I was feeling so dang proud of myself!
In the midst of packing up my personal, creative and business life for my annual five week stay in the San Juan Islands, AND doing all the usual stuff – working with clients, laundry, eating well, answering email and keeping my groove on – Monday morning I stopped and spent several hours getting my newsletter all done so I could send it off Wednesday morning. My plan was to have it winging its way to you as I drove north in my beautifully packed car, singing happily, everything completed. Feeling great!
You know what they say about best laid plans. I had the newsletter about “perfect!” Photos done. A wonderful invitation to join in on the last of the Free Abundance calls. I deliberately hit save and walked out the door to my hair appointment feeling smug and satisfied.
Later, I sat down to put a few finishing touches on the letter – however when I pulled it back up, the version that appeared in front of me was so not what I hit save on. That last hour and 30 minutes of editing, adding the invitation to the Abundance Series and all of the photos – Gone. Vanished. Poof.
I lay my head on my desk and howled.
I felt the tight constriction of time, responsibility, too much to do comfortably and yes… perfectionism closing in on me. I thought – all that time wasted! I could have been doing – well all the OTHER vastly important and crucial things that needed doing before I walked out the door. Which translates to truly important things like packing to just about everything that I haven’t done in the last month or five and of course decide must be done before I go.
As I started to calm I asked myself if I really needed to send this newsletter out. Would the world end if I didn’t? Of course not. No one would know but me. I sighed. And then I just let it go.
Then I heard myself ask, ” Well – how is THIS working out well for me?” I started to laugh.
I felt lighter. Freer. Obviously, there was some other plan coming in that was better than my original one.
I cleared my desk. Packed a few things. Put a few more away. Did something useful.
And as I did I realized that letting go of this thing I thought I “had” to do was supporting me in letting go of other things I thought I “had” to take with me and do while away. Things I thought I needed to finish before I left. It helped me simplify and let go – drop back into the Flow. And THAT was exactly what I was writing about originally – before it all disappeared.
Below is the version that remained of what I wrote… for you and obviously for me as well.
This morning as I was driving back through town after my walk in the park I noticed I was getting impatient with all of the touristy drivers in front of and around me. I wanted them to get out of my way. To move faster. To know where they were going. I was getting aggressive and pushy. I was trying to MAKE something happen. This is when I knew I without a doubt I was pushing the River.
My shoulders were tight. My breathing was shallow. I was leaning forward.
And then I flashed on the creek.
I spend a lot of time walking along the creek in the park near my home. I have been doing it almost daily for over ten years now. The creek is one of my wisest and most patient teachers.
As I walk the creek I observe the water moving along the rocks and boulders – creating eddies, rills, cascades, and pools. I take in the way it never ceases to keep moving downstream – in the direction of least resistance. Following the quickest most natural way forward.
I notice how it widens and rises when the flow is full in spring snow melt. How it adjusts and lowers in the summer warmth. It adjusts easily to whatever is needed. Appropriate.
It does not protest. It simply keeps flowing along.
The creek – the element of Water – helps me understand Flow.
Flow is a decidedly feminine quality. It is soft, yet also immensely powerful. Flow is not linear. It does not move in straight lines – ticking off one thing after another in strict order on a “To do” list. It ebbs. It flows. It rests. It advances and retreats. And yet it gets things done.
Don’t get me wrong. I have “to do lists… just like the creek needs banks to contain it – I need “to do” lists and supportive routine to help me stay in Flow. To keep me moving forward.
Flow however is a quality not always honored by our dominant culture of fast action.
Flow is the place where I naturally find myself moving easily from one thing to another. When I seem to be effortlessly in right timing. When hiccups are taken in stride and the rocks in the day are simply things to move around – not dams that bring things to a standstill.
When I am listening to that inner quiet voice that guides me from one moment to the next linking them all in a beautiful symmetry. I know I am in Flow.
When I am in Flow I am relaxed. Open. I am in tune with what is appropriate in the moment.
I get so much more done.
I rest more easily.
I play. I sing. I shimmy my hips.
I feel in tune with my own brilliance. I laugh more. I am able to tap into a wellspring of creativity.
I know I am NOT in Flow when I start getting impatient.
When I hear myself telling myself I am not moving fast enough. That I will never get it all done. When I listen to someone or something outside myself telling me what, how or why I should be… doing, speaking, being or thinking anything.
This tells me I am in resistance. Out of my own center.
I have learned to treasure the beautiful, feminine quality of Flow. I have ways I cultivate Flow – by calling it in and incorporating it into aspects of my day, my life.
Here are a few…
I have a daily Creative Practice – where I simply show up to my journal for a brief amount of time and allow whatever creative impulse arises free rein. This is not something I share or have an agenda for. It is just for me. This is sometimes simply color on a page or two. A quote that I am rolling around in my being. A small collage.
As I fill my water jug in the morning I pray into it. I call on the Mother’s of the Waters to bless it and to support me in releasing resistance as I move through my day. To support me in allowing and Flowing.
I pay close attention to the cycles of Nature.
I follow the moon cycles. This is an app I use to help me.
I celebrate the Solstices and Equinoxes that herald the shifting movements of the seasons.
I spend time by flowing water.
I frequently feel into my own weather and temperature.
I ask what is the next most delicious thing I can do on my list and then do it.
Or I might ask – What is the one thing I am feeling the most resistance about completing?
I follow that up by kindly asking myself why I am feeling the way I do. Is it out of timing?
Is it not even necessary? Is there something that needs adjusting in order for the Flow to be restored? Am I simply feeling fear –because it is a task that is pushing my own edges and banks a bit?
Then I simply take myself by the hand and begin. Flowing over my own inner obstacles the way the creek flows beautifully over and around boulders in the sunlight.
And sometimes being in Flow means letting it all go for the day. It means taking a nap. Surrendering and starting over anew in an hour or a minute or tomorrow. And NOT beating myself up for that. It means being kind and loving to myself no matter what.”
When I read this over I marveled at the perfection of these words. For me. And rested once more in the beautiful and unexpected Flow of this gorgeous life.
Maybe they will support you as well in dropping more easily into your own life.
And you, dear one, are reading this absolutely good enough version as I head out the door.