Cumbria, UK, 22nd April 2010
This very minute, as my All Things Flow blog is being planned and set up, I am in the middle of a FLOW situation, a synchronicity of accidents, decisions and opportunities that have manifested as one of the biggest pieces of teaching I could ask for in the past months. How timely! What better way to open my own era of blog (a huge step for the internet/mass exposure phobe I am known to be), on the closest theme to my soul, than for the blog to begin itself as a result of this? Mysterious? Bear with me.
This blog walks the talk. In the best personal growth tradition, it begins by modelling the very concept it wants to present. It speaks of FLOW and FLOW gives birth to it, right here, in the most unplanned circumstances. I shouldn’t even be here.
Here’s the story, are you sitting comfortably?
Flowing towards the first blog post. PART I:
During the course of a significant life transition I have been travelling through for a few months, I seek vessels to a much wanted transformation, part of which is about daring to bring myself out there into the world more fully in my own voice, believing that what I have to say is enough.
One appears in the form of a 3-day seminar with two of the most inspirational figures in my recent universe, Arny and Amy Mindell. Of course, in my diligent and trustful interpretations of the clues I find along the way, I completely feel this is the chief vessel, the one that will show me the way ‘home’, the place and time where I will be helped to find the gate to my metamorphosis; it will place me well and truly on my path. I am excited, moved and grateful that this has presented itself to me at this point. I’m on.
Two months later, the day of the seminar approaches, I have feelings, dreams and experiences that tell me my psyche is preparing for the big event. Then Earth strikes. “An Icelandic volcano, dormant for 200 years, has erupted, ripping a 1km-long fissure in a field of ice” (BBC News, 21 March 2010). The ashes from the eruption paralyse the globe’s air traffic and humans’ unimaginable reliance on it. Our teachers don’t make the flight to UK, the seminar is cancelled, I fall into some incredulous distress, am lost and feel completely abandoned.
Clue number 1: On the personal level – the core of my transition is about a dormant, forgotten truth, a part of me making its way to the surface through layers of learned strategies, defences, adaptations, undermining self-beliefs stratified over the years for perfectly good reasons, but now coming loose under the pressure of long forgotten truths (as good work has been done) which makes it time for this to happen. All attempts to push against this, is damaging and in vain.
For me to have purpose, to be whole and fully alive, I have to give that part of me its rightful place here, now, those long forgotten parts of me have to RETURN HOME.
Clue number 2: At the collective level – many of us live pushing the uncompromising power of nature into the depth of denial and oblivion, forget who we are, where we come from, our inextricable connection with the rhythmicity of nature, inward and outward. We create filters, defences, powerful means to predict and overcome barriers, or to break through them, often well beyond the legitimate purpose of assuring safety and survival.
We spin, whirl, move fast, fill every gap, quick fix every cracks, keep going, keep living as if the surface was all there is: if we keep fixing the cracks, we’ll be alright. The depth of the earth under the ice erupts, not to spite or punish anybody, but simply because pressure’s on and it’s time.
The cracks slam open. Our plans to defeat space and speed go to pots. Pushing against it, pursuing the delusion of omnipotence, causes more damage and in vain. Creativity, fluidity and resilience are called for, to work ‘with’- not ‘against’ – the new emerging forces.
Then a circular email sent by the seminar’s organisers, brings a brief message, reading at the end: “[…] However, for us there is a message in all this. The message is: ‘Stop the world’ (as the shaman don Juan said). This means relax your everyday identity and plans. Our total message was ‘Stop the World, and let your deepest earth based experience guide you’. Plans are important, but not the final truth” (Amy and Arny Mindell, email sent via RSPOP London, on 20th April 2010 – Thanks Amy and Arny for authorising this quote!)
It rings true and yet something in me still protests: ‘…BUT I wanted YOU to show me HOW!’. With this, a shift occurs. It’s my birthday, and I begin to see how my special treat, my special journey, can still happen, only elsewhere. I still can and want to STOP THE WORLD, the spinning, whirling, I have been living in, eroding my grounding, my sense of purpose. I imagine myself sat by lake waters, on soft grass, lying on it, napping in the sun, reading, writing, letting the earth nourish me, effortlessly, freely, generously.
I want to go to the Lake District, as sure and powerfully as I had been heading for the seminar. A gift – given months earlier – from the sweetest of friends, allows me to go. This friend also takes me to lunch that day, unasked, and gently helps me out of the loop of disappointment I had sunk into, my old familiar messages about the fate of my best plans (!). Loving gestures for my birthday (and incredibly thoughtful, unexpected gifts from close friends) also re-ground me.
“The Master leads
by emptying people’s minds
and filling their cores,
by weakening their ambition
and toughening their resolve.
He helps people lose everything they know,
Everything they desire,
And creates confusion
In those who think that they know.
And everything will fall into place” (Tao Te Ching, ch.3)
Flowing towards the first blog post: PART 2
The day after I drive to Cumbria, with a growing sense of joy that fills me completely as I arrive, park my car, settle in my room at the guesthouse.
As I walk light and smiley straight towards the lake, I feel home, freed, happy. I even manage to buy the only ticket left for an amazing Celtic band (Peatbog Faeries) for that night; a gig, sharing in the joy and laughter of the rest of the audience, which becomes a celebration of both my arrival and my RETURN.
- The return of my earth bound, trees and wind-loving childhood, the joy of this bubbling up to surface.
- My return to this very place, where I fled to and found grounding a few years back, when another plan was cancelled, as my suitcase was stolen on my way to catching a flight to Italy – just recovering from an impossible loss.
Clue number 3: the most significant changes, gifts, have come when important plans, plans I was very attached to, failed, only to uncover possibilities I would have missed, blinkered by my insistence on that one particular form. Paths were found when following the stream round, under, over, through, rather than getting stuck on the boulders along the way (but also resting on the rocky surface to take stock and ground, sometimes), as an ACT OF FLOW.
From the shores of Northern waters I begun to write this. Seeking flow and the forgotten parts of myself, I find both by the water on the solid earth and rocks of this landscape, just as it was to begin with, just as it was every time I needed to re-join my path and my pace. I am returning to telling my stories, as it was at the very beginning, as a child, talking and singing to my dogs, to the trees, then writing journals, songs.
That part of me – like most children – knew about rhythm intuitively, naturally. All I ever did then that made me feel alive, worthy, happy and purposeful, was singing, dancing, being with the earth and telling my stories. Familiar? She’s back, securely anchored to the rest of me, peeking through these pages, ‘daring’ to write, with some trepidation, again…
…Just so you know that the writer is as much a seeker and a learner of life’s teachings as the reader and that we are all out here doing our best.
This is my invitation to FLOW.