A Study On Flow


Several quotes and other writings that I have seen over the past week have prompted me to write a piece on the subject of flow in our lives.  This has been an interesting personal challenge, as there have been weather patterns showing their otherwise faces and things breaking down or getting completely stuck, all sorts going on behind the scenes. 


Since the beginning of December 2017, we have experienced a number of the latest in a series of breakages, breakdowns and blockages in our domestic life –  anything from our ancient Aga snorting soot and spewing toxic fumes into the kitchen in a most spectacular and alarmingly regular fashion, to the electric stove (which we rely on when the Aga seizes up) refusing to switch a hot plate off or down, to the old Land Rover (that carries us long distance and out of weather scrapes) giving up the ghost and needing expensive repairs (necessitating the hiring and loan of a number of different vehicles), to me collapsing in a violently sick heap two days before Christmas.  And more.  The past few weeks have been anything but ‘flow’.

While I write, the sun is shining … and snow lies heavy and thickly on the ground all around us.  Pretty, but this has meant that certain plans have had to be shelved and people who were expected to come to work, have been unable to reach us.  Thankfully, the electrician managed to return this morning with our electric stove cooktop, which he removed yesterday (just before our darling ancient Chimney Sweep, Jock, arrived to attend to the nostrils of the Aga) … and as the snow began to make its serious presence known.  So, we now have heat from the Aga again, and two options for cooking food.  Sublime.  A complete contrast to the mood and the vibe out in the sticks yesterday.

However, this is not flow.  This is more like tides that have forgotten to check the tides table.  One cannot plan anything with this constant upheaval and strain, and it becomes a highly inefficient, ineffective way to live.  Writing is the one winner in all of this.  Something I have always done (written anywhere and on anything) has become a means to an end, within a stream of life events and pressing occurrences leaving little space for anything else, which would otherwise (if unwritten) be communication suffocation.  Amen.

Life in the little pocket of countryside where we currently reside has been like living in a weird time warp, and much has been warped and weft right out of sync.  I wonder whether there is an energy on this property, which has a mind all of its own … and extends to influencing the efficiency or otherwise of the mechanisms, systems and engines on which we rely.   Certainly the land around us is not being managed the way Nature wishes, which creates blockage to sustainability and health, but what of the flow that should result on and in the vicinity of a ‘sacred site’, clearly chosen for its location several centuries ago?  What of the energy that is meant to support calm, health, wellbeing, spiritual elevation, success and respite?

We live in an old manse, beside a slightly more modern version of what was a mediaeval church, built in the 1100s.  I think there is something going on here which is not visible to the human eye.  There are ways in which I have made positive, strategic changes (on the property we own) since we arrived, which have calmed certain energies and confusing patterns, but there is much still to be achieved.  My prayers are heard in a variety of ways, optimistic survival being one of them, but the lack of general flow has continued.  There is no longer doubt in my mind as to the real ‘warfare’ that wages against those who have an agenda to complete, a mission to attend, and a list as long as their arm of things to conquer yet.  I am not joking when I say that it seems something is doing its best to stem the flow.

A few days ago, I came across (or was guided to) a few words I’d written on 9 January 2015, which read:

“It is our pain that forms us, and it is our joy that carries us.
When we embrace them both, we are in the flow.”

Deep words that indicate a self-knowledge and an understanding of life that runs through my veins.

I have become a master of learning to filter and to focus and to find humour in as many situations as I can, always relieved and released by a good joke.  This helps flow; it is also the way of a clown.  I hear that clowns cry too, which is why they can be and are so funny.  Another way that I have found to handle the lack of flow is to sing out loud, or to speak positives into the ether, or to dance with arms flung high.  Try a combination of any of these.  Sure to be the best medicine for the soul, these methods certainly work splendidy to scare the ghosts of flow interruption, whoever they are … and a good bellow helps too.  Nothing will persuade me any longer to ‘bottle it’, to hold it all in.  That way lies disease and I refuse to go there.  Better out than in, or else.

A few days ago, we in the ‘connected’ world were all treated to the rousing speech that Oprah Winfrey gave at the Golden Globe Awards Ceremony, which I listened to via the New York Times website the next day.  [Click here to listen to that wonderful and awe-inspiring speech.]

Oprah spoke eloquently and in the way of a head of state, on speaking out and being brave, on courage in spite of what is threatening to stop our freedom, on going against the flow, on turning the tide.  It was a call to lift our heads and to march on, to hope, and to the validation of all women and others on the planet who have been undermined or stopped / prevented from receiving their blessings in life.  Oprah’s speech had me covered in goosebumps and reminded me of the potent words of one of my heroes, Nelson Mandela, who once said:

“There is no passion to be found playing small,
in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”

The world needs to hear leaders speak out like this; it is also high time we heard the invisible among us.

While I have mentioned ‘forces’ that quite clearly seem to work against us, and which I feel particularly sensitive to in our current location, I have also found that there is invisible help flowing towards me, keeping me focused ahead and on what brings validation and hope.  Daily, little signs are all around showing beauty and grace and promise, messages of love, blessings, and the words of others which clearly communicate that one is on the right track, spot on with the philosophy and the dedication to a path.  This is what provides me with the energy to keep trusting that the flow will come, that it is just a matter of time and adjusting a few decisions made, correcting or updating or choosing a completely different set of factors to work with.

When we are constantly tripped or distracted from our course, feeling felled despite our fortitude and interrupted from our determined course, frustrated by the bottlenecks and flustered by the funnelling of our resources to repair what is not appearing to achieve progress of any sort, we win when we find the lessons in these.  Every situation has a lesson in it and, even if it seems we’re constantly on a treadmill, if we look and listen, we shall find the lessons … sometimes not a new lesson, sometimes merely a validation for lessons already learnt.

A few days ago, while I was intent on focusing my efforts ahead, I ‘chanced’ upon a little article written by a fellow blogger, a man called Stephen F Dennstedt, on his blog “Expat Journal: Postcards from the Edge”  which WordPress had recommended to me, clearly fortuitiously.  It contained the phrase:

“We all get kicked to our knees from time-to-time
but it’s the getting up that is a sign of character and courage.”

on his blogpost “Lifestyle 101: Be A Phoenix And Rise Again“.  Those words, his quote, made me smile.  They reminded me of a quote of my own, written several years ago, which went something like:

“You can’t chop someone off at the knees, and then expect them to dance.”

Clearly, some can and they have, but I am one of those who have learned to dance, anyway … even though, to be honest, it has taken time.  Courage is what helps us up and, once practised, courage is what keeps us dancing, even in dolly steps back to the dance floor, back to the flow.  How? We focus, and we refuse to look down for long.  Eagles cannot remain on the ground, they need to soar.  Courage is what helps us to find the updrafts.

Where do we find strength?  We learn to be quiet and to listen, we learn to look within, to pray and to look with expectation towards our Creator for provision, for guidance and with hope, we learn to speak to the centre of ourselves, the inner flame that drives us, and we find our faith by speaking it out.  I draw enormous strength from the source of all power, and it helps to speak every flow-ful, positive and optimistic declaration out loud.

To close this little study of flow, these words again, penned in January three years ago:

“It is our pain that forms us, and it is our joy that carries us.
When we embrace them both, we are in the flow.”



Go mindfully towards and in the flow,

Holly x



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© Holly M Maxwell Boydell     www.TheHollyTreeTales.com       All rights reserved.



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8 thoughts on “A Study On Flow

  1. Hello Holly,
    I’ve come to your blog via a common friend (Karin B) and I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed this post — it’s beautifully written and spoke to me on so many levels — pain, courage, settling, being chopped off at the knees, bottling things in, speaking up … all weighty matters with which I’ve also been struggling for quite some time now. It’s a comfort knowing others are thinking about the same sorts of things…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Marian,

      Thank you so much for letting me know. I am grateful to Karin for sharing the information, and am humbled to know that my writing has spoken into your experiences. I pray that you will find strength to endure and to shine on, remembering that we only have to manage one hour at a time, keeping hope alive and believing always for breakthrough, for healing and for flow.

      For today, you might also like the words contained in Isaiah 40, if you’re a reader of the Bible, which provide powerful support and there is also great comfort in the first part of Matthew 5.

      Take care of your precious self,

      Holly ♥


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