‘Life is hard’, we are told. ‘I like to work hard, play hard’ we proudly declare. ‘Nothing great was ever achieved without hard work’ is something I’ve been told by everyone from teachers to postcards. But what’s so great about ‘hard’? What’s our obsession with the demanding, difficult, tiring nature of ‘hard’?
Life really shouldn’t be hard. Our bodies pretty much take care of themselves, we’ve got to help them out but they breathe, pump and regenerate without us having to tell them to do so.
The Earth is (or should I say was) a naturally abundant place. When you sit back and look at the majesty of the Earth it leaves you speechless. Sunsets, mountains, trees, seas, rainbows, blossom, breezes; the Earth can delight and tickle the senses like no other. If we just left the Earth to its own devices and stopped trying to impose our hard logic on its soft wildness, I’m pretty sure the Earth would take care of us too.
Even Spirituality doesn’t need to be done in a ‘hard’ way. My greatest desire is experience life with as few filters as possible. To move, laugh and cry spontaneously without judgment or expectation, and that can only happen by being soft and allowing myself to be vulnerable.
Being soft and gentle is one of the greatest gifts we can give to ourselves. This doesn’t mean being wimpy and passive, there is definitely a strength that comes with softness, with vulnerability, with allowing yourself to open.
One of my favorite things ever is seeing men with babies. Nothing makes my knees melt and my ovaries jump like seeing a man lovingly holding his child. There’s a tenderness and truth that comes with this that I think is both irresistible and heartwarming. A gentle strength that is far more powerful than loud shouting or fighting.
It’s great testament to man’s ability to deceive and believe, that we think that life is, and should be, hard. If something is easy we don’t feel like we’ve achieved anything. If an opportunity just lands in our laps we think we don’t deserve it, or conversely that it’s not worth anything.
But as the Great Bear Baloo said, ‘you’re trying too hard’. There’s skill and effort involved with living an effortless life. I often work with children and was surprised to notice that I sometimes leave feeling that the day’s been too easy, or that I didn’t work hard enough. Then I realized I’d gotten better at working with kids, and therefore didn’t need to work hard, and that I could enjoy this ease rather than trying to find more ways to make my life hard.
When something is right for you, it’s easy. When it’s too hard, it’s worth taking a step back and looking at why. It’s not necessarily that it’s the wrong path or opportunity, but at least one piece in the puzzle is out of place.
I think that if we could change our expectation of life being hard and difficult to being soft and easy, we’d be so much happier. Difficulties would be an aberration that showed that we had an issue to look at, rather than the norm.
We’d live the lives that we truly want, not the lives that come with grinding our knuckles to the ground. We still might do a lot of work, but it wouldn’t be hard. A singer who loves singing and sings for 10 hours a day doesn’t feel like they’re working hard, they’re just doing what they love. For one who hates singing, 2 hours of singing is going to feel hard and difficult.
Let’s soften up, let’s let the strength, power and wisdom that comes with that softness have a chance to be in the driving seat. Because I don’t know about you, but working hard certainly isn’t getting me anywhere.