One Little Word: Flow

Be Like Water

"Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless, like water.  If you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup.  You put water in a bottle and it becomes the bottle.  You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot.  Now, water can flow, or it can crash.  Be like water, my friend."
    --- Bruce Lee


I've been struggling a little bit these last few days.  Which has kind of surprised me, actually.  I mean . . . I should be really good at "self-isolating."  I have my knitting and sewing and art projects.  I have plenty of things to read.  I've got a well-stocked pantry. Streaming services.  The daily New York Times crossword puzzle.  Friends and family to talk to.  Tom at home.  Dogs to walk.  Plenty of cleaning and home-organizing tasks.  Gardening when the weather allows.  Really.  I have no end of things to occupy myself.  And I'm an introvert, to boot!  I actually enjoy quiet time at home!

And yet . . . 

While I'm not exactly anxious, I am definitely . . . unsettled, scattered, finding it hard to focus.  

So yesterday I spent some time meditating.  
And journaling.  
And I started thinking about . . . flow.

Be like water, my friend.

Keep moving.  
Tumble and rush over the rocks.  
Move smoothly around the obstacles in your path.  
Push outside the banks and boundaries.  
Rest quietly behind the log jams.  

Be like water, my friend.




Today in the Look for Joy department, I have 2 things for you:

Thing 1:  If you'd like another Instagram distraction especially good for These Days, check out @goodnewsmovement. It's full of joy.  Also smiles and good chuckles.

Thing 2:  Knit designer Heather Sebastian is offering all her little "monster" patterns for free right now over on Ravelry.  She wants to "bring some light into this sad, scary situation we’re all in - and what better way than with monsters!"  I have knit her Minions before -- and they are adorable!  Yeah, they're futsy knitting.  But also fun.  And cheery.  Joyful, even. 


And in the COVID-19 department:

Do the empty shelves at the grocery store trouble you?  Maybe this article will help you feel better.

Stay well.
Wash your hands.
Flatten the curve.


Starting Things Off

"Flow doesn't come to those who try to do things well.  It comes to those who try to do things freely."
                    --- Barry Michaels


Each year, I always begin to think about and work with my "one little word" the same way:  by inviting the word into my life.


I start with tangible things:

  • I find quotes that inspire.
  • I put the word in front of me.
  • I start a word-inspired playlist.
  • I identify books I want to read.
  • I create a dedicated word journal.
  • I search for a poem.

This kind of "stuff" helps me get my word firmly in my head, and sets the tone for the thinking-work ahead. 

Next, I come up with a list of . . . things? activities? themes? . . . that might help me link up with my word through the year.  Of course, this kind of list - put together at the beginning of the year - will change and evolve as the year goes on, but it does give me a place to begin.  

On my list this year:

  • Pay attention to things that flow (lunar cycles, my attention span, water . . . ).
  • Give myself space (in my life, in my days, in my closet . . . ) to let ideas and thoughts flow more freely.
  • Practice flow, especially related to my own creative activities.
  • Analyze my own work flow -- figuring out how to give my days the structure I need while still allowing flow to happen.
  • Show up in the "now" with intentional work on mindfulness and presence.
  • Explore the work of Mihaly Csikzentmihalyi, the founder of the "flow state" concept in psychology.
  • Bring more yoga-flow to my life by doing . . . even more yoga.
  • Let love flow by more intentionally practicing kindness.


I have no clever conclusions or meaningful progress or life changes to report yet.  Just forward movement -- and a whole lot of ideas!


If you choose a word, what are some things you do as the year begins?