Soul Food

Flow

When I’m in it, I want to bottle it. I want to unpick what it is, yet to stop and consider, risks ruining it. Flow. 

Contradictorily, risk seeps from flow. Let’s unpick.

Intent

I’m more than aware that plans change. Goals move. Previous decisions are no longer what I want today. The world has a funny way of letting us know that we’re not actually in control. It can all come crashing down in an instance. Jobs disappear. Accidents happen. Partners change their minds about us. Us them. But without knowing. Without putting a stake in the ground as to which direction we want to go in, for me at least, it can all feel a little wobbly. Even if that direction is short term.  Even if that decision is ‘I’m confused’. If you don’t know what you want today. Say it with intent of its own. With permission. Permission to oneself, myself, that today’s decision is not to make one. For now, I know what I want from my life. And it all finally makes sense. Will that be the same tomorrow. I truly don’t know. How could I? Tomorrow can throw the unexpected curveball. And then I’ll have another decision or choice to make.

Space

Head space. Heart space. It can’t be underestimated. Room to reflect. To feel. To stop hiding. How can I really enjoy the world if I’m running through it? And I’m good at that. I’m getting better at slowing. Better at creating those moments. That space. As Sarah Millican said as I watched her host the excellent Standard Issue podcast show a few weeks back. Say ‘No’. ‘No, it doesn’t work for me.’ ‘No I’m choosing me.’ Choosing to do what I know is important for me, for me to have a clearer head, for me to have energy, be happy. If I fill my life doing the things that I genuinely always want to do, then there’s just no room for me. And that can’t be healthy. It isn’t. Indeed, saying no to others can also be their gift. Their opportunity to do something new, do it themselves, create for them. It’s really not a negative. Free space for me means stillness. Where I can sit and feel. Tap into what’s really going on in my body. To listen to it. To ask it questions. To listen to its answers. ‘Is this what you want? Does your heart believe? Does it leap? And my body tells me. I can still lie to myself to say what I think my head wants to hear, but eventually it will show me. Either by collapsing into sickness, feeling out-of-sorts, being irritable, feeling angry or judgemental. All those feelings mask the lies I tell myself. 

Sleep

Nothing can beat bed. Rest and sleep. Years ago, when I was travelling round the world I dreamt of a king size bed with crispy white sheets, full of pillows, pure wool mattress topper (thank you Andrea!). Falling into bed is always pure pleasure. Adrianna Huffington talks relentlessly about it, because without rest our cellular frames can’t function. So many of us are sleep deprived and we don’t recognise it. It improves our health, our memory, our moods, our immunity. To sleep without an alarm feels luxurious, yet that should be natural. We should wake when our body has had enough. I don’t think it’s about hours or numbers, but about what individual body’s require.

I gave up alcohol 3 months ago (that’s a whole other blog), and I slept 10 hours a night in the early days. My body was taking full advantage of winding down. Of not being controlled by anything else. Switching off the mind helps, not always easy I know, but with phones off, no TV in the room, windows open, fresh air passing my face, and a mindset of letting go of the day, it all helps. My body feels better. My mind feels clearer. I feel more alive.

All the other stuff

One of my life teachers, Andrew Wallas observes the flow in nature and our own systems. Rivers, oceans, cycle of life, cardiovascular and circulatory systems. It’s natural and essential. When it’s blocked. We know about it. When it’s flowing, we feel vibrant, alive and we thrive, and yet we are all dependent on others to make it work.

The list could therefore go on. Letting go, less judgement, improved self esteem, appreciation, regular exercise, compassion, trusted friends, family, drinking plenty of water, eating fresh and nutritious foods, living without knowing, embracing the shadow. They all play significant rolls. Without them, the balance is out. Each entwined with other. Each, when out of synch, let’s me know. Let’s hope this flow lasts more than minutes, days or months. It all depends how deep my roots are, how solid my foundations, and how in-tune I am with myself and others. 

What is the feeling? Things just slot into place. Someone calls you just as you’re thinking you want to see them. The money appearing when you’ve forgotten that you need it. Everything feeling timely. Timely that space has been created for that coffee with your best friend, for rest, for that walk, for me to finish an essay, or to take the holiday I’ve been dreaming of. Conversations I expected might be challenging, are easier. Emotions just flow. 

Its unresistant. I’m no longer fighting it. I’m not controlling or trying to control what happens next. Others are supporting me and willing me on my desires. Time flows. 

To end, as I feel into the flow of this short piece, Ben Barnett’s meditation landed in front of me. Loving the synchronicity of life, I listened to it as it sent me to sleep. He considers flow in relation to aging. Take a listen and enjoy.

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