According to the Cambridge dictionary, flow means: to move along in a stream, as water does. An aside – what originally got me interested in Japanese Psychology, was a book with the intriguing title of Playing Ball on Running Water. Next came The Tao, and my favourite Verse 8-Man at His Best is Like Water. The truth is, water has been a part of my life since childhood, and the closer I am to water, the better I feel.
So, as I was noticing and thinking about moments this week. I thought of how water flows along in a stream and how my moments seemed to flow gently from one to the next, this week. It may be pragmatic rather than poetic, since every intersection in my neighbourhood has a river, as the snow melts, and the water freezes and melts again.
I relate to the descriptions and observations over the ages and cultures of water going around obstacles, wearing down rough edges, seeking its own level and changing in a moment. If you have lived by the ocean, you know how the ocean or lake can change in a matter of moments from calm to crashing waves. The boater needs to be alert, skillful and adaptable. You learn to read the weather. And you can be mistaken.
Changing my Mind
I was mistaken this week about dog (Sasha) sitting. My daughter’s family drove to New York City for spring break. And I said yes to stay with Sasha, and Ryan the cat. This may seem like nothing special but for me a non-cat and a non-dog person, it was a very big YES!
I was worried about how this might unfold. Still, here it is 5/7 days and we are all still standing. It helps that I’ve learned to speak dog. Fortunately, Sasha is highly evolved and patiently teaches me her language: a cock of the head, a sun salutation; a woof, two woofs and a bark. Rather like morse code. And our walks have been interesting. She has no regard for the ice or the rivulets and although not that big at 40 pounds we make for an odd sight as she pulls ahead and I am holding the reins.
Anyone who knows me would be surprised to see how I have adapted and I thoroughly surprise myself. This is what comes from trying to have an open mind and saying yes. Actually, I will admit that I too love this fluffy and gentle dog that has taken the whole family under her paw and basically brings nothing but joy to the household. I just didn’t know that I could do this on my own.
A bonus on the weekend was a four hour workshop with Oliver Burkeman. It was held over two days on Designing Your System for Creativity. (a roadmap for imperfect creativity) The program was excellent, for me, and it gave me good ideas for my own webinars and workshops. Learning new things is a forever aspect of my ikigai.
Four of his suggestions that I like for getting around roadblocks when it comes to projects are:
For a writer- my book doesn’t cover all the bases. He calls this the textbook fallacy that you think you need to address every bit of the topic but all you need to do is lead the reader across a series of lily pads through the water. Only a text book needs to resemble a textbook.
I’m torn between two different paths forward. Decisions don’t depend on seeing the path; they reveal the path. When you are stuck with two compelling choices, it matters less which one you choose. What is important is to take a decision and that will reveal the path. Maybe down the road you change your mind but not making a decision, nothing happens.
Everything’s too up in the air for me to focus right now. And you expect this situation to change, when, exactly?
Write down in one sentence, a daily deliverable you could complete tomorrow. A commitment to take one step forward…maybe a 30 day committment to do tiny sketches or take a photo or walk 50 steps. Or prepare five slides for your ppt. There is freedom and liberation in small accomplishments everyday. We don’t need great ideas rather we need to show up everyday and do something. Those great ideas emerge through the doing. And you all know i am not talking about productivity or the treadmill. I am talking about the things we say we want to do or try or learn and we don’t get started because of “obstacles.”
I had planned to keep this blog post short and I have barely begun. So, I need to reel myself in and come to a close. Yet, there was a stimulating and joyful conversation with a logotherapist in Germany and a specialist in Lisbon on Ikigai and Illness; Kintsugi and the work of Viktor Frankl. I hope it will happen again.
Unexpected treasures arrived by postal mail; phone messages; emails; texts and from readings. These ordinary things enlarge when we take notice and realize how fortunate we are even with our share of troubles.
1:) The banner photo is at the Metropolitan Opera in NYC. My son in law is lucky enough to be in attendance for La Traviata tonight. NY looks good in the rain too. And finally a sign of spring and hope from Gabriola Island. Thanks to my family photographers.
2:) I have now taken two courses from Oliver Burkeman and I enjoy them. They are not formulistic (is this a word?) nor is he.
3:)”Nature teaches us simplicity and contentment, because in its presence we realize we need very little to be happy,” Mark Coleman
4:) This also is true. “For all of us there comes a time when the oars fail, when there is nothing left to do but surrender to the great unknown.” Noelle Oxenhandler
5:) We always need to adapt our practices to what works for us. I have stopped going to my 75 minute exercise class and only go for 45 minutes. This has made all the difference. Trust your self.
6:) Finally, I thank you for dropping by. You have no idea how you improve my life as you keep me company here. Warmest wishes and next week will be spring equinox, Monday Mar 20th at 5:24 EDT
When I read something I tend to skip ahead thinking I can just get the gist of it and that will be enough. Then I find I need to go back and read a sentence or a paragraph again because I missed something that will help me understand. In the end I don’t understand or enjoy what I’m reading because I am constantly going back or skipping all over the place and I have to force myself to SLOW DOWN and just READ whatever it is carefully and once. With your blog, I set out to consciously read it carefully and once, so I can enjoy the messages you so beautifully convey. Thank you for making me realize I need to do this – and making me do it!
Dear Georgie: thank you so much for this kind and thoughtful comment. I am truly honoured by your diligence. 🙂 how lucky am I. Warm regards, trudy
I want to live like a river flows, carried by the surprise of its own unfolding – John O’Donohue. This came to mind as soon as you started to talk about flow. So many possibilities as you well know. thank you dear Trudy. xoxo
Don’t you just love that quote of O’Donohue’s. It is one of my favourite’s and I could have used it yesterday. Thank you so
much for posting it here dear Janice. A deep bow to you. Xo