So I’ve been having a lot more contact with the 20 something generation lately (to my delight!) and I’m finding an interesting thought brought about by the way that they use language. I find it fascinating how each generation uses language differently. I had an email in which there was a comment by my friend that she could get together “when it flows”. That, in turn, got me thinking about the way that this phrase came about during my generation’s self-discovery period and remembered that it was related to not holding on to grudges and allowing emotion to flow freely (i.e. free love).
This idea of flowing has morphed into a new meaning over the years – first it became about letting go of the past and all the burdens associated with it, then it was about being flexible in life, mind and body and now, it has moved into the language in such a way as it refers to a way of being in daily life.
Hmmm, interesting. As I pondered the idea that I offer a time to meet “when it flows” I realized that this could be (if taken literally) quite a challenge. The essence of the word flow suggests movement, not being static or still. So, in order to find a time to meet, we would need to actually create a time that would not flow, but in fact, remain constant. The good news is that the languaging didn’t become an actual obstacle (this time) to our success. The fact remains that words are very important in our communications, both internally and externally.
Then, I was watering in the garden and another concept of flow struck me. I had just replaced my old watering wand with a new one. I was observing how the flow of the water from the new wand was strong, open and clear. It took me less time to water with this wand than it did with the old one, though I hadn’t been aware that the old one was so inefficient as the water flowed out of it easily when it was turned on. One of the features of a watering wand is to keep the spout open so the water can flow continuously. There are many settings as to the way in which the water flows (spray, tilt, soak, mist, jet, shower) and is a clear indication that there are many qualities to water and the idea of flowing. These different settings give a variety of effects. So, what would happen if it got stuck on flowing continuously?
So, think about it. When the water flows well, it gives the plants the amount of water that they can use. When the water flows too strongly, it can damage the plants or flood them, making for numerous problems. When the water doesn’t flow enough, the plants don’t receive a sufficient amount for them to grow well and flourish.
To bring this into our lives as human beings, it is one thing for life to feel like it is flowing smoothly – activities and opportunities are coming our way in a fashion that we can readily respond to in a comfortable manner. Or, life is flooding us like a raging river with excessive amounts of information and requirements that we are unable to effectively respond to – overwhelm and paralysis often resulting.
What do I do when life is flowing in a way that doesn’t fit me right now? Do I ignore the signs of stress that build up in me when my flow doesn’t match those around me and allow myself to get tumbled down the river bumping into the rocks along the way? Or do I slow down in the flow of my life to find the stillness of the peaceful stream, look and feel closely the undercurrents that are swimming in my subconscious and make a decision for action from there.
Give it a try and see how much your swim through life will improve.