Learning to Flow

As the new year’s infancy marches forward, I complete my ritual of choosing an “anchor word” for the year. As it’s name implies, an anchor word is designed to keep one connected, or “anchored” to a core concept or intention upon which one wants to remain focused.

This year took me a bit longer than usual. Being the wordy person I am, I typically conjure up countless possibilities and struggle to pare them down to the one that sticks.

But this year was different.

Every time I sat to pray or meditate on my anchor word, I was swept away with imagery. A specific, consistent, persistent image to be exact.

The multi-colored mountains serve as the backdrop to the rambling stream, full and pregnant from a recent rain. The water trips and turns and glides over the river rocks in it’s way. My senses are all heightened in this imagery. The scene is vivid technicolor, the sound of the rushing water is balm to my soul.

Again and again, day after day, the same striking image comes to my mind’s eye. I meditatively close my eyes, watching the water as it dances over the stones. Sometimes the stones provide direction for the stream, rerouting it’s straight forward intention. Other times the water effortlessly glides over stones, without as much as a hydrated hiccup.

Some stones are large, heavy and worn. It is clear they have been there for decades, almost melting together with the water like an old married couple. Lighter stones seem fresh, likely nudged into the water by a hiker, an animal, or a heavy rain.

Somehow, eventually, almost magically, the water makes it to exactly where it should be in the way that it was meant to flow.

It is watching the water’s path, it’s flow sometimes effortless and sometimes strained, that most captivates me. I realize what surprises me most is my observant state.

I am a doer. Often I am an over-doer. I am a worrier. I am a problem solver. My nature is to rush in with solutions, to offer options and opinions, often without invitation. I strive to make things better for those I love in as quick and efficient a manner as I possibly can.

What I am not, by nature, is an observer. I have decades of experience in doing and very little accrued time in simply watching. And here’s the thing…”doing” doesn’t always need to be done. Sometimes allowing for natural flow is the best answer for all.

So I think of my mountain stream. If I wander upon it one day and it’s backing up, I’m more likely to dip toes into the cold water and rearrange some rocks rather than let her figure her flow out for herself. While I do believe it’s usually best to be proactive rather than reactive in life, there is such as thing as jumping in too quickly. In my haste to rearrange the stones and redirect the path, I have indicated to the stream that I don’t think she can do it without me, that my way is better, that my timing is the only timing, rather than deeply trusting in her intuitive nature to figure it out on her own.

Instead, I visualize myself cozily on the banks, watching the river flow in her own way, trusting herself to get where she needs to be. Watching the random leaf or twig float past, I slip into the relaxation of deep observation and respect for the natural order of things.

2023 will be my year without an anchor word, but rather with an anchor visualization, yielding a sense of flow, patience, healthy detachment, acceptance and observation. An trust, so much trust. It is a reminder not to jump into things that aren’t mine and to have faith in the way things are meant to be.

It is a family of intentions I hope to carve as deeply into my soul as the mountain stream has carved her way into the earth.

2 thoughts on “Learning to Flow

  1. Can I nestle on the bank with you and watch the water flow? Such beautiful words to paint the picture. Thank you again for your wisdom!


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