How Goes Your Flow?

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

waqas-akhtar-608064-unsplash

Photo by Waqas Akhtar on Unsplash

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 helpstalking to the elements clients find their true heart story and teaches them to live well within it. Tap into your dreams and make them realities.

Find out more about Coleen’s work.  Ask for a free 15 minute consult.

 

#IPromiseMe: My Offering at the Crossroad

I’m in the process of changing my story in a world of chaos that longs for new perspectives – new pathways to write our future. I believe these kinds of change need to begin at the personal level and that we need to trust that the change will ripple out.

As you know, I consider story to be the most vital (and available) tool for re-creating our world into a more loving, sustainable and easy reality. I’ve danced around it, because well it feels so darn personal, but it’s time for me to take the leap, dive in, and openly share my story. It’s clear to me that it is part of my promise to myself – no more hiding.

(excerpt from an earlier post)

I am a large woman. I started putting on weight in grad school, then stayed steady and at menopause gained more weight. The reality is that I’ve been a large woman only half of my life, but I’ve been called fat since before I was a small child. My mother has lots of body image issues and also seems to find her sense of acceptance and being loved in feeding people. As a result, what I felt and saw in the mirror never matched what my family and the world seemed to be telling me. When it came to physicality, I didn’t know what to trust.

 

I need to say that my size has not been a stumbling block in my life. I was often told I was pretty; I’ve always known that I’m smart, witty and creative. I’ve had a good life. I’ve been happy. But I have not been truly connected to my body – my physicality has always been less significant to me.

In the last few years, I’ve experienced inflammation, significant joint pain, teeth issues and low energy. The truth is, I have limited mobility and that scares me.

I’ve been playing a shame and blame game around my body for the last couple years and in my anxiety as I searched for the right foods and answers to my body’s issues – I’ve gotten worse. Then Spider Woman came to me in a journey and taught me a few things about being an empath. Because we’re so sensitive to those around us, empaths often lose track of themselves, of who they are. As a result, we’re often on a lifetime quest to find home.

After chatting, Spider Woman challenged me to find the guideposts upon which to build the web of my life. These guideposts are constant – even when we shed old webs and stop onto new ones. She suggested that my anxiety about not knowing home was directly linked to not identifying my guideposts – and to my physical health.  When you find your guideposts, you will immediately know how to trust them. Your work between the worlds is beautiful, she told me, but you must learn to return to and honor your physical structure.

My first guidepost: I am a sensual nature being. I know the absolute truth of this, immediately. But where is this guidepost? It feels like it’s in an overgrown and neglected garden. Like in the Secret Garden movie, it seems walled off, full of dead things and locked. But I know it has wick; it is alive.

My quest then is to unlock the garden of my first guidepost and tend to it. I commit to this  and to sharing the journey as part of my sacred story.  It feels raw and vulnerable to make this commitment. Voices in my head are asking all sorts of questions – like, what if they think you’re ridiculous or crazy, …

Earthen Body Pic

Photo by Mellissae Lucia http://www.oracleofinitiation.com

But another voice is telling me that this part of storytelling is not about the listeners; it’s about the person living the story and watching it unravel. And another voice is smiling and simply asking me if I’m going to walk my talk. Yes, I choose to risk sharing my story so that you may know my heart.

This photo is from when I participated in Mellissae Lucia’s Painted Body Initiation. I realize now that the experience was a ritual engagement with this guidepost – but I didn’t understand its significance. The link will take you to a post about that experience. Can you sense the guidepost in the experience?

***

I wrote that back in October. I’ve been making small shifts that are feeling very significant. They really seem to be about my relationships – to myself, my work, … I keep coming up on this one particular theme/lesson; I need to stop looking for what might harm me.

It’s so easy in our world to lose our sense of hope and connection, our sense of personal power. Our culture focuses around war, competition, and antagonistic relationships at every level. Even heart-centered campaigns to promote goodness in our world are often offered as a “Fight Against (fill in the blank)”. Our language is full of warlike words.

My relationship with my body, and specifically my diet, as been a campaign to stop bad habits, avoid the poisonous additives, get rid of inflammation, fight off free radicals,…  Is it any wonder that I’ve been struggling? All of these put me in opposition.

In December, I gave up. It was actually a surrender, an acknowledgment that I couldn’t keep up the fight. Since then, I’ve been hearing voices that tell me to rest, to enjoy, to savor. I paid no attention to what foods were good or bad. In fact, I refused to judge them. I ate what I wanted, but in a pretty conscious way. I gained no weight, my pain and inflammation actually calmed and I found an ease that I can’t ever remember having in my relationship with my body. This act of surrender was enough to get me out of my rut.

Two weeks ago, I felt ready to shift things – not because I should; or because if I didn’t I might die or get some horrible disease; or because I needed to look or act in some expected ways. I felt ready to shift because I want to walk the hills in the springtime and I want to dance and play out in nature without worrying about losing my balance. These desires emerged somewhere deep in my being and I chose to join with those desires – to resurrect and reconnect with my sensual nature being.

I re-read a book that I’d found a year ago about the Abascal diet. I’m on the first stage of resetting my body’s baseline needs (my words, they call it the elimination diet, but I am choosing a different frame of reference). I’m doing beautifully and noticing all kinds of little shifts. I was really tired the first few days, but didn’t judge it. I just noticed and let myself sleep. I’m using this stage to rediscover my body and it’s needs. I’m using it to help my body learn to trust me so that we become integrated rather than separate. It’s not optimal to experience my body as something separate, so I’m talking to each part and we’re becoming team mates. I am not separate from nature or from myself.

Today, I got really excited when reading about the intestinal flora. The book talks about how different foods support different bacteria. Their perspective is to feed the friendlies (those bacteria that really help us be more vital). Again, I felt this sense of joining hands for a common purpose. “I have to eat more vegetables.” has shifted to “OK, friendlies, I’m sending you what you need to be vital and I graciously wait for the goodies you will send me to help me be vital.” I am becoming the “hostess with the mostest” – providing well for my guests and reaping the rewards of their generosity in return.

I am carrying such a different story about my physicality. I’m finding the wick in my secret garden and tending tenderly to new shoots as I gratefully clear away and compost what has died.

johnson-chou-6691

Photo by Johnson Chou on Unsplash

I am enjoying this process of rediscovery and having fun learning to become more and more in harmony with myself and the world around me. I’ll tell you more about conversations with my body in the next post.

Thank you for witnessing my story.  ~ Coleen