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The Art of Doing Less

do less- Jessica LawlorA message that has come loud and clear into my life lately is this:

DO LESS.

It has emerged as a theme for 2015 (and I hope, beyond) in many more ways than one.

The universe works in funny ways and in the past few months, I know it has been trying to get a message across to me by subtly (and sometimes smack-yourself-in-the-face-obviously) giving me little hints.

Here are just a few of those messages:

  • As I do every year, I kicked off 2015 by choosing three words to guide the year ahead. I selected ‘choice’ as one of the words to remind myself that I’m in control of how I choose to spend my time and energy. While the phrase “do less” hadn’t yet come up, this was my first inkling that I needed to head in that direction.
  • Just a few weeks later, I implemented my reverse to-do list. I finally said to myself out loud and in writing, “Something has to give. In order to be my best self, I need to DO LESS.”
  • At a special yoga class a few weeks ago (one not at my normal studio and with a teacher I’ve never experienced before) the entire class theme was “Do less.” Over and over again, the teacher quietly reminded us, “Do less, do less.” The message resonated with me.
  • After experiencing a few months of serious, serious burnout, in my March monthly check-in, I set one of my goals for April to literally “slow down” and “do less.”
  • Last night, as part of my yoga teacher training, I had to attend a different style yoga class and I chose to try a Yin practice. The first thing out of the teacher’s mouth was “Yin is the practice of doing less.” When she said the words, I almost laughed out loud.

Hello, universe. Yes, I hear you. Loud and clear. Thank you.

Doing less isn’t always easy though.

Just this past weekend, I finally had an entire day with absolutely nothing on my schedule. Instead of feeling free and happy, I felt anxious. I felt the need to fill that void with something, anything. I resisted the urge to do that, but at the end of the day I didn’t feel very good about myself. I felt like I had “wasted” a day.

However, on the opposite end, a few weeks prior, my days were completely overscheduled to the point where I had NO free time to breathe, relax or just be. I felt awful, tense, stressed and exhausted.

Where’s the balance?

I guess that’s the challenge in life though.

Finding that balance.

In yoga teacher training, we’ve spent some time talking about yin and yang.

Fire and water. Up and down. Hot and cold. Letting go and holding on.

Complete opposites, yet they cannot exist without one another. In fact, some say that yin and yang are actually complementary.

Yin is the art of doing less and being static, while yang represents being active and “upward moving.”

We need both of these things in our lives.

We need more and we need less.

(Sometimes we just happen to overdose on the more side of things, like I’ve done this year)

The key, I think, is being happy with where you are. Finding peace in the present moment. Recognizing that sometimes you’ll have more yin in your life…and sometimes you’ll have more yang.

Sometimes you’ll need to do more. And sometimes you’ll need to do less.

So, to the universe desperately trying to send me a message: I hear you. Loud and clear. And I’m working on it.

 “All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.” -Havelock Ellis

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Meet Jessica

I live by the saying “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” and help others do the same to reach their biggest, brightest goals. Read my story here.

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