I stink at vacations. I can’t sit still. I can’t relax. Frankly, there is very little room for “ease” in my life. It is an area I really need to work on, just ask my wife, my ex, my parents, my children, whomever. If you want to go on vacation with me, be prepared to be busy, and be busy for busy sake. Even when I go to a museum or on a tour. I’ve got to do and learn everything, I don’t want to waste what might be my last chance to learn something unique… even if I forget much of what I saw the next week when I’m busy being busy about something else.
Interestingly, last January I had my brain mapped and then in May I did some brain training. This was done by a company called Senselabs, who currently optimizes the brain performance of olympic and professional athletes by helping them get into and maintain a “flow state” while performing.
Proudly, while reviewing my results, the neurologist noted that I was one of ten “athletes” out of a thousand that had not made a mistake while scoring, i.e. I pushed the button when I should have and didn’t when I shouldn’t have. I mumbled something about the years of training as a fighter pilot, yada, yada, yada. Then he said “that isn’t necessarily good…” Whoa….. What?
He said it was obvious that I came from a job that making mistakes was highly devalued… yea, you know dying, get shot down, and all that!
He then noted that my responses were slower than average, and many athletes (and creative professionals) need to accept making mistakes in the process of rapid improvement and their responses were therefore MUCH faster than mine.
Then we broke out my brain map. “Look here, you have world class focus, but over here, you have very little ability to relax between actions. You are VERY intense. Therefore, your reaction speed and stress recovery are low” “If we would build a brain training program for you, we would need to teach your brain how to slow down, relax, even for micro-seconds between tasks.” He pretty much defined my world, stupid brain map!
So, recently, I attended a presentation by a Berkeley PhD (Christine Carter) who studies happiness and children. I’ll get into her insights in another blog, but one of the three critical aspects of the happiness “sweet spot” is around “ease.” The other two are “grit” and “connection.”
So my dilemma is living a life of “dis-ease”. Meaning I have a problem finding ease in my life. Many chronic disease are long-term stress responses which create long-term inflammatory conditions caused by disease, like heart disease, cancer, alcoholism, etc… When we continue to abuse our bodies with stress, we risk long term stress responses. Providing “ease” (to our bodies, our brain, our heart, etc) is really really important to our health AND happiness.
OK, yes I’m hypocritically writing this while sitting at the pool on vacation. So, to take my words to heart, I’m now putting down he computer and I’m going to do my best to “ease” into “EASE”… My wish for you is to find those moments of ease in your lives even if it is in those micro-moments between activities.
Blessings – Pierre