There’s a magic that seems to happen when I’m looking after myself.
Not necessarily in the traditional self care sense of yoga, mediation and eating well, but when I’m listening to myself and following what I’m drawn to.
When I’m putting myself first, everything in life seems a bit clearer, and I find the flow more easily.
Challenges seem to resolve themselves and turn into opportunities. Things emerge that weren’t planned that add to my experience. I meet and connect with people, and we share information that is perfect for me at that time. A question I have, an idea I’m exploring, pieces just seem to fall into place without me having to work at it.
This feeling of flow is so powerful, and I want to be in it all the time. So once I’m in it I feel like I need to control things to stay there.
I find myself working harder to swim with it. I start to try to get ahead and take advantage of the current I’m in, because it feels like I’ll be able to relax more and keep the feeling around for longer.
But that’s when it starts to go wrong – flow is in the present. As soon as I start to chase, I’m projecting forwards in time, trying to make sure things happens how I think they should, and then I lose it.
Sitting in a garden in a hotel in Grasmere, having just completed the first 3 days of the coast-to-coast path, I’m noticing how easy it is to shift from flowing to trying to get ahead and to lose connection with that power.
These last 3 days have flowed. That’s not to say they weren’t tough at times. I’ve worried about food, routes, timings and whether my legs will get me over a hill.
Each time I’ve noticed that worry I’ve come back to the beauty of the scenery and focused on just taking that next step because that’s really all I could do. And things worked out perfectly.
I’ve arrived at places at the perfect time, met people to share my journey with who have useful information, found food when it was needed and come across water when I needed to fill up.
Today I have a day off from walking to let my muscles to recover and to prepare for the next few days. It would be easy to get drawn into using this day to try to figure everything out for the next leg.
Of course I need to do a bit of future planning – it would be stupid for me to head out into the mountains without any idea of the route, no idea where I might sleep, eat or drink.
So I need to think about the future and get some things in place, but I can do this in two ways:
- I could obsess about figuring out all the details, making sure that everything is planned to the nth degree, trying to work out all the different scenarios, routes, campsites, food so that I feel everything is under control – and draining my mental batteries in the process.
- I could spend the day enjoying Grasmere, grabbing a coffee and some gingerbread, enjoying the atmosphere and relaxing while picking up the things I know I need, and updating my plans based on what I’ve learned – while the next few days might feel less certain, I will be relaxed, refreshed, and more connected to the power of flow.
I used to use first of these approaches without realising the impact it was having.
Once I noticed I can never have enough information about the future to plan for every eventuality, it started to feel like a much better idea to focus on relaxing and recharging.
I can do the prep that makes sense with the focus on listening to what I need right now. This will boost my energy levels up to full power and increase my chances of flowing with the unknown.
So today, I’m doing what I’m drawn to, remaining in the flow, trusting that everything will work out, and connecting with the power of looking after myself and the magic of letting things unfold.
And these ideas aren’t just relevant to getting out on an adventure in the mountains – they’re useful in any situation.
We are much more resilient, resourceful and creative when we‘re fully charged than when everything is planned and under control.
If there’s an area of your life which you’re worrying about or finding stressful, maybe you could try something new:
- Let go of needing to get things under control,
- Do what you need for you, to recharge your batteries,
- Tune into what’s happening right now, in this moment,
- Just focus on doing the next thing that it makes sense to do.
Notice the power that comes as you start to step into the flow.
You might find this resonates with you more in some areas of your life than others – notice, get curious and explore where the differences lie.
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