Dan Siegal talks about the “river of wellness.” On one bank we have rigidity. This is behavior that is inflexible, guarded, unforgiving. On the other bank we have chaos. This is behavior that is impulsive, addictive, without moderation, without limits. Wellness is in the middle of the river, where we flow in the stream and experience a balance of gentle discipline and spontaneity. Rigidity – religious extremism; Chaos – a stampede in a full soccer stadium – these are pretty clear examples of the banks. But how do we know if we are swimming in the middle of the stream in our personal lives?
It’s hard to swim in the middle of the river if we try to pack too much into the stream of life. Too much activity can cause a log jam, forcing us on one bank or another, seeking false refuge in completely shutting down or running wild.
A few minutes of quiet can help us find our flow. Here’s a mindfulness exercise that might help you identify what you need to stay in the middle of the river:
1. Flow in the moment: Right now take two minutes to breathe deep.
2. Flow on the horizon: Do you have longer rest coming up within the next few days? If not can you create some space? Can you drop one planned activity for the sake of finding the middle of the stream? Remember, only when we allow ourselves room to swim in the middle, can we help others do the same.
3. Flow for the long haul: What do you want to look back on in five years? A series of overcommitted days and blurred weeks? Or a productive time punctuated with rest and time to connect with what you love most? Take time this weekend to create a five-year plan with flow.
What helps you go with the flow? Let us know! We wish you twenty minutes of mindfulness every day!
More help for finding flow:
Discover The Everday Mindfulness Toolbox. If you are looking for practical tools that you can integrate into your everyday life – at home, work, or elsewhere – then look no more! You need the Everyday Mindfulness Toolbox.
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