I think we try too much. Too hard, too often, too much. We even try to relax. The word “trying” conjures up a certain picture for me which feels very different from things like ease, strength, simplicity, clarity, power and focus. Do you ever notice that sometimes “trying” can feel like heavy, endless effort…because if you are still trying to do something then you obviously haven’t succeeded?
I want us all to try less. And live more. And breathe more.
I think kids and animals do this really well. Instead of “trying” they are eitherdoingsomething—with commitment, passion, intensity and often humor, or they arenotdoing—such as basking in a sunny afternoon nap, or sleeping peacefully through the night. Either way, they are doing what they are doing – fully.
When I say I want us to try less it can sound like I am promoting non-productive, “lazy” or irresponsible behaviors. The opposite is true really. One of my favorite things is knowing with certainty that every one of us, no matter our age or experience, is continually being called to live a life of great purpose, and that when we do we make beautiful, positive changes for our world. For that to happen we have to have our physical, emotional and spiritual “tanks” full. We need to feel a sense of buoyancy and resiliency; we need to have our inner convictions primed and ready for action and non-action.
But when we are always “trying” so hard, with almost everything in our life, it can squish us up until we feel exhausted on every level. When that happens we don’t have access to what we really need for action: passion, strength and intensity; nor do we have access to what allows for true non-action: peace, stillness, clarity. And of course, it is both sides that we need in order to live radiantly, truly as our highest and best. We need the power and strength of fully doing and the relaxation and ease of fully notdoing. “Trying” puts us right in the middle where we don’t have access to either side: the effort needed for meaningful action or the enjoyment of surrender and respite.
This week your provocation is the “Art of Trying Less.” Try less to get the entire To-Do List finished; try less to be all things to all people; try less to do too much with too little time and energy; try less to cover your own greatness in order for others to be more comfortable around you. When you feel yourself using an effort that is draining you instead of empowering you, stop for a moment. Imagine that you can breathe slowly in and out through your heart. Do it until any feeling of “trying,” of tightness, stagnancy, pressure, littleness, or tiredness begins to melt away. Then decide from the truest part of you if it is time for full, committed, decisive effort and action; or if it is time for true, happy basking, release and respite. Choose one side or the other. Choose simply. Choose without guilt. Choose other than “trying.” I think it was Yoda on Stars Wars who said, “Try? There is no try. You either do or you don’t do.”
And as you choose this week keep remembering how beautiful and good you and your life are, no matter your current circumstances.