“I’m a big believer in ease. Not Easy. But ease.”
These were words coming from Sophia Da Silva Hopson. She’s a yoga teacher who I’ve known the past couple of years. When I heard her say this I was curious. They were words that nudged me to learn more about ease and reminded me of another yoga teacher who would always end her class with the phrase “may you be at ease.”
I heard Sophia’s declaration while she was being interviewed on “Quit Happens,” a podcast series that introduces its listeners to people that have experienced significant “quits” in their life. These quits include jobs, bad relationships, habits and much more.
Sophia’s quit? Her wedding.
Choosing Ease Over Easy: Living Life in the Flow
Now before your mind gets too carried away, this is not the kind of drama seen on the “The Bachelor.” At the time of making the decision, she and her fiance, Jason, still adored one another. (Spoiler alert: they still do and are now married).
But three months from saying “I do,” the two of them were completely soured on the idea of a big wedding. The process of hiring vendors, sending invitations, creating seating charts, menus and the growing cost of it all was too much. Especially since they had set out on a path to create a day that was meaningful to them and not a glorified family reunion.
The absence of ease is something that should be scrutinized.Tweet
What is the difference between “ease” and “easy?” I spoke with Sophia to dig further.
“I believe that easy denotes that there will be no challenges. Whereas ease, refers to the flow of being on an aligned path,” Sophia says. “Ease means there is a balance between the effortful and the effortlessness.”
From venue mishaps, trouble with securing certain vendors and unsettling feelings, Sophia experienced little ease during the two years she planned her wedding. As someone who has been educated in the fundamentals of yoga, she had the foresight to see this and was able to act on it.
“Yoga Sutra 2.46 teaches us the law of balance: steadiness and ease. It engenders that rhythm or balance is essential to life,” she says. “First, we need to stand firm. Then, the word, “sukha” or “sukham” refers to the ease part. The literal meaning is good space.”
Sophia says this sutra originally referred to achieving the pinnacle of the yogic path, samadhi, a state of intense concentration achieved through meditation.
“But today we can translate this off the mat and use it as a tool to live in the flow of life.”
The Hazards of Pushing Through
This has me thinking about the areas of my life that I have found difficult or situations that I have characterized as “hard.” Do I continue to push through on something because of the idea that “nothing comes easy?” Or should I consider a different alternative because there is a lack of flow, an absence of ease in these situations?
While “pushing through” is admirable, many times it’s rooted in our own egos. We won’t quit something simply to save face. But if adversity seems to show up around every corner, perhaps that is a sign to change course.
“The human ego feeds off of suffering and chaos. It seeks the approval of others, it wants to be right, it wants to compete, it wants to win,” Sophia continues. “This is the ultimate paradox of the human condition.”
How can you bring more ease into your life? Sophia suggests (of course) getting onto a yoga mat for a down dog or two. But aside from that, spend quiet and alone time with yourself (i.e., meditation). This will bring you in touch with the process of ease.
Nourishing and awakening your soul can be the great antithesis to ego.
“It can be a searing truth, but it frees you in the most exhilarating way.”
As mentioned earlier, Sophia is married to Jason. So the end of her story would have been the same had she gone through with the big celebration. But the manner in which they ultimately came together as one is the sweet story. Something that would not have happened if they allowed their egos to take over.
“Stand firm in the truth of who you are and then experience the sweetness that arises.”