One of the things I’ve always found incredibly easy to do is make life hard. (Well Nic Conway did and that’s another story…). It wouldn’t have crossed my mind to even imagine it could be easy.
I don’t know why, hard just seemed to come naturally to me.
Whether that be how I was going to fit the zillion things I HAD TO get done into my daily schedule, a conversation I didn’t want to have, thinking about starting a fitness regime (not even the starting, just the thinking) or even, dare I say it, writing a blog.
Everything started with an underlying belief that it was going to be hard.
I know we are all wired differently. For me though, “this is going to be hard” isn’t a motivator to get moving.
So, guess what – I’d put it off. And off and off and off.
If there had been a Master’s Degree in Procrastination I would have got a distinction. It was probably my best chance of a Doctorate. I knew every way possible to distract myself and self-sabotage.
That wasn’t worst of it though.
It was the pain that I put myself through with the guilt and angst. The hours thinking about what I wasn’t doing.
You see I didn’t even make the decision NOT to do something easy. I would let my Crazy Lady go wild with her taunts and jibes.
She had a field day.
“You’re not good enough”,
“You can’t do it anyway, you never stick to anything.”
“Don’t even try starting – it will be H.A.R.D. You might as well give up now, you always do anyway….In fact, lets go have a chocolate biscuits instead. Not too many though or you will get FAT as well”.
Like I say motivational. Not.
I’m pretty sure this self-talk isn’t only in my head. In fact, I’m making up that lots of people don’t do everything they could.
Little by little I started to see just how debilitating it could be.
That this tiny wee thought “this is going to be hard” was slowing everything down. It was helping me create a life of over-engineered systems and processes, piles of projects and papers that I’d started and never finished, a consistent feeling of unease and heaviness. And often a panic as I screeched up to things that I’d had weeks of time to prepare for.
Everywhere I looked there were things to be done and I had zero energy to do them.
I knew I had a problem when I started to put “writing my to do list” on my to do list.
In short I was in a permanent state of starting too late, never fully completing and utterly overwhelmed.
This is going to be hard had manifested itself into LIFE IS HARD.
If ever you want to grab a self-perpetuating limiting belief – this is a Big Daddy One.
As a Coach, I am obsessed in rooting these out.
The “agreements” that we make with ourselves literally become the driving force behind everything you see, believe and create. So, trust me – you want to make sure they are good ones. That they help you create the life you WANT!
One day I heard a new question. One that I honestly don’t remember hearing ever before.
WHAT IF IT WAS EASY?
Now I’m guessing I had heard it before – it was simply that Crazy Lady was probably screaming “are you for real???!” so loud in my head it never made its way through.
WHAT IF IT WAS EASY?
It hit me like a brick.
What if it was.
Who knew if it was. All I did know, was that even the thought it MIGHT possibly be easy felt way way WAAAAAAAAY better.
Lighter, smoother, more exciting, and intriguing. It was like a burden shifted.
Imagine if it was.
If it was easy, I could do so much more.
I would wake up deciding what I wanted to do than with a sense of dread, I’d look forward to diving in rather than bracing myself to even get started. I could try so much more just for the fun of it.
Oh yes, I was liking this idea. A LOT.
Even thinking it made smile.
WHAT IF IT WAS EASY?!
<Fast forward in a time machine>
Huddled in a tiny consultant’s office, my Mum in the middle, Dad and I holding her hand tightly, words pouring into the room from the Oncology Specialist.
There’s no air. There’s no breathing. There’s no hope.
I can recall the drone of her voice as The Doctor outlined The Details. Body parts. Explanations.
I can see the colour of my parents faces turn to grey.
The panic in my Mum’s eyes. Her face morphing to a child – terrified, seeking reassurance in a world where in a heartbeat none seemingly existed.
Time stopped. The scene literally freeze framed.
And then a thought: “What if THIS was easy?”
A terminal illness?
A loss of a parent?
A journey to the unknown?
What if there was even the tiniest possibility that it could be easy?
I could see the odds were stacked high on the scale of “hardness” and we were right at the top. This was Death. A thing. A nightmare.
We could try easy on most things. But this?
It HAD to be on this.
It was all we had.
What if even death could be easy?
We went home. It felt like a different lifetime driving away from the hospital than arriving just 25 minutes before.
Everything had changed. Everything. Even seeing people walking past – they had a vibrancy, a colour, a life we didn’t have.
“What is this was easy?”
I asked my parents. Andy, looked at me as if to say, “Really? You want to ask one of your mad coaching questions to your parents now?”
And I stared back at him. Resolute.
Because I knew that this was the way. The ONLY WAY.
Every other option simply meant pain, heartache, despair.
It meant wasting time we didn’t have looking for answers, reasons or justifications.
Pondering big life questions of why, who, if only, in a lifetime that we knew was going to be way shorter than any of us would ever have imagined.
What if it was easy?
We would have clarity.
They would be no room for wriggling or pretending.
We’d know the deal.
Even as our hearts were breaking I knew we could handle this, I knew even in this “dark” time there were choices. We COULD make this easy.
And that’s what we did;
Every decision, every conversation, every day we said, “how do we make this easy” and it transformed our lives.
We didn’t waste a moment. We didn’t have bonkers meetings about treatment when we knew the sand was rushing through the egg timer of life far quicker than a shot of chemotherapy poison could ever replace.
We didn’t create “big” conversations putting right things that had been said or done years ago. We just chatted and shared what came up in the moment. Recognising that everything else didn’t matter. We didn’t worry about “how long” or spend time on “if only”. We just enjoyed the now.
And oh, what a blessing that was. Because in those moments there was more love, honesty, connection and truth than I can possibly explain. We laughed, we cried, we played, we shared. And we held each other. In every way possible.
When getting into the shower presented new challenges, we made it easy. I got to wash my Momma every day. Holding her up as her body weakened. Easy.
When her skin started to change, I gently touched her with her exfoliation mitts to bring sensation to deadening cells. Easy.
Lathering her in my favourite Elizabeth Arden body lotion top to toe so she could smell me every time she moved. In our own ways defying the powerful cocktail of chemicals and cancer cells battling internally. Easy.
Booking a wonderful holiday cottage along the North-East coast – not knowing if we’d get there (we didn’t) simply choosing to enjoy the excitement of finding it. Easy.
Of course, there were moments.
Should we travel to a Centre of Excellence 20 miles away to discuss palliative care?
We kept asking – does this feel easy?
By then Mum couldn’t even get out of bed, never mind into a wheel chair, to a car, for a journey, for a conversation that didn’t have hope.
No. We’re not going. We watched a film all snuggled in bed together.
Should we ask how long we have?
Will that make it easier?
No – we’ll just become obsessed with the clock.
Then let’s not.
Should we have my tummy drained?
Will that make it easier?
No – it will build up again. It’s an over-night stay in hospital. We can tweak your meds to give you pain relief relief instead.
Great! Someone put the kettle on for the nurses.
Always. Every time. How can we make it easy?
Because that’s the thing, right?
Even when it seems like it could not possibly be true, there is always an option that makes it easier.
You sometimes need to stare a bit longer or perhaps even look at what you’re holding on to that’s making it hard.
Perfection, Control, A fixed way of looking at something. A belief that’s no longer serving you. A need to be right.
Be willing to tweak any of those and there will be a way.
We even got engaged and had a wedding blessing.
How can I make finding a wedding dress easy when I don’t want to leave my Mum and don’t they take weeks to come?
Go online to a high street store, find a style to like, order 3 sizes (one will fit) and boom – dress bought.
Easy (and oh so perfect).
How can we get married when my mum is so poorly.
We’ll have it at home round her bed.
We don’t live here, are we allowed?
Let’s ring people, share our story and see what they can do to help.
In hours we had a choice of ministers, free food, a registrar office saying do the blessing and we’ll fast track you for the legal part as soon as you’re ready.
We picked flowers from the garden.
Easy. Easy. Easy.
We got 29 days. Whoosh. And it was gone. She was gone. (Cue Crazy Lady – This bit is going TO BE HARD).
What if THIS was easy?
We took one day at a time. One step at a time. We still do.
We decided to see the funeral as a celebration rather than a goodbye. We noticed all the lovely people who came to support us. We smiled. We felt their love.
We went to a local garden centre and ate cake rather than having a solemn serious wake. Really good cake.
We’re keeping it easy.
Yes sometimes the waves of emotions flood over us. Unexpected and powerful. And in those moments we sit down and allow them to pass.
That’s the funny thing about feelings – they do pass, if we let them.
We agreed to always speak our truth to each other. To not pretend we were fine because what does fine even mean?
And in doing that we gave up need for it, this thing they call grief, to look a certain way.
We are doing it in our way.
Let me say this, I’m not saying everyone’s experience is like this. I feel blessed. We got what we got.
I am saying that even just asking; “WHAT IF THIS WAS EASY?” allows everything to open up just a wee bit more.
I’m using it every day now.
It truly is a game changer.
I’ve learnt some really cool tools too along the way; if you want to see them, just click here;
And do share yours. We can help each other make it easy. (How’s THAT for easy?).
I don’t know about you – LIFE IS EASY is my kind of life!