What is flow? We are conditioned to separate and compare that which appears to be opposite. Yin and yang, night and day, love and fear, light and dark, stillness and motion, man and woman, inhalation and exhalation to name a few. We focus on the differences and consider polarity to be mutually exclusive. To understand flow we must understand they are not exclusive but interdependent.
In other words one can not exists without the other and one generates more of the other. So the real question is not what is flow but rather how do we be in harmony with flow? The answer exists inside each of us and is found in the moment and in acceptance.
Life only exists in this moment. The past is passed and the future is yet to unfold. Therefore we only can be in flow when we are truly living moment to moment. This does not mean not having desires, goals or vision. This means realizing and respecting how we feel now. Not denying, suppressing or projecting our emotions but simply allowing them to be. Listening to our bodies and taking the action or inaction it requires.
Yang generates more yin and vice versa. Consider the flow of a river. We can paddle upstream until we exhaust ourselves and flow back to where we began or we can kick back and flow downstream effortlessly, only paddling to avoid obstructions and barriers. We can not have effort with effortlessness.
I speak from experience. I once thought I needed to push my body and mind daily to be balanced. It was only when I slowed down and began living in the moment did I see the flaws in my efforts. I was pushing my body and mind hard everyday. I was living in the future while neglecting the moment. Consider exercise as an example. Most exercise because of how they want their bodies to be in the future. Meanwhile they neglect to appreciate the activity while performing it. They are too busy thinking about how this activity will assist them tomorrow and have therefore lost how it serving them now. They are not enjoying the activity in its fullest expression and likely never asked if it is best serving them at this time.
We live in a society where rest and relaxation or yin is not valued. We are expected to bust our asses and grind to “get ahead”. To better ourselves and subsequently our lives. We deny our polarity when we do this. We create imbalance. Imbalance that can lead to suffering and disease. We believe that paddling upstream is somehow more efficient than flowing downstream. Therefore flow is living in the moment, flow is the letting go of the illusion of control. Working with nature rather than against her. Allowing things to be as they are and accepting that which is. Flow is living for the sake of living. Enjoying the ride.
Learn to listen to your energy. Your thoughts and emotions. Respect the cycles of life, the cues of the body. Allow your intuition to guide all your activities. Sleep when tired. Exercise when energized. Eat when hungry. Cry when sad. Rejoice when happy. It is that simple. Like breathing we do not need to think about it. We relax when we inhale and contract when we exhale. Yin and Yang my friends.
Dan McGinley RN BSN