To be in flow is to be in harmony with the current of life, however it is showing up. Taking things in stride, trusting a bigger picture – staying connected even when it’s tempting to tune out. Being in flow is rooted in non-resistance and non-attachment.
I have learned a lot about the Art of Flow from the element of water. The oil painting above, “Whale Songs” was painted on the West Coast of Vancouver Island while traveling with the Women Painting Canada collective. It was painted on the shores of Long Beach after a delicious morning of whale watching and feeling in flow. With easels anchored on the beach, we savoured the ocean air and allowed it to have its way with our brushes. I have a long standing love affair with the ocean and this painting captures her teeming life force, power and vitality. The feeling is of depth and fullness which is the way I experience life – full to the brim, rich and surprising. Constant movement on the surface, potent stillness in the depths. Loose brush strokes suggest fluidity – nothing is fixed or certain. Moody, ephemeral, soggy and saturated blues evoke the songs of the whales and tug at my throat to respond.
To see the whales, we braved an open Zodiac tour in full body flotation suits insulated against the cold ocean wind in Ucluelet. Lurching wildly with the high waves, we feasted our eyes on rare sea otters, sea lions, seals and whale sightings too. Sitting on the edge of the boat and clinging to my light breakfast as much as the railing, Ghost-Buster’s-style torrents of sea foam and algae slimed my bare face and protective suit. Laughing at my shocked chagrin, my friend Dolores was quick to point out that some people pay big bucks for a natural sea facial. It caught me off guard to be sure, but nothing could put a damper on the wonder of seeing a sea otter couple entwined in seaweed and floating serenely.
The photo I took is blurry but this one from the National Aquarium gives you an idea of the unforgettable site we were treated to.
I grew up with summers at the lake and being near big water has become important to me. It helps me to feel both grounded and in flow. We live a few minutes from Lake Simcoe now and I love to start my day watching the sun rise over the lake. I have a vivid imagination so on windy days when the lake sounds like the ocean, I can see the whales and feel the otters and other sea creatures if only in my mind’s eye.
Where there is water, there is life and without it, life is suspended, stalled or ended. To flow like water is to be fluid, malleable, accepting, deep, and reflective. When I am in flow, I feel more alive, more connected and receptive – in touch with my inner muse.
When I am in flow, my creativity is fertile, uninhibited and free-flowing – or not. Sometimes being flow means gentle days of napping and day dreaming, head colds and couch time – trusting the ebbs and flows of play and productivity, rest and work, taking in and breathing out – slip-slidin’ away as I near my destination to borrow from Paul Simon’s evocative song.