Go with the flow, be in the flow, living in the flow, let it flow, flow off for flows sake and leave me alone. After all if I leave things to flow, well nothing will buggery well happen!
For the longest time I really used to get irritated with people who told me to let go and let flow. Didn’t they know how hard I worked to keep it all together, didn’t they understand the effort, strategic planning, thought and bloody mindedness that went into getting things where I wanted to them to be.
Life had to be managed, diarised, planned and manipulated into a form that I was happy with. So many elements could go wrong. People have this irritating habit of not doing what you a) expect and b) want! Damn them, damn those people with their free will and double damn those floaty ones who wafted around looking all chilled out and relaxed, how did they manage it? I hated them and was jealous of them in equal measure.
So in true Dawn fashion I tried to manage myself into being floaty and relaxed, to be a “go with the flow” chilled out babe! After all I had managed to leave home at 16 and look after myself, I had managed to have three kids under 4 and only go mildly mental, I had managed to become a pretty successful yoga teacher, if you count success that is by having busy classes and being in a certain amount of demand. I was a superwomen at managing things.
But to be truthful I still wasn’t happy, I wasn’t floaty, I wasn’t chilled, I failed in the whole ethereal life’s a dream type scenario. On the surface it may have appeared I was flowy, I had all the flow accessories, I taught yoga, I meditated, I chanted, I had therapy, I wore chiffon, and skinny cotton vests, I grew my hair, head hair not arm pit hair, that came later when I actually was living in the flow, I had multiple piercings, and spoke in a soft soothing voice. Except when I didn’t and sometimes I really didn’t. And sometimes I still really don’t! Flow or no, a good old yell does you the world of good. So there was I pretending to be in the flow, putting on a flow type show but actually not being there at all.
I can’t tell you how infuriating it is to spend decades managing your life to be in the flow only to find out that you are kind of missing the point. You can’t manage flow, because then it stops being a flow, you can look like you are in the flow, you can’t sound like it, you can’t direct the flow to be the way you think it should be. Flow is free, flow is independent, flow can be messy, it can be destructive, it has a mind all of its own. It can also be beautiful, healing and full of joy.
I can’t actually tell you when I got it, not the exact moment, but I can tell you the general circumstances. I was trying really really hard to micro manage myself, I had the façade of my brilliant life so fixed even I had started to believe it. But actually rather than live in the flow I was creating a bloody great dam. A dam which years and years of pent up emotion was building up behind. I was far to terrified to flow, flow is unpredictable. It won’t let itself be managed and it will tell you very very loudly if you are blocking its path.
I experienced a great catharis when I finally broke through the dam. There were a lot of tears, shock, I actually shook, for around a week, I shook, I woke up in the night and shook, I felt sick, I had headaches and couldn’t eat, the fear that was held behind the dam split over into my life and created a tsunami of emotion that I am very very glad to have let go of.
I was so afraid that I wouldn’t be able to look after myself and family if I flowed, if I failed to manage, control and manipulate my life. I had a real belief that all the work would dry up, that it wasn’t safe to step back and respond to what is arising, instead I had tried to continually arrange and organize my whole life on a moment to moment basis. God it was exhausting.
When that dam finally broke and the flood of emotion that had been held back, held back for decades, washed through my body there was absolutely nothing I could do but flow with it. I had to simply ride the wave of emotion. I remember sitting under a blanket literally shaking, my teeth chattering uncontrollably, a knot in my stomach so big that I couldn’t eat. But even in that I had the sudden clarity that actually its ok, I am in a lot of pain, physical and emotional but actually I’m ok, the world hasn’t fallen down and I haven’t died, its ok.
I took my own advice and for the first time ever, I properly flowed, I decided not to organize anything, I didn’t try to fix it, or change it, rather I just sat with what was arising. I would witness it, be with it and honour it.
In the sitting and witnessing, in that experience I decided not to distract myself, to just be with the discomfort and see where it took me. I can honestly say it was scary, it was a dark place, a place that spoke of poverty, fear, anger, loneliness all the things I was scared off. Underneath all my micro managing I was still petrified.
So with the knowledge I was armed with I had the ability to honour that fear and address it. A good therapist, a lot of tears, letting myself trust and be supported by friends, and my partner. Suddenly I was in need and had to reach out. How scary was that for a micro manager? And actually how brave! Pat on the back!!
Fast forward a year and the beautiful thing is that now I DO FLOW. I broke through the fear barrier and learnt that flowing takes strength, takes courage and is incredibly powerful. I also learnt you can’t direct flow it only builds up dam like and creates a block and obstacle that will in the end burst its banks. Since this awakening to the true nature of flow I have adopted a few simple strategies that mean I will never let myself get so stuck. These techniques are so simple I wonder why I ignored them for so long, I wonder why I made a pretence of flowing but never really got down to connecting with the part of me that is constantly in flow that is connected to the universal flow that is waiting to carry me on its tide of success, happiness, wealth and joy.
Simple answer is this….and listen carefully as its pure gold.
I wasn’t listening. I was so busy doing and creating and yes managing, that I was deaf to the voice of my intuition. The flow that was trying so hard to wash through me.
Today and every day I now take the time to listen, to sit or stand for a few moments and check in with how I am feeling. Not how I am thinking, not how things are around me, not what I am wearing or who I am hanging out with or how busy my classes are, but how I AM feeling.
If I am not peaceful, not relaxed, not joyful, if my body is tight, breath is shallow and mind is racing then guess what? I am NOT in the flow. With this information I can take the time to dig deeper and find out why I am not flowing, what is the obstacle in my way? Is it work, family, health, financial worries? Am on my correct path? Once we have these answers we then have a choice, to move back to our path or take steps to get closer to it. That much we can help ourselves with, we can take steps away from the rocky road of the micro manager and move towards the beautiful clear waters of our flowing river of life.
So if like me you would like to experience the beauty of a life that flows, that makes your heart sing, puts a skip in your step, and lets you take a deep soul nourishing breath. Then don’t wait for the day the dam breaks, take one simple beautiful step.
Stop, close your eyes, take a few deep slow breaths into your heart and notice how you feel. Just that, notice.
With that information you have a choice, stay stuck in panic, fear, anger or move on.
Let go of the need to micro manage your life and open yourself up to the beautiful energy that the universe is holding for you. Just waiting for you to open the doorway to your soul and let it flow right through you. Beautiful, harmonious and joyful.
Of course it is possible that there is an underlying issue that means you are just too fearful to be in your flow. The flow just doesn’t look safe. All that freedom is terrifying. Perhaps there is an underlying issue that needs your attention, a part of you that needs healing. And until it has been brought into the light, honoured and then healed the flow will be a distant daydream.
So step one
Stop every day and just be, breath into your heart and take time to notice how you are feeling in your body. Your body reveals the story of your emotional self.
Ask yourself what is not resonating with you. Is it personal, relationships, work, spiritual, health or something else?
Move yourself away from the cause of your distress. Move your life closer to that which makes your heart sing. If that is a struggle for you at the moment then begin by imagining yourself living the life you desire.
So I am pleased to report that these days, I am on the lazy river, floating along dreamily in the flow. Riding the odd wave and taking a bit of time to breath.
I look back occasionally at the old me struggling uphill carrying a rucksack full of my past hurts and reach back and give her my love, after all poor girl she was completely on the wrong road.
For more information on the living in the flow course or to book a session with Dawn to learn how to live authentically and be in the flow email Dawn at firstname.lastname@example.org
Let go and let flow!