As the holidays keep approaching – they’re actually already here, but I’m playing denial – I keep hearing one word over and over. Not in my head, but actually coming out of other people’s mouths. Yes, I did somehow think that clarification needed to be made.
The word is “flow”.
Last week, I drove to Sedona and back to spend time with my family in one of my most favorite places on earth. I have many flow allusions and metaphors and insights as a result.
I crossed several rivers and creeks, and am always enthralled by flowing water. I could watch water flow over rocks for hours and hours. Sometimes I do just that. On the surface it appears so gentle and easy. But appearances are deceiving, right? I men, I know the power of white water. but standing amid the red rock of Sedona, or thinking about the Grand Canyon I just have to admit the power of that flowing water which carved those great landscapes. Gradually, over time, but powerfully none the less.
Flow is a powerful force.
I drove in many instances of heavy traffic, as I’m sure you can imagine. Many people were (finally) able to get out and see people and places and things. Traffic is usually horrible and miserable over the Thanksgiving weekend. But I noticed something different this time. Usually, driving in traffic is stop and go torture, because there are always a few jackasses passing on the right and then pulling back into the left lane into a narrow space so that everyone behind them has to slam on the brakes. (You know who those idiots are!) But this time, there were long periods where traffic flowed smoothly and swiftly and safely, despite the number of vehicles on the road. I mean long, like hours long. People working together, being patient and considerate. Flow.
Flow can be a communal experience for a common goal.
As I sat down to write this, the moderator of my writing group simply said, “You know what we do here. Let it flow.” You know me and coincidences – I don’t believe in randomness. So I took it as a sign that flow was today’s topic. And look! Words! They’re just flowing into my fingers and out of the keyboard. When I sit down to write and am totally absorbed in the experience, in the thoughts, in my writing voice, it’s one of the best feelings I know. Or when I’m swimming laps and I have the rhythm just write. Or when my acapella group is making beautiful sounds and we don’t have to stop and fix anything. Or when I’m coaching someone and we just click into a deep conversation. Or when you spend an evening of laughing and playing games with family. All of these (and more) are what it’s like to be in the flow. It feels surprisingly easy and incredibly good.
I think flow may just be our natural state.
I don’t mean just going along. That’s not the same thing. That doesn’t have the same feeling of ease and goodness. I believe that we can tell the difference between flow and just going along – there’s a feeling of wrongness that kicks in – our conscience, our inner truth-finder. Flow is not 100% passive, because it requires our active participation. And yes, sometimes we need to swim upstream, buck the current, be changemakers. But I think that might also be flow – the kind that sculpts human landscapes.
In the meantime, remember these things: You are loved. We are all loved. Let’s all be kind. And in all things – progress, not perfection!
Love and light,
p.s. Are you a leader who wants to rise to the next level? Are you a leader who wants to hone in on and develop your own leadership style? Or do you just have questions? Send me an email and we can set up a time to talk: firstname.lastname@example.org