Can there ever be too much summer? Even though the calendar says we have until later in the month, the start of September always feels like the end. We’d like a little more, but seasonal cycles prevail and the world returns to its regularly scheduled program.
Sometimes, though, it can be tough. There is such a looseness to summer. Lengthy days, languid weather, a longer tether to normal routines.
Maybe there can be too much summer. We say we need to get “back in the swing” or “refocused”. We have to “regroup”. September feels like the right time to do so, but we feel scattered and untethered. Now, where was I???
Does this resonate with you? If so, perhaps summer has pulled you out of flow.
Flow, that hum deep in our bodies when we are in connected to what makes us come alive. Just like the stream that moves unimpeded, steadily, from its source. It is a meeting of your life forces that can propel you toward the manifestation of what is most important to you.
This manifestation doesn’t need to be world altering, but it does need to have meaning for you. When you step into this flow, you allow your own life to be altered.
What is most important to you as you move forward into this new season?
It’s not just summer that pulls us out of flow. Life offers many distractions and externally imposed changes. When you feel detached to the important and are just running in circles with the urgent, your initial response may be to just stop everything. However, when you recognize that feeling, it might not be the best time to do nothing.
What generates flow and that lovely hum? How do you get reconnected to your purpose?
Here are five suggestions to help you ease into flow:
"Stop a minute, right where you are. Relax your shoulders, shake your head and spine like a dog shaking off cold water. Tell that imperious voice in your head to be still."
~ Barbara Kingsolver
Oh, boy. That can still be a hard one for me. How about you?
When I was first confronted with the challenge of “just being” I was very apprehensive. I was going off on a weekend retreat at the beach with two writing buddies. We were going to write and be quiet and “just be.”
“I don’t know if I can do that”, I told my friends. “It feels really hard to not be doing.” A weekend that should have been the ultimate in relaxation was becoming fraught with anxiety.
They indulged me. You see, they were a lot further along in their being-ness. An ad for a local coffee shop lightened things up by inspiring the alternative of just “beaning”. That, in turn, christened us “Beaners.” Aah, okay, much easier. I could work with that.
Years later we continue to riff on "beaning" and have fun with it. I, in turn, am much more in tune with the need to “just be”. I’m not always great at it, but my anxiety has lessened.
My discomfort stemmed from a belief that I needed to be productive. Constantly. I know how unrealistic this is. At least my head does. However, somewhere in my vast unconscious, this idea has taken up residence and thrived.
I came to understand that my idea of productivity might be a little skewed. Multitasking and buzzing around is not always the best use of my time. Ping-ponging between different to-dos in different categories leaves me exhausted and feeling that I’ve haven’t gotten enough done. I gave this mistaken definition of productivity its eviction notice.
That space is now occupied by the gentle understanding that being on a walk or being with a thought or being fully with my husband or family gifts me with spaciousness. Ideas arrive, as if on wings. Thoughts are completed. The creative process flows with ease. That is a style of productivity that, while initially counter-intuitive to me, is much more desirable.
I love this quote by Kafka:
You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.”
What would you have “rolling in ecstasy at your feet?” “Do not even listen”, he advises. He, too, is saying ignore the imperious voice. When we do that we move out of our head and into our wisdom.
How can I do this, you ask, in this fast-paced crazy world we live in? I don’t have time to just sit and wait.
I hear ya!
But, here is what I have discovered:
Claim small moments of just being.
Tell that voice to be quiet.
Be curious about what shows up.
Accept, without judgement, the offerings of the world.
Watch them "roll in ecstasy at your feet".
Can you just be? Or, maybe, just bean.
What's your story? Need help with editing? Contact me to see how we can begin a re-write.
My niece, Olivia, is a brand, spanking new, science teacher. (That is oversimplifying the brilliant young woman she is. She is chronicling her first year as a resident teacher here.) At her graduation party she started telling us about some chemistry thing where stuff adheres to other stuff. The word “chelate” came up. My brain began to get tangled. I said, “Tell me why I should care.”
She proceeded to tell us a story about arsenic and how understanding its chemical properties got a murder charge dismissed for a woman who had spent 17 years in jail.
Now I get it.
It makes sense.
Story brings facts and ideas to life. It organizes thoughts and makes them accessible. It translates theory into reality. It can deliver the satisfaction of understanding, even if the facts are not pleasant. It can connect us to our own truth.
We all live from a story. That story has either been created by us or given to us. Either way, if you fail to connect with and evaluate that story, it can be an uneasy fit. If it's not the right story, your actions will be out of kilter. You'll get lost. You'll end up going through life acting out someone else's story.
What’s your story, morning glory?
Is it the story you want to be telling? Living? Especially as you move into and through your second half of life?
Hey, life is too short to be in the wrong story.
Pull out your editing tools.
When I write, I edit to strengthen the narrative. I want to make it more compelling and genuine. I cut out what’s not working and insert what does work. I try to not write around things or embellish. I want it tight and true.
Does it flow? Does it make sense. Is it grammatically correct. Does it move forward a premise or plot?
Or, does it lose the reader (and the author!) in a disorganized ramble? Where the heck is this thing going? It makes no sense!
It’s the same thing with your story.
"At any point in your story, you are free to reimagine the narrative you are living."
Wouldn’t you rather live the story that actually features you?
You can. It’s not difficult. (It’s also not an overnight re-write.)
What it takes is some imagining, deconstructing, reconstructing, reimagining. This brain play, partnered with small steps, will move you forward and soon you will find yourself in your new story. A story you have created.
We can't go through the entire process in one blog post. However, you can start. If I asked you what you’d be doing if money were no object, what would you say? (Now, now, I heard that snorted “as-if”!)
Let yourself imagine. Nothing is holding you back. Go for it!
Let the ideas come fully into your imagination. Don’t rush. In fact, take a few days and ask yourself frequently: What would I be doing if I could be anyone or do anything I wanted? Get to know these characters up close and personal. Cultivate them. Begin to picture bits of them in your life. Take a peek beneath the dreams and look for the “why”.
Find a way to capture these thoughts – a small notebook, the recording app on your phone, a journal.
This is your first step.
What’s the new story looking like?
Tell me, what’s the dream?
Kathy Kane blogs about the creative process in the everyday, in writing and in the magical transition to the second half of life.
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