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?

 

My 12 Words for 2018

There are a lot of people who find value in having a word (or words) to guide them throughout the year. They see it as a guiding light, or an intention, or a mantra to help them stay focused on what matters.

They discover their word by remaining open and listening to their inner guidance. It is something that comes to them, rather than something that they figure out.

In November, when I opened to the possibility of a word or words for 2018, twelve words flowed out from within. This has never happened to me, so I paid attention to it.

What came to me about this was that these words are qualities of being that I would like to embody. They are how I want to be in the world, the spirit or energy that I want to bring through my presence, or how I want to “show up,” during the next phase of my life.

As I explored this possibility, I felt as if a gift had been bestowed upon me. What a fun thing to explore in 2018!

Throughout November and December, my understanding of this idea deepened.

These are the questions I would hold as I explored each word:

  • What is it, for me?
  • How do I embody the energy of it?
  • How do I live it, in the world?
  • How will I keep it alive, in my life?

It was certainly convenient that there were 12 words, one for each month of the year.

The words changed during December. Four words “left” and four new ones came in.

They spread themselves into the months, and their order changed three times before January.

Here are the words and how they have now settled into the months (subject to change, of course):

  • January: Curiosity
  • February: Vitality
  • March: Eagerness
  • April: Receptivity
  • May: Engagement
  • June: Expansion
  • July: Flow
  • August: Intention
  • September: Generosity
  • October: Renewal
  • November: Whole-heartedness
  • December: Love

I’m really excited about this idea. It feels like a delightful adventure.

What is your word (or words) for 2018?

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?

The First Step

“Traveler, there is no path. Paths are made by walking.” Antonio Machado

I love this quote because it reminds me that we don’t need to see the whole path before we take our first step.

What first step is waiting to be taken, in your life?

The House Where Pete Lived

petes house

Cinnamon and I were on our evening walk tonight as we passed the house where Pete lived.

The new owners were busy nailing some drywall up on the wall in the back bedroom. You could see that they are doing a lot of renovation to their new home.

When Pete lived there, he used to come out and visit with us as we walked the dogs by his house. He was a funny guy, and smart, and he liked the dogs.

He and his wife Bea were our role models for what we wanted to be when we are a little older.

Bea used to drive the two of them around on various errands and adventures. They would speed by us in their car, waving wildly and smiling ear-to-ear. Sometimes they would stop to talk, but most of the time, they were getting on with living, and they had fun places to be. They were always filled with spirited energy.

Bea died last summer, and Pete could no longer live there by himself, so he moved away. Bea’s death shocked me, in the way that deaths do, when someone who has lived so fully alive dies. Some part of me always expects people who live so robustly to go on forever.

I was sad tonight, as I remembered how much I loved seeing Bea and Pete, and how much I miss them.

It made me remember how I want to be as I get a little older. And that made me remember how I want to be now, so that I can always feel like I have lived my life fully, like Bea and Pete showed me.

How can you live more alive?

 

 

Generosity and Gratitude

grocery bags

As we walked the neighborhood this morning, almost every mailbox had a reusable grocery bag, filled with food, hanging from the mailbox.

The Boy Scouts have a community service project here on the first Saturday in March. They collect dry goods for our local food pantry.

At Rich’s house, there were six bags, filled with food, sitting in the middle of the driveway.

I wasn’t surprised to see those six bags sitting there, but I was inspired.

Rich is a generous and grateful guy. He takes every opportunity, it seems, to give back. He inspires me with his good and generous nature. It seems like he is always going the extra mile, and he is very quiet about it. He just does it.

At Christmas time, at Rich’s house, there is a wrapped gift, sitting on the top of his garbage bin on garbage collection day, for the guy who picks up our garbage.

On New Year’s Day, he and his daughter go door-to-door, taking goodies to all the neighbors.

It makes me smile to see the six bags in the driveway and the Christmas gift on the garbage can.

And these are just the things that I have seen him do. I don’t even live in his little neighborhood, so I’m sure there is a lot that I have missed seeing.

Thank you, Rich, for making our world a better place.

How does generosity touch your life?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Being Visionless

fog

Today is a very mild day, for deep winter, and there’s a thick fog.

I can’t see my neighbor’s house or driveway, and the detail on all the trees has faded into a blur.

The damp is penetrating.

This is the latest in a number of grey, cloudy, colorless days. Nature is resting.

When it is like this, my vision is obscured. I can’t see much, and what I can see is blurred. Much of what I can see is a dull monotone.

This is a good reflection of how I am feeling: very quiet, and like it is time to rest.

I can’t see much in the way of a vision for my business right now. It feels like it is growing and changing, but the details are unformed at the moment.

As a professional coach, I live and work in a world that says that we “must” have a vision. Part of what I do as a coach is help my clients clarify their life and work visions.

As an owner of my own business, I am told by business professionals that it is essential to have a vision, for my business, for content that I publish, for social media engagement, and for a whole host of other things.

I agree that it is desirable to have a vision. Visions can be compelling and motivating.

However, sometimes there isn’t a vision to be seen or clarified. Sometimes the vision isn’t ready to be revealed yet. Like the dense fog outside, in time, clarity will re-emerge. What is called for in these times is patience.

Wisdom tells me that visions aren’t made; they reveal themselves from our deeper wisdom.

Whatever vision is needed for me will emerge when it is needed, from a space of listening within.

My challenge is to refrain from pushing on it. I don’t like being in fog, literal or metaphoric. I often try to do something to get out of it.

The fog is the wisdom, today. It’s telling me that while things are unclear in the moment, in good time, the fog will lift, and what I need to know will become clear.

What is foggy for you right now? What if you waited until the fog lifts?

 

 

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?

 

 

 

 

Path or No Path

snowmobile track too

I’m walking Harper. It is a mild day for mid-winter, 32 degrees F. There’s a slight breeze coming off the snow fields, so it feels a bit cooler.

We’re walking along a path that was made by a snowmobile a few days ago.

There are a lot of things that I don’t love about snowmobiles. One of them is that they are really noisy. Their sound cuts through an otherwise tranquil, deep winter night.

However, given that I am such an equipment hound, it would be incongruent of me to despise snowmobiles altogether.

Snowmobiles make paths through the farm fields. They compact the snow so much that it makes it very easy to walk on the path that they cut.

This opens up a whole new territory for me in the winter. I have to love that.

The irony of me wanting to walk on someone else’s path is not lost on me.

All of my life, I have eschewed others’ paths through life, in favor of cutting my own.

I have a bit of a rebel nature, and I like the independence and creativity of finding my own way.

Then I made an obvious discovery. You really can’t follow someone else’s path. You only have your path.

Or maybe even more accurately, “Travelers, there is no path, paths are made by walking.” – Antonio Machado

How do you find your path?

 

 

 

Playing Hide and Seek with the Moon

hide and seek moon one

Harper and I are again walking at dusk. It is a mild Winter night, around 20 degrees F, snowing lightly and softly. I am so grateful for walking again, after a spell of brutally cold weather which was not fit for woman nor beast.

We get to a forested area, and when I look up, an almost-full moon is peeking out from some clouds. It is visible just over the top of the trees.

I can see that it is almost full, and I long to get another glimpse of it, but the clouds come in and cover it up.

Harper and I continue. It is such a nice night, that we walk longer and farther than I had expected we would. The walk is giving my mind an opportunity to clear, and to rest. All I need do for right now is to steer us safely through the snow.

The moon peeks out from the clouds just briefly as we walk through the yard of the long-ago closed-school.  The yard is blessedly desolate during this time of the year.

We walk down a street with a few houses, and they are quiet, too.

The more I walk, the more I want to walk, but it is getting dark, and I’ve forgotten the flashlight, so we turn towards home.

As we do, I turn to look behind us, to the East, and there is the moon, full, in all its glory. The thick clouds have left the sky. It is absolutely still, and I stop to take in the beauty of the scene. My soul craves this stillness.

hide and seek two

The full moon reminds me of the beauty in the cycles in nature. There is fullness and emptiness, or darkness. There is waxing and waning. Nature is always going through cycles.

We all also go through these cycles, even if they may not be as clearly noticeable as the phases of the moon. Our own creativity waxes and wanes. Our spirits go through periods of feeling full, and feeling empty or dark.

The moon helps me remember that no matter where I am in the cycle, change and transformation is afoot. Heraclitus said “The only constant is change.”

What is changing in your life?

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