As I've been playing around with the word "flow" this year, I've discovered that it is a word with many definitions. (I've also discovered that it comes up in regular conversation ALL the time. I've never had a word so easy to find "in the world" as this one.) Anyway, of all the definitions I've found, this one is my favorite:
Flow. (n.) a steady, continuous stream of something
As you can see . . . flow . . . means the opposite of being stuck. But lately? I've been feeling pretty . . . stuck.
Definitely not a stream of anything.
But that's how it is sometimes, isn't it?
"Between the banks of pain and pleasure the river of life flows. It is only when the mind refuses to flow with life, and gets stuck at the banks, that it becomes a problem."
-- Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
So. My dilemma: How to get unstuck (at the banks)?
And start that steady, continuous stream of something . . . again?
For me, I headed back to my "basics" -- the five elements I discovered several years ago (when my word was balance). I stripped my days down to the 5 basic elements I need in my life every day:
- Reflection (this usually comes through journaling)
- Meditation and yoga
- Moving my body (working up a sweat)
- Breathing fresh air
- Creating . . . something (anything, really)
Sometimes, when I get busy -- or when my brain gets busy -- I leave one or more of these elements out of my day. (It's usually reflection, which I think is telling.) And when I get overwhelmed with bleak thoughts or the relentless stream (a flow . . . ) of disturbing news, I tend to forget about these five things altogether and approach them in a very haphazard way.
Earlier this month, I realized this was happening again (that haphazard thing). So a couple of weeks ago I made myself a little checklist in my day planner with my 5 basic elements, and I started tracking them and giving myself checkmarks at the end of each day. (I'll do almost anything for a checkmark.) I really concentrated on those 5 elements. Every day.
And with a more steady focus on my 5 things . . . coupled with a pretty extensive "unplugging" (of blogging, of the news, of Instagram, etc.), I'm starting to feel a shift in myself.
I wouldn't quite call it a steady, continuous stream of something quite yet.
But . . . maybe closer.
Did you choose a word for this year? If you did, what have you discovered this month? Be sure to visit Honoré today to read what others have shared about their word.