle, and beloved favorite cousin and her fiance last night.  Grace and Whit adore my aunt and uncle, who came to the Galapagos with us, and my cousin and her fiance.  It was a lovely, lovely evening and I left feeling replete with love and family.  Family was running through my veins, you could say.

We were all up late.  I expected that we’d sleep in this morning.  Instead, I found myself lying in bed at 5am, wide awake, my head racing through various topics big and small.  It occurred to me that this – this behavior, this place of being, this racing mind early in the morning – might be the opposite of ease. It’s ironic that I chose ease as my word of the year when 2016, so far, doesn’t feel like it’s full of ease.  Maybe it’s not ironic at all, of course. Maybe it’s precisely right.  Maybe some deep part of me knew that this would be a year of transition and in-between-ness, and that I needed to remember the value of ease as I journeyed through it.

When I think of ease, the words that come to mind are relaxed, calm, comfortable.  The only one of those I feel right now is calm. In the midst of right now’s shifting sands, in all the uncertainty that occludes every day, in the fog of the not-knowing that permeates every day, I feel calm.  I can feel my breath entering and leaving my chest.  I can close my eyes and see certain images – the ocean at my parents’ house south of Boston, the flickering of candles in Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the setting sun from the tower at our nearby cemetery that I love – to which I return, over and over.

Maybe this is ease.  This allowing, this honoring, this breathing, this listening.  This being here.  That’s all I can do, today and, really, every day.  I haven’t written much about this year’s word of the year, though I think about it a lot. Maybe it’s taking root in my soul and in my cells in some kind of quiet, slow way.  As ease does, right?

The ocean. The candles. The sunset.

Breathe in.  Breathe out.

I can hear Whit typing away.  I can see the texture of the light changing on my tree, outside my window, as the sun comes up.  Here comes another day.  What an outrageous, incandescent blessing that is, isn’t it?  I have never lost sight of that.  I hope I never do.

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  1. Posted April 18, 2016 at 4:46 am | Permalink

    Wise: “Maybe some deep part of me knew that this would be a year of transition and in-between-ness, and that I needed to remember the value of ease as I journeyed through it.”

    I think that’s probably true. My word was “push” and I’ve needed to remember it many times.

    admin Reply:

    I didn’t really realize I felt that until I wrote it, which is the way things often work for me! xox

  2. Posted April 18, 2016 at 5:07 am | Permalink

    Beautiful, so now I’m thinking that perhaps next year, I will pick “ease” as my word of the year. I chose “unmoored,” and so far…it’s not calm!

    admin Reply:

    Unmoored would definitely apply to my year so far, too! xox

  3. Posted April 18, 2016 at 5:19 am | Permalink

    I admire your ability to keep calm and to breathe despite the chaos and unknown swirling around you. I hope someday I can separate the two – I love the thought of one day being able to do what I so often suggest and strive for, yet struggle to put into practice: to float instead of fight.

    admin Reply:

    Perfect way of thinking about it: floating instead of fighting. xoxo

  4. Posted April 18, 2016 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    “In the midst of right now’s shifting sands, in all the uncertainty that occludes every day, in the fog of the not-knowing that permeates every day, I feel calm.” This, Lindsey, sounds like the true meaning of ease. Maybe ease is sometimes comfortable and relaxed, and maybe sometimes calm is the closest you can get.

    admin Reply:

    I hope you are right. xox

  5. Posted April 18, 2016 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    Oh my, so much yes. I do think we can’t expect or force ease, but we can try to create a center of calm amidst the chaos. Sounds like you are creating that. What a lovely image of your morning at the end. xoxo

    admin Reply:

    I’m trying. That’s all I can say! xox

  6. Nadine
    Posted April 18, 2016 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    Being calm in the face of life’s transition is so much more than I usually manage to be. I admire you for it. My word is breathe, and maybe it’ll get me closer to that point!
    It’s the little things that anchor us. Your blog actually is one of them, probably for quite a few of us! Have good start to your week.

    admin Reply:

    That’s such an incredibly generous thing to say – thank you, thank you. xox

  7. Posted April 18, 2016 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    I hear this. I chose “gumption” for this year and I haven’t written too much about it, but it’s there, constantly. And I think you’re right: this honoring, this being here, is a deep soul-level kind of ease. xo

  8. Posted April 18, 2016 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    As I read this, slow but steady as tide, ease was what rose and breathed in me. Thank you, Lindsey.

  9. Posted April 19, 2016 at 6:13 am | Permalink

    It’s 2 am here so I know what you are talking about … But I’m happy to be awake to catch up on your blog.

    You were so wise to choose the word “ease”. And your beautiful writing feels like you ARE living with ease. I can see all of the unclnching and unfurling and breathing. Xoxo

  10. Posted April 19, 2016 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    I definitely think my word is often the opposite of how I’m feeling. For me, it’s best when it works out this way, as a one word mantra is so much easier to recall and chant when needed. Ease is a great word to describe this blog. I come here to be put at ease when my world is spinning, so thank you for doing that for me yet again today. xoxo

    (Aside: Maybe it’s because I’m ENFP, but I’ve embraced the fact that I need a word every season instead of once a year. Exhale was a great word for me in January, but thanks to Beyonce I’ve adopted ‘Slay’ as my new word to take me into summer. We’re selling yet another house (UGH), and I’m gearing up for more school at age 36, so I need all the help I can get to pump myself up.)