“It’s coming on Christmas
They’re cutting down trees
They’re putting up reindeer
And singing songs of joy and peace
Oh I wish I had a river I could skate away on”
Joni Mitchell sang it in River in 1970, and who of us has not wished at some point during the holiday season that we had a river we could skate away on. Wished that we could just float away from the manic shopping, the crazy round of end-of-term events, the pressure of parties, the stress of cooking, the family tensions, and for many the loneliness that the season can bring. Let’s face it, Christmas is a time when we most need a little tranquility in our lives, but where can we find it? Perhaps we should just ‘go with the flow’ or maybe we can find a way to ‘be in flow’, and do we have enough energy flowing to even survive the holidays, let alone find some peace for ourselves?
I have so often come across people who say, “Oh, I just go with the flow”, and often they’re saying it to show just how chilled-out, calm and super-cool they really are. But we should be wary of going with the flow, because that river we’re floating down may not be heading in the direction we want to be going, and who knows whether there are going to be dangerous rapids at the end of it. When we go with the flow we are often dancing to someone else’s tune and not listening to what we really want or need ourselves. Everyone has their own energy, their own rhythm and their own unique talents, hopes and dreams, and I strongly believe no-one should go with the flow to the extent that they deny these.
So I would like to talk about a different kind of flow, that of the flow-experience (as termed by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi). Being in flow is the experience of being completely absorbed and free in whatever you are doing, so that time drops away and you are completely in and of the moment. It is sometimes described as being ‘in the zone’ and you may have encountered the feeling playing sport, dancing, painting or even working if you were particularly into your task. I had a wonderful afternoon of flow-experience this summer when I went to a pottery workshop: I completely lost track of time as I moulded the clay and created a variety of wobbly but very fulfilling pots. Many musicians will have experienced being in flow while playing, carried away by the music and at one with their instrument. It is always the hope to achieve this in practice or performance, although all too often it can elude us as tension, worry, injury or lack of rehearsal time inhibit the flow. [To find out more, I recommend the website www.flowskills.com/for-musicians.html]
Flow is a wonderful feeling and according to some, could be the key to happiness. However, if our energy (another kind of flow) is blocked, it may be very difficult to achieve this state of being. If we are living with illness, anxiety, stress, pain or depression it may be that the feeling can only flow so far before encountering one of these blockages and reminding us of the grind of everyday problems. This is where homeopathy can help. It is a system of medicine that works on the energetic level, matching the energy of the medicine to the energy of the person, thereby triggering the body into an appropriate healing reaction. As the body gradually and gently heals itself, the blockages begin to dissolve, and energy (or the vital force, as homeopathy describes it) can begin to flow freely again.
As a slight aside, some people tend to think you’re getting all mystical if you talk about energetic medicine, but when you consider that the body is made up of energy particles, such as protons, neutrons and electrons, it is only logical that healing should take place on this level too.
So, it is nearly Christmas, and maybe there’s an argument for going with the flow a bit at this time year, for just keeping the peace, rather than trying to find your own. But if you have a little time or space, think about those experiences in which you were able to lose yourself, where time and all the worries fell away, where you felt completely and wonderfully alive. And follow them, seek them out and do not let them get away: they are the joys of life.
Wishing you all a happy, healthy and peaceful holiday!
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