Easy Mode

Sometimes my back pain makes it not fun to stand, and sometimes it makes it not fun to sit, and right now (let “right now” = the past couple weeks), sitting is the miserable one.

And so I pace, or find things I can do either standing or reclining that are enjoyable or that pass the time.

I found myself increasingly frustrated by the limitations of pain (a very legitimate frustration, and also the very definition of It Is What It Motherfucking Is), but lately I have been trying to focus on a different approach.

Let’s Do This Day In EASY MODE.

Like in a game

Like in a game.

Why am I doing things on any other mode? Who am I trying to impress?

Easy mode

Easy mode can look like:

  • five minutes of low impact kitchen jogging instead of thirty
  • knees to chest instead of yoga
  • or: what does yoga look & feel like if I only do standing or reclining poses
  • a meal that has three or fewer steps
  • what can be done later?
  • what is a symbolic way of doing this?
  • what does 10% effort look or feel like?

As my dance teacher used to say, DO LESS TO GET MORE.

How can I apply that here?

What is even easier than that?

What is easy?

What is even easier than that?

What is the path of MORE EASE?

Where am I complicating, adding steps that are not needed, or expecting too much of myself?

What happens when I do even less?

An exploration, taken slowly

This is a new form of investigation for me, trying to make room for my frustration, practice acknowledgment & legitimacy, and also turn my attention towards Less & Slowness, towards being deliberate and selective.



I talked to my doctor about PEM (Post-Exertional Malaise), the medical term for this thing where I do literally anything, and then have to spend days and days recovering from whatever it is I did.

That is not related to the back pain, but both PEM and the back pain are fun aspects of Long Covid that I really was not able to grasp just how much they would impact my life, until I found myself regularly saying things like “well, guess today isn’t a standing day”, or “yeah, I did laundry yesterday so now I need to do nothing for a week”.

Anyway, I was telling this doctor about how I have tried all the suggestions and hate them. Either they don’t work for me, or don’t apply to my situation, or they just make me feel worse.

And my doctor said, okay, new suggestion: ignore all the suggestions. Reduce things that are effortful, to the extent that you can. Make your life easier. Choose ease where you can.

What does it mean to play the day in EASY MODE

Obviously there is an element of monsters (self-criticism voices, internalized cultural expectations).

Obviously there is real-life stress (things do have to get done, I live alone, there is no one else who can get groceries or wash dishes).

And, at the same time, if we ask the ultimate clarifying question, what’s true and what’s also true, playing on any other mode is not working.

Playing on EASY MODE is a form of generosity, permission, compassion, love.

So that’s what I’m practicing right now. More on what I learn and notice later. In the meantime you are welcome to practice with me.

ANNOUNCEMENT! The Brautigan Wing returns!

In October of 2013 (nearly ten years ago somehow), I put out a 77 page ebook called The Brautigan Wing.

My description at the time: a museum of small and big realizations.

In this book, I imagined building a museum exhibit about my mind, based on found post-it notes, with commentary about what the poet (me) may or may not have intended. Maybe there are some good clues for you, or maybe you’ll be inspired to turn your pile of notes into your own exhibit.

Anyway, if you feel moved to give any sum of Appreciation Money to Barrington’s Discretionary Fund, I’ll email you a link to the ebook! I don’t check email every day, but it will happen soon.

Notes! If you recently bought a product or sent Appreciation Money to Barrington’s Discretionary Fund and are thinking, “Ohhh actually I wish I’d known about this because I want to read this!”, just email me (use my first name aka Havi @ this website aka fluent self dot com!) with the subject Brautigan. You don’t have to say anything else unless you want to, I will just send it to you!

Come play with me, I love company

You are welcome to play with any of the concepts here in any way you like. Come play in the comments!

We are experimenting with experimenting, all experiments are useful experiments! How do you want to play on EASY MODE? What wishes or themes are you playing with? What would help? As always, People Vary.

And of course you’re invited to share anything sparked for you while reading, or add any wishes into the pot, into the healing the power of the collective is no small thing, and companionship helps.

Here’s to locating the supportive rituals, playful experiments & loving compassion we need.

A request

If you received clues or perspective or want to send appreciation for the writing and work/play we do here, I appreciate it tremendously. Working on some stuff to offer this coming year, but between traumatic brain injury recovery & Long Covid, slow going.

I am accepting support (with joy & gratitude) in the form of Appreciation Money to Barrington’s Discretionary Fund. Asking is not where my strength resides but Brave & Stalwart is the theme these days, and pattern-rewriting is the work, it all helps with fixing the many broken things.

Or you can buy a copy of the my Monster Manual & Coloring Book if you don’t have it!

And if those aren’t options, I get it, you can light a candle for support (or light one in your mind!), share one of my posts with someone who loves words, tell people about these techniques, approaches and themes, send them here, it all helps, it’s all welcome, and I appreciate it and you so much. ❤️

The Fluent Self