Nathalie Kelley

Do Easy

One of the most profound lessons I have learned from my time with Aleph and his stepdad Walter, a master carver and an exceptional human being, is the idea of DE or DO EASY.

For a while it was as if every day I was losing my phone, leaving my passport at home while trying to cross the border TWICE (I’m not even kidding about this), breaking my electronics, spilling tea on my clothes etc etc. I had just resigned myself to the
fact that I was going to be clumsy and forgetful forever.

Observing my space-cadet tendencies Aleph turned me onto the concept of Do Easy, a practice he lives by and a mindset essential when doing precise, meditative work like carving. In the short film below by Gus Van Sant, taken from a story by William Burroughs, the narrator outlines the main principles of DE:

“DE is a way of doing. It is a way of doing everything you do. DE simply means doing whatever you do in the easiest most relaxed way you can manage which is also the quickest and most efficient way, as you will find as you advance in DE”

Much like the practice of mindfulness, DE asks you to be present with even the most mundane tasks, turning them into daily meditations. So now its confession time: I have a problem with closing things. I can never be bothered to close lids, bags – even changing room doors! My passport literally fell out of my bag the other month because I didn’t mindfully close my bag as I rushed out of the house. Applying DE to my life in these small, practical ways has had a radical effect on my entire way of being. I now savor the moment that I close my thermos and no longer find that my tea has leaked all over my pants! Guys, this is revolutionizing my life! On a more profound level, I find that I am staying present and in my body more often, even when the task before me is mundane or stressful . Whether I am on set waiting for the next shot or washing dishes on Orcas or rushing (mindfully) for the ferry.

Walter, Aleph’s stepdad is the walking embodiment of DE. His every word and move are so carefully executed, he is living breathing zen! So grateful on this Thanksgiving day for my new teachers, the carving shed and DE. And here’s to a new era in my life of closed lids and passports that stay safe in my zipped up bags!

See more of Alephs work here:








Pictures by Ben Lindbloom and Connie Aramaki

  • Amy Raupach

    Thank you for sharing not only Aleph but what he does and how he does it. I’ve looked at his photos and videos to see how he works and am entranced by the use of the hand tools, the time and movement and thoughtfulness used to create the beautiful things that he does. How wonderful it is for you to experience first hand that which he has to offer and embody it in yourself. I find myself doing the same with a gentle guidance of a sweet soul. See it in myself and know that I am in it.
    Many blessings.

    • Nat Kelley

      What a sweet and touching message. Thank you sister. If you ever find yourself on beautiful Orcas Island, Aleph and his father offer free carving classes on Sunday. Hope to see you there in the near future, in the meantime, beaming you blessings from down-under. xx Nat

  • MaCarla

    Thank you sharing this beautiful story and also a life lesson. I am going to try to apply this movement meditation in my daily life. Thanks a lot … Besos from Lima

    • Nat Kelley

      Besos hermana!!!! xxxxx

  • Vanessa

    This is so beautiful! And well done you, so happy for you and the blue eyed wood carver xxx

    • Nat Kelley

      Right on! Thank you! I really dig that blue eyed wood carver. :)

  • Sarah Borean

    I’m not sure why I have never wondered to this blog before, but I am overwhelmed with bliss that I am here now. I have been known to be clumsy and forgetful. Every lover I have had shakes his sweet head in disappointment when I forget the tickets to the show on my dresser or leave my wallet in the car. I always used to laugh on the outside and smile at them until they melted into my blue eyes and forgot how much of a hassle it is being with an airhead. But on the inside it would kill me. I always curse my ways and a stream of negative thoughts toward myself would fester. This is an amazing philosophy that I will begin to master this morning. You are an inspiration to so many people (lots of them in my life) Nat, and I truly appreciate you sharing your stories with the world. The small ones and the large you make a difference my sweet girl, and a big one at that.

  • James

    Thank you very much for posting Discipline of Do Easy! So profound yet simple and short, perfect embodiment of Zen movement…