Monthly Archives: April 2010
|04/14/2010||Posted by Jane under all posts, mind . body . spirit, recovery, serenity|
Do you ever feel stuck? A reader recently asked what to do when flow seems to be inhibited by something, or someone. I asked permission to share his question with the rest of my readers.
“Life is a cycle. All things are in constant flux. Most of the time I can let it flow. What do you recommend when the cycle slows, when it seems like you may be stuck or some one or something is inhibiting the flow of the ‘is-ness’ of life or is this just an illusion in which I’ve yet to accept and master? “
That’s a great question. I suppose it brings me to two trains of thought:
The first is that sometimes the feeling of not flowing, when things aren’t going as we’d expected, can mean that we’re just where we are supposed to be. That IS our flow for that period of time.
When I became a single mom, my reason for being, for those 12 years was to be a great mom. I’m not sure I was great at it, but I did my best. Of-course I dreamed of taking my son and traveling the world, or even the state. We would throw darts at a U.S. map, saying we’d travel wherever the dart landed. The darts always landed too far away from home. I wanted to give him everything he dreamed of, but I had little money, and no means for making many of those dreams come true. So I just held onto them, for ‘someday’.
Our life was about being where we were. We hiked, cooked, played ball, did chores, gardened, and laid under the stars drinking hot chocolate. I had the privilege of watching him grow into a skilled archer and marksman. He was close to his grandparents and great grandmother, and we spent much time with them all. They were lovely years.
I measured his growth on the back of the door in the hallway, and he most always beat me when we played pool in the basement. I ‘signed him up’, as he says, for things he didn’t want to do, but mostly we played together, and play is absolutely free! There were times when my chronic pain kept me from doing things, but for the most part, I insisted that I wanted my son to remember me as a fun mom, who gave him the attention and respect he deserved. I played through my pain.
This was my flow. I wouldn’t trade those years for anything. Those years made me who I am today, and made my son the incredible young man that he is today. We learned a lot about the love between a mother and a son, and developed a precious bond. Our blessings measure far beyond those early dreams.
Secondly, it’s likely that what’s blocking my flow is not ‘someone’ or ‘something’ else, but ME.
The feeling of being stuck is an uneasy, sometimes frustrating one. It has been my experience that the degree to which I’m stuck is directly related to the degree to which I’m trying to figure out things that are beyond my control. Usually those things don’t even belong to me. I’m spinning my wheels trying to figure out someone else…what they should or shouldn’t be doing, and what I can do to change the way they’re behaving. When I can recognize this, I can return to me…return to my serenity.
One thing I’ve found of great comfort is knowing that neither end of the spectrum lasts forever, no matter whether we’re feeling elation or fury, happiness or discontentment…this, too shall pass. The beauty of this cycle is that it has a way of balancing us out. The tricky part is that we don’t always get to dictate the length of the cycle. There are however, some things I’ve found helpful in keeping it moving.
I acknowledge that I can’t change anybody but myself. Spending my energy trying to change other people is a waste of my resources. I choose to live in a way I can be happy with. Often, other people can see the change in me, and begin to follow.
When I do find it necessary to tell someone else what I believe they should do, I try hard to say it only once. Beyond once is attempting to control, usually unsuccessfully, since the change must come from the other person, not from me.
I write as often as possible. One thing that I’ve done recently is get up about 15 minutes earlier in the morning and write three complete pages, not thinking about what I’m writing….just write. No planning, no thinking, no revising, and I don’t go back and re-read it. I just empty my mind, then file the papers away. (I actually tear the papers out and physically put them in another pocket. Otherwise, I’m sure I’d ‘accidentally’ read them.) Releasing our subconscious in the morning allows our mind to begin flowing for the day. When we do this often-enough, it becomes habit….just as anything else we do repeatedly becomes habit. This was extremely vital for me. When I began this letting go, my life began to change in ways that I couldn’t explain, and still can’t.
I take time for myself. My schedule can get pretty full, and I have often said no to myself when I knew I should’ve said yes. I try to say yes to myself more often, and no thank you to others. I am fulfilled when I say yes to a hike, writing time, an afternoon siesta, listening to the birds, sitting on a comfy sofa with a book, calling someone who loves me unconditionally, or volunteering. These are times when I’m allowing my own voice to come forth, rather than in-taking the expectations of others.
I have found that regular meditation and contact with God is vital, and I don’t mean praying while I’m at a red light. I have a space in my home that contains only things that make me feel peaceful and connected. If anything else sneaks in (for example, I’m keenly aware that an ironing board and an iron are sitting there right now) I remove it before I use that space. I have to actively protect the space, but it is well worth it, and I’ve learned that I’m worth it.
Try to remember that it if it feels like you’re paddling upstream, rather than floating down river, you may be working too hard to force solutions. Allow life to flow. It may not, and in-fact, probably won’t go in the way you predicted, but let it go. I don’t even try to figure things out anymore…I just keep taking steps, and the path seems to unfold before me. A year ago, I would have thought that sounded very obscure, great for other people…but at that time, I was in my canoe, paddling as hard as I could, and going nowhere.
I hope you’ve found something of use. I’d also like to recommend the book “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. I began my “Morning Pages” recently, after reading the first chapter. An incredible personal journey unfolded before me. You might also find some other bits of interest in my post on finding balance.