I have been thinking a lot this week about the dualities that we experience in our human lives. New clients often come to coaching with a confusion about how to be both intentional and accepting at the same time. They have a desire to be in action and to achieve their goals but they also want to be able to flow with life and have a sense of peace when things don’t go the way they hoped.

I have found that a graceful dance between effort and ease is one of the keys to personal fulfillment. 

Sure, that is easy to write prettily in a blog post, but how do we actually live in this delicate place? To start, it is important to listen to your inner dialogue about what you want. It often sounds or feels like an inner conflict: one part of you wants to work towards accomplishing your goal and another part is hesitant or doubting.

When you listen deeply to the different “you voices” inside, you can hear their motivations, concerns and opinions. Even when the voice sounds or feels negative, at the core, this part of you is still just lobbying for your well being. Make peace with the voices you have been pushing away or ignoring because they actually have something important to share with you.

And whenever you are stuck around realizing an aspiration, you can bet that there is a conflict between effort and ease.

After you listen deeply and have clarity about the differing voices inside, it is time to dance! You see, you can’t just effort your way towards your objective (and still feel healthy and sane) and you can’t sink back in ease and wait for it to find you either. These two partners need to work together.

There are times when the right choice is action and momentum and there are times for ease and acceptance. When you are mindfully listening to your own inner wisdom, you will dance with both. If you aren’t paying attention, you will be ruled by the seeming conflict between them.


By hellokathie, shared via flickr


Your grief for what you’ve lost lifts a mirror
up to where you are bravely working.

Expecting the worst, you look, and instead,
here’s the joyful face you’ve been wanting to see.

Your hand opens and closes and opens and closes.
If it were always a fist or always stretched open,
you would be paralyzed.

Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding,
the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated
as birdwings.

-Rumi (translated by Coleman Barks)