Sunday, July 15, 2012

Faith and Flow

In my last few posts, I've written about some happy things- my life now, my decision not to flirt with regret- and mostly, my life is Good. I have the love of my family and friends, I have a job I love, I have my health. What I also have is a propensity to behave in one of two ways: 1) as a locked vault, or 2) as an open book.

When my life is going well, when I have Balance, I'm apt to be the book, to have faith that what I'm doing and how I'm behaving and all that is happening around me is all part of a bigger plan. Put another way: I have flow.

flow (noun): the action or fact of moving along in a steady, continuous stream.

More than that definition though, I have flow as defined by Mihaly Csikszentmihaly, flow when you get so involved in something that you forget time, you forget how you feel, where your awareness of your actions fades into action alone. It is an amazing experience.

My day-to-day flow, the one I've been working so diligently on mastering, recently swelled and surged and hit the wall. Slammed right into that fucker, pounding pounding pounding, and me, holding holding holding. And then a break like I haven't experienced in some time. I should have been prepared for this, but I was not.

I was removed from my day-to-day due to work obligations and then the July 4th holiday. I should have seen it coming. Work was stressful enough without having to manage things from across the country. And the holiday? Well, seeing all of the happy families and reunions and couples and young people all around me- oblivious to anything other than their own joy- just crushed me. And then the wasband went further and stomped more, twisting and grinding me down further. The somber rain clouds and quick but violent storm on July 4th was not lost on me, oh! pathetic fallacy!

Look at that photo above. That one rock? Its me, its you. We are solid and stable and here and we exist in this place with all the chaos, with the Holy Mess that is our Life. You are the rock in the river, and every so often, you work yourself loose. You get jostled and pushed and pounded along the river, tumbling, moving to the surface with the current or getting pushed down further to the silty bottom. Eventually you bump into a few things- a fallen tree branch, another rock, a dead animal- and experience some pain before you nestle into a new spot where you once again get used to all that surrounds you, the routine of family, friends, lovers, work, Life. This takes time, of course:

"Experience has taught me how important it is to keep going...Eventually [pain] passes and the flow returns." - Frank Shorter

I took a few days and sat at the beach, meditating on that quote, thought about how it applied to me, and to my life, my current crisis of faith, and how contemplation could repair my flow; I was looking for proof. To maintain flow, it is said that one must seek out increasingly greater challenges; attempting these new challenges stretches our skills, forces us to seek feedback. Lack of feedback blocks flow.

I was in the Holy Mess stage. I wasn't looking for a place to nestle into- I was too deep in with anger and frustration and jealousy and fear. I was blind to the faith meant to guide me, I had no one person to guide me out of the dark water, back to the lightness at the surface. (That, dear friends- "Be the place I nestle into. Always."- can be added to that list for My Best New Boyfriend.) I was low. I faked being happy wherever I went those few days. Three people could see through my act, and their guidance helped me more than words can express. Feedback, right?

And then I refocused. I went back to work, I got back into a routine. I did my laundry and washed the dishes, I went to the gym. I ignored calls from my wasband. I hugged children and I laughed. I am still wobbly, but I have recommitted to waking up every day to find joy and express gratitude for this, my Holy Mess of a Life. Proof be damned.

"Faith is not belief without proof, but trust without reservations."- Elton Trueblood

My flow has not resumed it's full momentum, but I trust that I'm moving in the right direction. Go with the flow, friends.


Steph Pf said...


Passer said...

Wisdom is a comb you get when you are bald. You begin to sound wise, liked the rock metaphor. Thing about rocks, or stones, is that even though the rolling ones gather no moss, they don't gather anything else either.
The only way to "grow your own sea legs" is by sailing. Never found anyone that can cope with a storm without having heard a thunder, seen a lightning or gotten wet by rain.
Hope I wasn't to cryptic.
Abrazo (Hug in Spanish)

Ms. Fix said...

Those rocks gather lots! They get buffed and smoothed out from the gentle abrasion of the flow. They get scars from other rocks bumping into them. They get warmed by the sun.

Not too cryptic, but a nice reflection- thank you! :)

Passer said...

True. Interesting way of putting it.