It has taken me a long time (and rather a lot of unfinished draft posts) to finally get this one written. I’ve promised it for a while and referenced it a few times already but today I can finally begin to explain the concept of FLOW and what it means to me.
To do so I’m going to share a couple of excerpts from my life; the first from a few years ago, the second this week just gone. I don’t always go into great details about my personal life but I hope that by sharing these stories, the reader might gain a more visceral understanding of what I’m getting at. Because at its heart Flow is a felt thing and I can only assume that other people feel it too.
Living in London had grown difficult for us both. My partner and I were unhappy and desperately seeking the space and freedom of the great outdoors. In our spare time we’d begun reading books and articles about sacred landscapes, archaeology and the Land on which our ancestors lived. This inspired us to watch TV shows about similar topics, to expose ourselves to views and vistas of the rolling English countryside, bleak craggy moors and cities full of beautiful architecture. Suddenly – despite training and working in the creative industry for 5 years – we were feeling truly inspired for the first time.
We started talking about silly things first; going to live in a commune or backpacking around the World on all that money we didn’t have. Then one day I found a website about campervans and we spent evenings discussing the logistics of managing and affording a year long road trip around the British Isles, using blogs and advertising and bad poetry to pay our way.
A lot of these ideas felt mythic, dream-like, a little too big for reality. But at there heart was a seed of somthing that had settled in both of our imaginations and wouldn’t let us go. In fact it grew until our friends grew sick of hearing us talk about living on farms and in fields and returning to our roots and suddenly we were finding harder to find reasons to stay in London than reasons to go.
So we went. I can’t remember now what sparked the actual decision but we’d already been journeying down the path to our departure for some months. We quit our jobs, gave up our flat and spent the last of our savings on a tent, two big back packs and train tickets to get us to our first destination.
What followed was three months of seeing Britain on foot, by bus and by train, visiting so many sacred and beautiful places we couldn’t help but be overcome by a love for the Land itself. Three months of living in a tent, laughing and crying and sweating and soaking and always, always having the time of our lives.
By the time we returned home (to my parents until we’d re-established ourselves) we were already talking about moving to the Peak District. My partner knew he wanted to marry me and would ask me just a few months later. A few months we would be living in our current home and the first notions of Walk The Wheel were stirring in my mind.
We were already walking down the path towards the life we are living now. We were happy, blissful. We were living in Flow.
Me, on the road with Flow
After some rather exciting news in May, the Hubby and I have been coming to terms with the idea that our family is growing. News of a Baby has sparked an onslaught emotional upheavals as well as many more practical questions. Primarily: Do we have the space? and How will we afford all this?
Space has a large impact on my health and wellbeing; if I am living somewhere cluttered or crowded I quickly feel stifled and deflated. So I immediately decided that in order for us to survive the upheaval of a new life in our family and still maintain some sense of who I am and what I want to do I needed a new space to live in.
So we started looking at houses. Although the rental market is currently less than inspiring and we lack both the time and finance to really commit to a search, I have spent almost 5 months doggedly searching websites, booking viewings and complaining to anyone who would listen about how damn hard it was all proving! I have run the gauntlet of emotions; from hope to excitement, to disappointment to anger to fear till recently I reached a point of utter exhaustion and utter desperation.
The warning signs were clear: something wasn’t right about all this, it was too strenuous, too difficult. We were totally out of Flow. So iInstead of being consumed with thoughts of “We need a new house!” I focused on thoughts of “We need to trust the Flow. We will get what we need.”
And then something amazing happened.
We were offered a possibility by a loving family member; something that in 6-12 months might give us the chance of a space and future that feels more ours than any of the possibilites we’ve entertained so far.
And then just this weekend, after a few seemingly innocuous conversations with family and friends, both the Hubby and I reached a startling decision, pretty much silmulataneously:
What is we stay where we are? What if we trust that the house we are in and our desire to create a nurturing family home will blossom into something new and sustainable? What is we allow ourselves to stay safe financially and trust that we will find what we needed within the means we already have?
Suddenly, where we had been running out of possibilites for change, the ideas were flowing. With the ideas came energy and we spent the weekend organising, decluttering and making adjustements that could be the start of this space’s transformation for us; and with that energy we drew more energy from other sources; offers of help, items of furniture, ways and means to make this house viable began to pour in from all sides.
All we have done is put aside the wanting and the thinking and the deciding we knew what was best and instead trusted in what we have and our ability to make it better.
The result: We have come back into line with Flow.
Back where we should be
So What Is Flow?
Flow is the driving force that allows our needs to be met in the most necessary and wholesome way possible.
Flow is the path that life seeks to place you on so that you might make the most of your unique situation.
Flow is the ease with which something happens when it is right, when it is meant, when it is necessary.
I have never been one to believe in Fate. I don’t think there is a book anywhere with our life all spelled out inside it and we are not simply characters acting out a tale that already has a beginning, middle and end.
But as I’ve grown older I have found myself in more and more situations where happiness and contentment have been born of listening to life, trusting its messages and following the path down which it leads you. And I have often found this path the be the one of least resistance. Not because Flow means no work hard and no obstacles, but because Flow calls you to approach these things in a less resisting way.
To be in Flow, to truly feel its benifits, you need to flow yourself. When obstacles appear you don’t fight, but allow them to shape and inform your decisions, making them part and parcel of your experience. When the going is demanding you don’t grow desperate but flow steadily, doing what you can, trusting that it will all be enough to see you through.
Chalice Well - the perfect place to find and honour Flow
As you flow within the Flow you feel content, satisfied and enthused; all of which serve to energise you futher, feed your creativity and keep your spirits high. In this state anything is possible and I believe that what will manifest is not what you think you want but what you truly need. By fulfilling our true needs we can live in a state of harmony with both our emotional selves and our practical reality.
What I know most surely is that Flow does not abide with logic or reason, it does not conform to a pattern of events and often it does not seem sensible or safe. But it feels good, it feels right, it feels possible and it will happen with surprising ease if you simply allow it.
In recent years Flow has become my guide to live by. I can sense when I am not flowing and when I am making choices that are purely logical and not in line with the Flow. Sometimes I am too overcome with other feeligns and stuff (often fear or self-doubt) to see this clearly or to do anything about it. If I’m lucky I will recognise opportunities to come back to a more flowing state and thus come to see the path of Flow more clearly.
I have certainly been lucky this past week or so.
And (as is rather appropriate for this Harvest time) I am incredibly, powerfuly and humbly grateful for that.
3) Jon Rouston