I have been thinking about this phrase a lot lately.
How do we know when we’ve chosen the path of least resistance?
And why are we often attracted to the path that is most challenging?
For a while now, I have been calling it the “easy” path, or asking myself “what’s the easy way?” but I think we (culturally) have a bias against things we call easy. We think they are inauthentic or somehow not as meaningful.
Take my jewelry business for instance. Over five years ago, I was working hard on my painting career. I wanted to be a famous painter! and I painted my heart out, made slides of my work, did the gallery hustle, and was constantly disappointed and rejected. Even when there were victories and my work was selling in galleries, I was emotionally attached to my pieces and felt strange about selling them for dollars. The thrill of selling work would be quickly replaced by the disappointment of the piece being gone and the prospect of courting new clients.
It all felt so hard.
When I started making necklaces it was originally just for me. I had been looking for a vintage necklace that was chunky and funky and looked like something my mom would have worn (with knee high go-go boots) in the 60’s. Nothing I found in thrift stores was quite what I had in mind, so I made the necklace myself using vintage beads.
Friends started requesting them. Then friends of friends. Then strangers began stopping me on the street asking where they could get a necklace like mine. I started carrying inventory with me and selling them off my neck. It was so much fun! I wasn’t attached, I shared them freely and I could make them over and over again and never get bored. My love of color that guided my painting also guided me here.
It was easy! And when I say easy I don’t mean without challenges, I mean, with ease, full of ease, easy like Sunday morning. I didn’t know creativity could be that way. I didn’t know it could be fun, and simple and flow so well.
It was the path of least resistance.
I thought for a long time that to be a “real” artist, I had to be a painter. I resisted the identity of jewelry artist because I had some bias about it. Luckily, my resistance didn’t last too long.
Something I have learned over and over again is that for me, the right path is actually full of ease. There is a flow to it, a grace, and it doesn’t feel so complicated. My mom told me once, after a terrible breakup, “Honey, when you find the right person it won’t feel this complicated. You’ll just know it’s right. There will be challenges, but it won’t be this dramatic.”
Can you think back to a time when things were flowing? When things were full of ease and grace?
Looking back at the last couple of years of my life, there are things that have been very challenging and honestly, I haven’t known what the easy path was. Frankly, none of it has felt easy. But I’m starting to see that the path I have been resisting the most has become, in the end, the path of least resistance.
Where have you been stubborn and unwilling to go? Where are things flowing and where are they not? What is your path of least resistance?