Saturday, April 03, 2010

in the flow

I've been thinking about why I chose this background photo for the blog, specifically wondering what it is about water and stone and movement that so captivates me.

On one level it's because the image nearly perfectly represents one of my favorite states of being. I've always called it "being in the flow." It used to be something I got mostly when writing fiction, but after I started riding horses again I realized: all my years of riding as a girl had been about finding that same flow.

Something magical happens when I write and when I ride. I no longer feel the limitations of my body, the stream of thoughts that normally fills my head disappears. It's the purest sense of being in the moment, being present and losing track of everything outside my characters or the horse I'm riding.

The thing about being in the flow is that once you find it, however you find it, it begins to seep into the rest of your life. Being in the flow in the bigger sense means things begin to fall into place without you trying very hard or even at all to make them happen. Synchronicity reveals itself. Suddenly you encounter things that have special meaning to you. You think of an old friend and she calls. You write a chapter about crows and when you look out your window there they are.

Suddenly everything seems connected and moving through the day seems effortless.

I'm not always in the flow. But when I made a commitment to write the first novel, and then the second one, and then the third one, and when I made the late-night decision to do a search for my dream horse, and found him, I also made the decision to open my life to being in the flow on a regular basis. At some point it overruns the boundaries of writing and riding and more often than not, there you are.

Living with our horses makes it easy to find the flow when things get a little crazy. It's sometimes easier to walk out to the barn than it is to open the Word file with the current novel in progress. Often enough walking out to the barn gets me in the flow and riding nearly always pushes the novel writing into higher gear. I didn't set out to create this pattern, but when I happened to find it, I recognized its value and I try not to forget it.

The way to finding the flow is through doing things you love that put you in a heightened state of being at least some of the time, regularly.

The other thing about the photograph of water and stone that speaks deeply to me:  the symbols of the elements themselves. Water is my element. When I get stressed, a bath or shower helps. I love creeks and rivers and lakes and oceans. Waterfalls and the sound of a slow rain. My calming meditation is a rough, turbulent ocean calming to perfect stillness. Water can be deep and still, it can move.

And then there's stone. I've always loved the mountains. Stone formations. The sense of groundedness they bring. I often imagine energy flowing down through my forehead, through my body, into the earth below. Lying on a big piece of stone, particularly one warmed by the sun, is a sure way to settle myself. 

Water flowing over stone is a powerful combination.

Water. The flow. Grounding.


Grey Horse Matters said...

It's a beautiful background. I can identify with all that you've said. I need to always live near the water but I love the mountains too. This picture seems the best of both. Good choice for going with the flow.

Matthew said...

Beautiful picture, and beautiful description of Flow.

Enchanted Forrest said...

Such a lovely post. The beautiful, elemental image of water and stone speaks to me for many of the same reasons.

billie said...

Arlene, when I lived in Los Gatos, CA and then Hollywood it amazed me that mountains and the ocean were so close to one another. (unlike here in NC where you either to one or the other but never both together!)

billie said...

Thanks, Matthew. This actually reminds me of some of your photographs. It could be from Elkmont.

billie said...

Hi, Sue! I suspect it's archetypal - the attractions we have to the elements. Hope you're well. We need to figure out a visit.

Victoria Cummings said...

I love this post and your new look. I agree completely!

billie said...

Thanks, Victoria. It seems like many of us who write love water and stone.

Jane said...

This is absolutely gorgeous, both the post and the new blog look. Lovely!

billie said...

Thank you, Jane. I initially thought I'd play around more with some different looks, but this one grew on me quickly and I didn't mess with it any more!

Mystic-lit has a new look too - fun to change things up once in awhile!