Life can make us feel constipated. And sometimes, things can feel like their flowing out of control. I’ve had days (particularly as I’ve gotten older) where I feel dried up – then times when suddenly it seems the dry season is over and inspiration rains upon me. This leaves me feeling juicy and sensual and vibrant.
As a writer I experience these different flows in terms of writer’s block or, at the other end of the spectrum, as if I am moving in an endless dance with my muse. And it’s not just about the way I feel. Sometimes the muse refuses to dance, or the book I’m writing insists on being left alone. I’ve been through it enough times that I’ve begun to trust in the different ways of flowing.
For example, I remember when I was writing my first novel I’d look up from my computer and notice dishes piled in the sink and a room that looked like a midden heap with things piled and strewn around. I’d wonder who made this mess? Then I’d realize that I’d been writing for several days solid. It felt great! I’d scroll through my story and be amazed at how much I’d written. I’d been transported to a different realm where only the muse, the story and I were players. I must have eaten and moved about my home, but I wasn’t really aware of any of that.
In these moments, the biggest part of me wanted to get back to that place of inspired writing and keep going. I’d push myself to get back to that place of productivity, that sweet nirvana. But like as not, the muse would refuse to show up or the story would insist on being left to simmer. After a few times of making myself write, I learned that it was a waste of time. The writing was never good and I almost always ended up deleting it entirely.
I soon discovered that the sweet nirvana was not a passing thing. I was able to find it rather consistently – even if it wasn’t always on my time table. So I stopped grabbing for it. When I did find it and then came back to the “real” world, I’d eat, shower, nap and then clean the house. It felt pretty good to clear away the debris of my writing stint and to move my body. I began to treasure the relief of letting go of the muse and the story; the next dance would come soon enough and I’d move again to the rhythm of the work.
Lately, I’ve been challenged in my everyday life around flow. My body insisted that I slow down and listen more closely to it. In fact, I couldn’t really settle into anything. I felt discontent in my work, my social life and my spirituality. Nothing seemed to fit anymore. I’d feel inspiration around a new idea and the next day, it would slip away. I couldn’t follow through with any of the ideas that seemed brilliant just a few hours ago.
Oh, I fought it! I made myself create classes or write essays that never got any traction. Instead of making me feel better, I felt not only discontent, but also felt like a failure. None of the seeds I planted sprouted. Quite honestly, I wondered if I’d just lost it. “It” being my creativity and inspiration.
Somewhere in December, I gave up. I ran out of oomph. I slept, I rested, I hid in my room. I watched TV. Then I got bored.
I have little tolerance for boredom. The world is a marvelous, mysterious, magical place; there’s no excuse for being bored. On the rare occasions in my my life when I’ve gotten to boredom, I quickly went deep so I could really listen to what was going on and/or I changed my environment.
It was time to listen in a new way. What did I hear? You need rest, lots of it; surrender to it. It’s time to change both your inner landscape and your outer landscape. Listen to your body, it will lead the way.
I kept listening. I stopped pressuring myself to be productive. I stopped blaming/shaming myself for this spot I was in. I watched for what was showing up, but I no longer grabbed at things as if they were a life line. I swayed with what showed up to see how it felt and if it’s call would last. If I could move in tune with it for a while, I’d jump in. I felt rather like a young girl playing jump rope in the school yard. If I tensed up and put pressure on myself, I almost always tripped up as I stepped into the swinging rope. If I gave myself a moment to get in tune with the rhythm of the rope’s swing, I’d move into it with grace and could jump for a long time without getting tangled up.
Now here I am in late March, looking back at the last six months or so and seeing it with new eyes. So much change within and around me was happening. At the time, I saw myself as dried up with an inability to start anew. Now, I see that I was flooded with possibility; so much potential was flowing that I couldn’t get any traction. I was a flood plain inundated with new needs and new ways. Instead of waiting for the waters to recede, I kept trying to plant seeds and getting frustrated that nothing took root.
The waters did recede. I’m seeing the incredibly fertile and fecund ground now being revealed. I could plant lots of seeds that would take root and flourish. I could feed millions.
Yet, what truly calls me is the river bed. I find that I have become the water rather than the farmer wanting to plant seeds. What calls me is somewhere down stream. I feel a delicious bubbling anticipation as I find the channel that will take me there.
I treasure the time I spent slowly flowing over the flood plain; I moved through a lot of things and left a lot behind. In listening deeply, I heard the song of the river and am now able to jump into it’s deeper channel and dance my way around the river’s bend to …
I know I’m not the only one who has been challenged to flow differently in my life. I welcome your comments, your stories and any questions. How is your landscape changing?
Blessings to you and whatever you follow or plant. ~ Coleen
Coleen Rhalena Renee is a storyteller, way shower and gifted spiritual healer. She helps clients find their true heart story and teaches them to live well within it. Tap into your dreams and make them realities.
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