Flow

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.

Water in motion

Story 1

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.

 

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Me, on the road with Flow

Story 2

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.

 

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Back where we should be

 

So What Is Flow?

directional_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.

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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.



Photo Credits:
1) Huffingtonpost.com
2) Me
3) Jon Rouston
4) 3drecursions.com
5) Me

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A ‘One World’ Welcome

It’s been a busy busy Midsummer this year and only now, over two weeks after the Solstice can I say I’ve fulfilled all my commitments for the festival. Not that I’m complaining, as I said in a previous post, it’s been a while since my energy and action have felt so in tune with the energy of the season and I’m pleased to have taken full advantage of all that bright, summer enthusiasm. But after attending The One World Festival at High Lea Park in New Mills yesterday I can finally say I’m done and have a little time to rest and eagerly await the harvest I have been tending.

Walk The Wheel’s introduction to New Mills has been a great success and I loved celebrating with those who made the first event we held at the beautiful Springbank Arts Centre on the day of the Summer Solstice. Although the posters and advertising went out a little later than I’d planned we still have a lovely group in attendance and everyone brought their own unique Midsummer energy with them. I am hopeful that the next event in New Mills – celebrating Lammas on Saturday 2nd August – will be even bigger and even better, particularly after meeting so many more New Mills folk yesterday.

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It was my first time attending this long-running local festival which celebrates “peace, the environment, cultural diversity, community, and world development”. I have to say the organisation was fantastic, the park was beautifully kept and the weather better than we could ever have expected (I think I may have tanned a little!). All the stewards were incredibly friendly and so were the attendees. I had so many inspiring conversations with new and people that I came home feeling all a-buzz with sunshine and human spirit. My heart was full to bursting after hearing so many people express their pleasure that Walk The Wheel is making a regular home in New Mills. So – for them and all who attend in future – I am determiend to make all our future celebrations there as joyful and inspiring as the festival was.

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So if you are one of those One World Festival goers who has found your way here from a leaflet or a remembered Google search then a hearty and happy welcome and a HUGE thank you for making me feel so welcome in your community! I am very much looking forward to walking the wheel with you all. 🙂

And to those who have been walking with me a while or who might come upon this page sometime in the future then warm welcome to you too. As I told many people I met yesterday, it is the people that make Walk The Wheel so special and their sharing of inspiration and themselves that makes it such a joy to hold and to attend.

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Bright blessings to all!

Photo credits:
1) and 3) by Visit New Mills on Facebook
2) by Huw Jarvis on Facebook

The Art of Disconnection

dis·con·nec·tion

 [dis-kuhnek-shuhn]  

noun

1.

the act of disconnecting.
2.

the state of being disconnectedlack of connection

I’ve been disconnected from everything these past 10 days. The hubby and I were whisked off on holiday by the in-laws and we were thrown into a new Land, a new climate and a new routine which included no internet, no work and no decisions to make: bliss! But it also meant a lack of all my usual touchstones that connect me to the Land and to my Self: not so much fun.

I’ve spent years working with the Wheel and various ideals, notions, people and places, aiming to deepen and strengthen my connection to the World. In that time I’ve gradually developed a practise that helps me maintain that connection as much as possible (many aspects of which you’ll have read about here at the blog). A natural by-product of this process has been a deepening sense of Self awareness too. I have come to know my Self – my patterns, my drives, my feelings, my needs – in much greater detail than I once did and I have benefited from this knowledge by making better choices and finding greater opportunities in which I can thrive.

That said, the downside to this deepened sense of connection is the deepened sense of disconnection that is its mirror. Often it is triggered by external circumstances – a break in routine, a new location or a sudden turn of events – and I can become so caught up in reacting to the change that I don’t realise I’ve disconnected until after things have begun to settle. As I regain a semblance of normality I suddenly find myself filled with a strange emptiness; an itch inside that tells me something isn’t right. Over time I’ve come to know this as disconnection; the lack of a solid, stable awareness of my needs and truths. It quickly spawns sensations of panic, doubt and fear that it will never come back again; all of which combine to create a void of confidence and a great chasm of disconnection not just between me and my Self, but between me and the World as well.

In the moment I need it most, that sense of connection is lost to me on both fronts and the loneliness and helplessness it leaves can be downright debilitating.
When caught in the midst it seems impossible to break out of; no matter how hard I try to see beauty, to be mindful, to breath deep and open my awareness, all attempts feel fake and flawed (which of course only breeds more panic!). For what could be days I feel as though I’m drifting through life, locked in a perpetual video game or glued to the TV set, unable to turn away. I feel completely oblivious to the World as I once knew so well.

It feels like now is the time for me to give a smile and a wink and offer you the answer that I’ve known all along. I feel like I should offer you some sort of fix: “What I do to shuck off this slump in 5 easy steps!”.

But I can’t.
To be honest I simply don’t know.

But what I do know is this: no matter how strong the disconnection feels it always, eventually lessens, and the connections I so dearly value always come back… eventually. However, i must warn you, that they often don’t look the same.

A good friend said to me yesterday:

“Once you’ve reached a place of comfort and stability, then you’re ready for the next step, the next challenge. But in order to take it, in order to grow and develop further you have to let go of what you had; to make space for the new.” 

So perhaps I can’t tell you how to ‘get over’ disconnection. Perhaps I don’t want to.

Because maybe, just maybe disconnection is actually a space of creation. Disconnection is the place where new connections are waiting to be formed.

*
There’s lots of growth and change coming to Walk The Wheel in the coming days: watch this space for updates and announcements!

The Importance of Sharing

I just wanted to say thank you to all the folks who reached out to me after my last post.

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I am a rather private person by nature and also somewhat obsessed with appearing cool, calm and in control. So the thought of putting my worries, fears and inadequacies (as I see them) out into the public sphere feels frightening and somewhat crazy to my ‘logical’ head. However my heart knows that sharing is the only way we learn and grow and so I did, I shared and… voila! I have learned and I have grown.

Since then I have managed to pin down some rather illusive decisions and for the first time in a while I have what feels like a solid dream to be reaching for. Don’t worry, it’s still fuzzy enough around the edges to the Flow carry it and shape it as it will, but it is also clear enough that I can actually reach for it without feeling like I’m kidding myself.

 

I have been gifted with some rather precious gifts too, as a result of my sharing; gifts I never would have received if I hadn’t opened up and spoken my worries and woes:

 

* a very kind friend has given me her old laptop to use for work and stuff; this means I don’t have to wait 20 mins for a document to download (my current laptop is slooooooow!) and can actually get back to things like Twitter and blogging, safe in the knowledge that I won’t lose an hour to one tiny task. I can make progress!

* another friend offered me kind words when she shared some of her notions of me and (as they often do when coming from the outside) they lifted my spirit and gave me a confidence I struggle to find within myself.

* another friend shared her presence at an event I had organised that wasn’t as well attended as I’d have liked. She stayed with me through the allotted time and allowed me to test and grow and talk through my ideas without once pitying me or being embarrassed for me. A gift of strength, truly.

And so many people close to me, including the Hubby and family and friends, have gifted me things like hugs and smiles and moments of utter normality that made me laugh and helped me remember that no matter how big my struggles feel they are all just part of the Flow that is Life and will never be the be all and end all;  just a strip, a strand, a tributary that will eventually re-merge with the whole.

 

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Harakeke River Flow by Philly Hall

Sharing my fears has brought me to this place where – for the first time in a while – I feel like I might be in (some semblance) of control over where I’m going and what I’m creating. I have no doubt that Life has a curve ball lined up for me sometime soon but for now its enough to count my blessings and to revel in the magic of sharing; something which was at the foundation of this blog and all my personal work but has become a little lost under the pile of ‘other’ ideas and fancies.

 

It’s good to come back to what you know. And to be reminded that at our core, in our very deepest heart, we know exactly what we need to do. We just need to remember it…

 

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Or if in doubt, listen to Mr Spock 🙂



Photo credits:
1) Helga Wigandt
2) Philly Hall
3) pintrest

 

When April Feels Like Christmas

I’ve just made my third cup of tea of the day.

The kitchen is in a state of organised disarray.
There’s dishes to be washed and put away and there’s not a lot of surface space left to actually make tea in the first place, but I managed.

It’s sunny outside.

Lots of cloud but no sign of snow; just a wind as brisk as the Arctic (especially at the top of rather tall Peaks) that makes you all the more grateful for the totally-seasonally-appropriate weather today.

The shadows are lengthening across the laminate floor and the light brushing our living room ceiling is golden and warm.

It makes the tea, the sofa and my mood in general as soft and sweet as maple syrup (which incidentally I had on my breakfast this morning).

 

It’s a Bank Holiday Weekend here in England and for the first time in a long time I’m not working during it.

A long time ago Bank Holidays and weekends would not be spent at work; they were enforced periods of time spent with family and friends, in the house or out and about, depending on your circumstance. The idea of going to work on these public holidays was (mostly) unheard of.

When I was younger, Bank Holidays were starting to be used by shops and pubs and public services as extra working days; which suited the people not working as it meant more leisure services were available for use. For the employees they were something of a bonus because working a Bank Holiday meant ‘Double time’; so, yes, you’d spend the day at work, away from family and friends (which lets be honest is sometimes preferable!) but your wage packet would be that much heavier. Okay then. Tit for tat.

Nowadays that incentive has been mostly taken away. Most places (even offices and businesses) are open all day, every day and employers no longer have the funds or the desire to reward their staff for missing out on valuable rest time. ‘Double time’ became ‘Time and a half’ became ‘a day in lieu’. Today, most people are lucky to receive even that for working a Bank Holiday weekend.

 

For my entire working life (until now) I have worked for companies who have expected me to work weekends, evenings and Bank Holidays as par for the course. No incentives (financial or otherwise) and no chance to decline them. No chance to put your family and leisure time first. I didn’t realise how much I missed having free weekends and Bank Hols until today, until right now even; sitting here, drinking tea on the sunny sofa and practically purring under my breath with peace and satisfaction.

It’s like Christmas come early.*

 

I spent yesterday evening in front of a blazing fire, eating good food, drinking the health of those I love and gazing at the beauty of the stars. 

Today I went walking up two of the three Peaks (Bleaklow and Higher Shelf Stones if you’e wondering) and caught my breath at the beauty and majesty of this Land that is my home.

I came home and cooked another meal for my Husband and friends, which we ate with gusto and polished off with thickly buttered bread and wedges of intriguing and exciting cheese (beer cheese, people, beer cheese!).

And now (as I’ve said) I am on the sofa; sated, softened and full.
The boys are playing a board game and we women are reclining in mutual silence.

The air is warm and easy, we are comfortably bubbled in joy.

And the kitchen is clean enough and the kettle is full and the cheeses have been gathered and wrapped in cling film in a way that only my mother could have done, surely.

And work and wages and time and incentives are all a million miles away.

 

I am more blessed than I know.

 

Bank Holiday Greetings everyone!

 

 

 

* And there is likely some irony there, what with Christmas being the other big Christian holiday alongside Easter (which is also this weekend)… but I’m too blissed out to find it.

 

Copyright

All written materials and images, unless otherwise stated, are property of Kelly Tomlin 2016.
We gather together to Walk the Wheel; to share with one another and be inspired.