Going with the Flow

September 20, 2022

Since returning from our Labor Day weekend road trip to Cleveland, the days have been full. Notice I said “full,” not “busy.”

For me “full” indicates choice. What do I choose to do? What do I prefer to do? What brings meaning into my life and in what ways do my choices have potential meaning for others?

“Fullness” versus “busyness” reminds me to pay attention. When am I responding from my essence, from the person I hope to be, was created to be, instead of responding out of duty or obligation? Obviously, sometimes a task simply needs to be done, but the more I open to the life I think I am asked to live right now, the more those tasks fall into place.

All that being said, during these last two weeks I have needed to use my time and energy well, moving from task to task deliberately and intentionally and calmly. And that’s the way the next couple weeks will be, as well.

As I have moved through these days, I have thought about my word of the year, rhythm, and also the flow I hope to experience.

Word of the Year: Rhythm

As you listen closely for your deepest call, what are the greater rhythms to which you must accommodate yourself.

Christine Valters Paintner

You may recall that my word of the year is “rhythm.” I’ve been more aware in the last few months of how I need to respond to the rhythm of a day–what is planned and required in a day–but also I am more able to notice and create my own rhythm.

For example, I know my rhythm becomes raggedy and I begin to unravel when I don’t begin my day meditating, praying, reading sacred texts. Doing that faithfully, allows me to adjust my preferred rhythm to the needs of the day. At the same time immersing myself in slow silence also helps me adjust the needs of the day to my own rhythm. Much to my amazement when I ground myself in that spiritual practice, the needs of the day and my needs accommodate one another.

When that happens, I experience flow–when one thing streams into another naturally and easily.

A Reminder

Sometimes I need a physical reminder, an illustration of what flow looks and feels like.

We spent the weekend at the home of friends who live in northern Minnesota, and one afternoon we cruised their beautiful lake. We were the only ones on the water, except for a few loons, who have not yet migrated.

My favorite part was going through a narrow and shallow channel to enter another lake. Our friend turned the motor down and guided the boat under the low bridge, reminding us to keep our hands inside the boat and to lower our heads.

How appropriate was that–to bow our heads as we crossed a threshold.

Pause and bow your head.

Rest in the silence.

Experience the flow.

Discover the rhythm.

Often when I lead a guided meditation instructing participants to breathe deeply in and out, I include the phrase, “find your own rhythm.” I think I need to add, “Feel the flow. Notice the flow around and through you.”

This morning when I closed my eyes, lightly, not tightly, and breathed in and out, gently and deeply, finding my own rhythm, I imagined the shallow water in that channel, and I remembered the feeling of unrushed, undemanding, gentle and yet noticeable flow.

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me–watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.

The Message, Matthew 11: 28-30

May I live my life that way.

An Invitation

When have you experienced flow? I would love to know.

Note:

Here is my post on my Word of the Year: https://wordpress.com/post/livingonlifeslabyrinth.com/362

4 thoughts on “Going with the Flow

  1. Thank you Nancy. What a great reminder. I will keep those words in mind each morning – rhythm and flow, I think that is exactly how the day should start as I meditate and pray. Wonderful pictures too. I also remind myself to breathe. It slows me down when I start to get wound up.

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  2. This is absolutely beautiful. I love how you described the difference between busyness and fullness. I’ve noticed that my days that are busy with errands and needed chores, that I’m left feeling worn out (physically and mentally) and that all I did was spin my wheels. On days where I take the time to do something like take a walk around the neighborhood, meet a friend for coffee, do my morning journaling, work in my art journal, or putter around the house…changing decor and cleaning and “putting the house back to rights”, I feel contentment and satisfaction.

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