Finding Your Flow
As 2019 starts winding down, it welcomes in a time of reflection and contemplation. While I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions (as our resolutions are relevant any time of year, and every day is an opportunity to start over), I do like to reflect and consider what I’ve learned from the past and where I want to move towards. 2019 was a tumultuous year for me, but as with everything in life, there are so many valuable lessons to learn in the good and the bad. This year, I think the most valuable one for me, has been in learning to let go and step into the natural flow of life. In doing so, I’ve found more peace in impossible situations, increased creativity, and I’ve been able to achieve more by doing less.
This may sound like a contradiction and impossible feat, but I think it’s one of life’s beautiful contradictions, where synchrodestiny is possible. It is important to note though, that no two paths are the same and what works for one person, may not work for another. Your “flow” and your path to finding it, will be a personal.
I should also mention, that as a working mom of four children, I have my share of busyness and stress. I’m often asked how I manage and where I find the time to write, let alone all the other things that come with balancing family, work, social life and maintaining a home.
I believe our lives have a purpose and a calling and when we are in alignment with that calling, things seem to “flow” easier. When you start to feel like you’re pushing a boulder uphill, it may be an indication that you really are.
While this topic could fill a book (and there are many good books on this topic), I’ll try to share some of the things that have helped me to find balance and alignment. I will also focus on areas specific to writing, although many of the philosophies and practices will relate to life in general.
Know Why You Write
When it becomes difficult to find the time to write or when it’s not flowing as easily as I’d like, it can be frustrating and demotivating if you don’t have the self-assurance and confidence that comes in knowing why you’re writing. When I’m asked “how” I do it, I can never answer effectively or explain without delving into “why” I do it. When you know the “why” and stay focused on it, the “how” seems to work itself out.
Exploring my emotions has also been critical in this path. I think that poets are better at this than most, but it’s human to not always see things as objectively as we need to, so it’s worth a mention. Some of the best advice I’ve received is to “stay with what irks you”.
If any negative emotions come to mind, stay with them for a while and try to understand what the underlying cause might be. Negative emotions are usually a sign that we are not in alignment, and the key to overcoming negative emotions is to acknowledge them and not suppress them. They’re there to help you find alignment and adjust what needs adjusting. Much like stress, they are our natural mechanisms for alerting us when we need to change or shift direction.
Pay as much attention to your positive emotions. These are the indicators of alignment. You will be able to sense when you are being energized by an activity, person or place. When you feel positive emotions, you will be empowered and will naturally be able to accomplish more without feeling as though you are being drained, used up or exhausted.
Stay the Course
When you are confident of your underlying motivation and purpose, it becomes a challenge to maintain integrity and be true to yourself. There are so many pressures and talented writers, that the lure to conform or compete can be deceptively provocative. We do, after all, need to make a living and survive in a society of likes, follows, shares and features.
There’s a quote by Brene Brown that often comes to mind as it rings true,
“Comparison kills creativity and joy.”
There may only be twenty six letters in the English alphabet, but there are millions of ways to string them together. Creativity and our ability to create something unique is only as limited as our imagination.
The limits of my own imagination are found in comparison, stress, self-doubt and fear. Fear of failure, fear of criticism, fear of success. None of which I want to be defeated by.
It is in this place, that creativity has the space to flow; in the letting go of all that does not serve you. Every thought, every emotion, every action, is a choice. We choose what to give our attention to, and what we give our attention to, is also what we give our power and energy to.
Criticism, guilt, manipulation, stress and fear do not empower and will stifle creativity. I strive to master this skill, however, I think it’s a lifelong practice. Awareness has been transformative for me though, and half the battle is won when I catch myself and observe before reacting or responding in any way.
From the place of objective observation, I can start to see and measure the value of the choices I need to make. As an example, I guard my morning quiet time as if it is a shrine that holds all that is sacred to me. I have a limited amount of time in a day to write, and the one and half hours I have in the morning is sacred. Writing is a form of self-care for me and a way for me to creatively express what needs to be let go, so all else gets let go instead.
Celebrate the Wins
Lastly, be sure to always celebrate your victories. Too often, we focus on the end goal and forget to celebrate the small steps along the way. If each day takes you closer to where you’re going, it’s a good day.
“To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson