Flowriding: going with the flow. Riding the current, the ‘what is happening in this moment’ rather than letting one’s thoughts get in the way. Flowriding is coming to the understanding that life ebbs and flows and learning to not push against it but flow with it.
Today I received an important lesson in slowing down. You would think that 6 months overseas walking would have slowed me down enough. Maybe not. It has made me evaluate what is important but at the same time old habits are hard to break.
I am so used to thinking I am ‘in control’ of my life. I take responsibility for my decisions and actions, and am a high achiever.
Achieving high can be addictive. There is a rush that I experience creating big goals and doing whatever it takes to achieve them. In my rush to achieve lofty goals I forget that I am human, not super-human and it can often be at the expense of my health.
The last few weeks since being back in Australia I have felt motivated to get into busy mode again and start to achieve new goals. With Christmas and New Year’s in the way however, this meant slowing down not speeding up.
A lot of us aim high which sees us rush through life. Dealing with a slow start to the year with my business as others are taking a break is challenging!
Go With The Slow
I am working on a number of projects but I am waiting for others in order to continue with the projects. In the meantime I am keen to start new projects. I find slow times ‘challenging’, however slow times provide a great opportunity to make the most of the slow.
Rather than fight the slowdown. Rather than worry and be filled with anxiety that I am not reaching my high goals, the slow reminds me to live in the present. To stop holding on against the current (what is) but to let go and enjoy the slow floating down the stream of life. Suffering is holding to ‘what isn’t’ rather than going with ‘what is’.
So I succumbed to the slow last Monday morning by going for bush walks up in Springbrook National Park. Having no pressing appointments meant that I could slow down and enjoy the moment, to not worry about getting in new work, to not chase existing Clients to continue projects.
Life gifts us with lessons when we are open to receiving them. As soon as I arrived at the start of one of my most favourite walks I was given my gift.
I have walked the Twin Falls circuit walk numerous times but I had never noticed what was engraved on the plaque at the beginning of the walk on a stone post. The plaque had the words “WARRIE NATIONAL PARK” which commemorates the preservation on 11th March 1937 of this incredibly scenic area of mountain cliffs with waterfalls plunging into pristine subtropical rainforest below. This area is now part of Springbrook National Park.
Gifts In Disguise
You are probably wondering where is the gift? Well, the gift is doubly powerful and was in the name this area was once called. First I thought WARRIE sounded like “worry” and so the lesson for me was to chill out and stop worrying. The word WARRIE is an aboriginal word that means “rushing”, and no doubt the area was named as such because of the ‘rushing waters’ that cascade over the sheer cliffs into the valley below.
Before I even started the walk I was given a clear message – “don’t worry and stop rushing”.
Many of us live lives full of busyness and rushing. We rush to get to work, rush to complete tasks, rush to pick up the kids. We rush through life so quickly that before you know it, it’s over.
Regret is when we look back and wonder why did we let the best years of our life rush past so quickly! Why didn’t we make the most of life’s moments?
I find it difficult to sit still long enough to meditate. I always have. It is a challenge to sit still for more than a few minutes. My way of meditating is to walk in nature.
Yet sometimes even slowing down while walking can be a challenge if I focus in getting from A to B. After my first gift I had received I decided to walk slower than usual.
As I walked along the cliffs taking in the mountain air freshened by rain soaked forest and mist I began to switch off and tune in. For awhile I was lost in the present, my thoughts and worries washing away like rain down the gurgling streams along the trail.
The more I was present the more happy and ‘chilled’ I felt. The cool mountain mist was bracing and it felt good to feel cold after warm temperatures on the coast. In fact, feeling ‘uncomfortable’ had the effect of bringing me into my body and out of my mind.
I think something magical happens when we let go of pressing thoughts and allow ourselves to be lost in where we are and what we are doing.
Children are experts at being present. They can easily get lost for hours in play. They are not worried about the future as they are fully engaged with the present. In fact, as children we are given this gift of presence, and as we grow up we tend to lose it and have to work at getting it back.
Children are ‘chill-dren’ – we have a lot to unlearn as adults and lot to relearn from children.
As I walked along the trail, with the skin on my arms brushing against the icy rain and mist-soaked leaves, I felt the forest opening up to me. I begin to notice things, like the shadowy figure of a forest bird in the corner of my eye, a frog that disappears in a stream, or a blue crayfish in the wet leaf litter. It is a magical experience when we feel that connection happening.
My footsteps are soft and light and as silent as can be walking on wet leaves. The smell of eucalyptus fills the air. With each step my senses open up and I begin to notice so much more of the surrounding environment.
Along the trail I stop to watch and listen to little rivulets and brooks that come alive after rain. Water gurgles and cascades over rocks and logs on the escarpment before plunging into the valley below.
Go With The Flow
Standing at these streams I began to contemplate the incredible systems in nature. The way that water flows from a high point to a low point, how tiny rivulets become streams and streams become creeks and creeks get bigger and flow into rivers.
And then I thought about our energy. Our energy is like the rain that falls, soaks into the earth and percolates through the rock to form springs that become streams that grow and become rivers leading to the sea.
Below is an audio recording along Rush Creek of the soothing sounds of water cascading:
Slowing down is about allowing energy to percolate, to collect.
It is no coincidence that we say slowing ‘down’. To find balance we need to experience ‘down’. We need to have down times to rest and recuperate, to ‘collect’ our thoughts, and to ‘sea’ clearly. We need to slow down to ‘pool’ our energy.
As I continued walking, I observed the trees around me and how their leaves collected sunlight and converted it into food that nourished the entire tree. I thought about the hidden branching root system under the ground that brought up water and nutrients from the soil, and how these branching systems then allowed the tree’s trunk or core to support the whole.
Trees have self-sustaining systems that pool energy and release it for further growth. These cycles I realised we too as organisms experience.
Go With The F-al-low
We have times of growth and times of rest and recuperation and repair. These fallow times of rest are important if we are to remain strong, healthy, and functioning at our optimum.
There are times in our lives when we experience rapid growth, and times where things just seem to go slower than we would like.
I find as a high achiever that when things go slower than I would like them to that I lose the motivation to continue with projects. My mind races around too quickly that pushing against the ‘slow’ to make things ‘go’ is second nature for me.
The Lowdown on Slowdown
It is interesting that when things go slow we say that they slow ‘down’. We often equate ‘down’ as feeling ‘depressed’ that we are holding energy ‘down’, that we are feeling low.
What is the lowest and probably the hottest place on earth? It’s the ‘Dead’ Sea, or in Christianity, its hell!
Yet ‘down’ is what water does well, it falls down to nourish us. Down time revitalises and reenergises us. It is a time to ‘chill’. Our language and culture has a lot to answer for – ‘down’ doesn’t have to be a ‘downer’ – without downtime we won’t have the energy to get ‘down and dirty’ when our energy returns.
Letting Go of the Know
Trust is a big factor that comes into play at this moment. Trust in that by going with the slow, by letting go and flowing down and slowing down, that things will work out.
Trusting is about letting go of control, of relaxing into the not knowing and in the not knowing allow for things to flow naturally. It is about letting life wash away our concerns and trusting life.
Flowriding is totally about trust. It is about letting go and allowing life to just flow. Just like water flows from a high point to a low point, our energy similarly ‘flows down’, pooling itself together in lakes, lagoons and seas.
Water then evaporates to form clouds again and the cycle begins again. When we let go of thoughts and allow our energy to pool like water, allowing our thoughts to flow down and slow down, when the time is right it precipitates again.
This year will no doubt be an exercise is letting go of this knowing and allowing life to flow. It will be an adventure into the unknown, learning to ride the rapids and to gently float in the slow patches as life takes its course. Riding takes less energy. Floating through life sounds more appealing that pushing against it. Going with the flow is the art of flowriding that I hope to get better at. 🙂