Flow Has Me Flummoxed

Flow is my July word (see the original 12 Words blog post, if you are just tuning in).

Flow has me flummoxed.

What is Flow?

We hear “Go with the Flow,” or “Tune into the Flow,” or “Align with the Flow.” But what is Flow?

When I look back at my whole life (what I can remember, anyway!), there is a discernible order in what, at the time, felt like chaos and uncertainty. There seems to be an organic unfolding. Sometimes I went with it easily, sometimes more reluctantly, and sometimes kicking and screaming.

I guess I have lived enough life at this point to believe that there is a creative flow or force operating in my life, one that underlies all the individual circumstances and situations. All the things that I thought at the time were bumps, roadblocks, stumbles, and wanderings, now make sense in the larger picture of my life.

Maybe that is Flow.

But in the daily moments, my life still often feels anything but Flow-y. It feels twisty and turn-y and at times inscrutable.

Maybe Flow just isn’t always to be known in the moment.

Yet, I still trust that there is an order, and a creative flow, and maybe that is what is important.

Maybe Flow is right here, and I am just not feeling it all the time.

You can see that I still have several crossed wires about Flow.

However, I trust that even as I write this, my understanding of Flow is sorting itself out, and all will be revealed in good time, and in right order.

In the meantime, What is Flow?


The Gift of Fog

I woke up to fog today. The earth is cold and the air is warm, and that is when we are socked in with fog.

Whenever I walk out into fog, I am reminded of so many times in my life when I feel like I am in a fog. These are times when the next step may be clear, but the whole path is not.

Fog also reminds me that it will lift eventually, and then I will be able to see the way ahead.

I feel like fog is an invitation to trust that the way will be revealed in good time, and that I am still on my path, even though I can’t see it.

What is foggy in your life, and what would it be like if you relaxed into it?

Living the Questions

sun reflection snow

This picture doesn’t go with the writing in today’s blog. The scene isn’t a metaphor for life, or, if it is, I’m not seeing it the story in it yet. It is just a beautiful scene on a deeply cold winter day.

What is calling to me today is the Rilke quote from Letters to a Young Poet, about living the questions.

 “Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”

-Rainer Maria Rilke, 1903, from Letters to a Young Poet

What Rilke says is a match to my experience of life.

If you read my blog, you know that it is all about the questions. I am always asking myself questions and I always offer a question to you, in case it resonates with your soul.

I find it very freeing, that we don’t have to have the answers. And, even more, that we don’t have to strive or search for the answers. We don’t have to figure it out.

All we have to do is Live the Questions Now.

But, what does that mean? How do we do that? (I’ve always got a question!)

I think Rilke gives us a clue in his quote when he says “try to love the questions themselves.”

I love questions, but I think I could “love the questions” more. I could wake up in the morning with a question on my mind and just love that I have the question alive in me.

I could love that question like I love other things. I could fill my heart with love and gaze at it. I could love it, appreciate it, savor it. I could turn it over in my mind, delighting in every aspect of it. I could fill my heart with love and send it to the question.

That would be fun.

I think there is another piece living the questions, and that is to hold the questions with a light, playful spirit of curiosity.

And, to be ok with Not Knowing. That might be a little more challenging, in our culture. We are supposed to have the answers.

Some of the questions that are alive in me now are:

  • What if it is all about Love?
  • How can I live more tuned into my inner essence?
  • What would it be to live my life from a grateful heart?
  • How can I be more generous?

These feel like big questions. But, I don’t need to have the answers. All I need to do is to Live the Questions.

What are the questions that you are living right now?





In Pure Folly

ice storm

Today, the weather forecast is less than ideal.

Some tidbits from the National Weather Service Winter Storm Warning:

  • Sleet with possibly some brief snow, changing to freezing rain
  • Significant ice accumulation on walkways, roads, power lines, and trees
  • Sustained gale force winds with gusts as high as 65 mph
  • All of this “potentially resulting” in “significant power outages”, falling trees and tree limbs, and “making travel very hazardous or impossible.”
  • And, if you must drive (they always say something to this effect, like we would be complete fools to even consider such a thing), people with high profile vehicles are going to get pushed around. A lot. Not to mention sliding around on the ice.

In other words, it is a day when our ancestors would have never even considered leaving their caves.

I am bemused at my response to the warning.

Initially, I’m reluctant to admit that I won’t be able to have the day that I had planned.

My tendency to try to get things done anyway is so strong that at first I waste a lot of energy visualizing how I will get the things done that I had originally planned to do anyway, now accounting for the weather conditions.  As if anything that I had planned to do was absolutely essential to life.

When that proves to be obvious folly, even then, I don’t just give into it. I begin a round of triage in my mind: “Well, I can’t get X done, but what can I still do (without endangering life and limb)?” And without being able to set foot outside, or without electricity.

This is a ridiculous reaction.

In my defense, I think this is, at least in part, a tribal reaction. We Midwesterners are a tough lot. We don’t let a little weather get in our way.

And, in our Western culture in general, we are taught to “find a way” to get stuff done, no matter what.

But, really?

Something bigger than a busted plan is going on here. Whatever happened to going with the flow of life? Or, sitting with the question “What is it time for?”,  before I start my day?

This is a wake up call, and it is some good feedback for me, about the paradigm of living that I still occasionally allow myself to get sucked into.

I can choose a different way. I am obviously not in charge of conditions, but I am in charge of my response to the conditions, and of how I choose to come to my life.

For a while now, I have had a practice of centering myself and meditating before I begin my day. In this clear, spacious state of presence, I allow my inner wisdom to inspire me as to the priorities and activities of the day.

My deeper wisdom takes into account the bigger picture. It sees with clarity. It is in touch with my well-being and the well-being of others. It knows the true priorities.

This morning, I forgot. This is always astonishing to me, that I can forget something that I have practiced for weeks and months, and that I know is utterly important to me. But, I did. I forgot.

I forgot that I don’t plan my days anymore. I forgot that I am committed to discerning my day’s activities, and in receiving the day’s priorities. And I reverted back to this very old behavior that just doesn’t serve me.

So, right now, I am going to choose. I’m going to be really grateful for this wake-up call. I’m going to sit in peace and discern the way forward. And, I am going to be compassionate with myself for forgetting; that’s important, too.

Where have you, in your life, unconsciously drifted away from the way that you want to be?










The Land of Not Knowing

shifting sandsA friend and I were talking about what it’s like to be in Not Knowing, to be in a change in your life that’s so foundational that you aren’t sure who you are in it.

For me it feels like I’m walking on shifting ground. Like I’ve lost my footing and lost what it feels like to be sure-footed.

I know that it’s all part of the process, and I certainly have learned that I don’t want to push it, push new understandings, push knowing, push the process of change forward. That would be inorganic and would only come back to bite me later.

What we came to was to pay attention to what feels alive, even if it is a relatively quiet time. That we could still find the life force: the energy or inspiration or idea that feels most alive, and follow it.  And see where it leads.

This requires curiosity and a lack of judgement or pre-formed assumptions. It requires self-compassion and kindness towards ourselves.

It’s not passive, or demanding things be solved, or figuring it out. It’s actively engaged with life, just in a different mode than when you have high clarity about who you are and where you are going.

And then there’s containers and structures and keeping the channel open, but more about all of that on another day.

How do you be in Not Knowing Land?


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