On June 28, 2021 I was in the Portland airport about to return to Austin after a 10-day family RV trip through the pacific northwest.
I was standing in line at a coffee shop when I noticed a woman in her 30’s with a shaved head. But it wasn’t her shaved head that caught my attention. It was her sense of ease.
There was something about her posture, her facial expression, and her movement that exuded calm in an environment that can be stressful.
I had been seeking a sense of ease for months. I learned Transcendental Meditation and was practicing daily. I took Tiago Forte’s Building a Second Brain course, hoping that a more organized digital life would bring me closer to this sense of ease.
But something was missing. I was still seeking.
By sense of ease, I don’t mean an easy life. Life isn’t easy. There will always be difficult moments.
I wanted to cultivate a mindset that would allow me to approach life’s big challenges and small annoyances with a calm, methodical presence.
The initial feeling of stress can be useful to get our attention focused on a problem, but holding onto that stress has negative effects, both mentally and physically.
I noticed a book in the outside pocket of her backpack. Letting Go by David R. Hawkins. I looked it up on Amazon, read a few reviews, and bought it.
The back cover of the book says it offers “a practical technique by which to remove the inner blocks to happiness, love, joy, success, health, and ultimately, Enlightenment.”
This book has helped me take what I knew to be true logically, that I don’t need to hold onto negative emotions, and provided a mechanism to put that mindset into practice in the moment.
The technique is simple. I allow myself to feel the negative emotion in full. I notice where it’s at in my body. There’s no judgement and I don’t try to stop the feeling. It’s a simple act of observation with no thoughts.
As I continue to be with the feeling, it begins to dissipate. It gets lighter and lighter until it disappears.
It works every time.
And it’s accretive. The act of letting go provides immediate relief while contributing to a foundational sense of ease.
The hard part is remembering to do it in the moment.
But like everything else in life, I continue to improve with practice.