Push vs. Flow
(or Why Tosha Silver Said No to Me)
Can you be in the flow and also push to make something happen? How do you know whether to push or not?
I'm always watching for ways people (I, my clients, anyone) turn something into what Byron Katie calls a sacred concept, so that they're no longer showing up in the moment, wide-eyed with clarity and curiosity, letting life show them what feels right right now. So if flow has been deified in certain circles (and yeah, it's amazing), the question-authority beast in me wants to maintain it's okay to push. There's gotta be room for push in the Universe. Truly, it's just not inherently more elevated to flow than to push, though there's much to be said for finding the flow and tuning in to what wants to give when it feels like you're pushing. In the end, I don't think flow and push are always inherently in opposition. Read on. …
I love the concepts of vision, visioning, dreaming something up and moving toward bringing it to be.
(This is an ongoing love affair and an important part of my work—that's why I'm repeating a popular daylong workshop, From Vision to Fruition, this month, and offering a weekend retreat on the same topic in early May.) If you really want something, I believe it comes from Source, and it matters. If you dream of making something happen, you keep wondering about it, you connect to it as what you love, long for, perhaps have always wanted to do; if it makes sense to you that you would want this based on the sum total of all that's gotten your attention to date, all that you've experienced, all that you've pursued in education, vocation, or avocation; if it's the thing you've ignored but keep noticing, failed to pursue (but still have incongruously bookmarked in some corner of your mind), perhaps feel as a cause of envy toward others who have it; if it's been persistent in calling to you even when you keep talking back and even when you've reached the point in the dialogue where you're saying it's too late—then you might want to declare the vision, hold the vision, and do all you see to do to head that way. That's pretty much how anyone has ever gotten to anywhere they were going.
As I've written before (ancient church memory), God can't steer a parked car!
I don't personally do much with the G-word, but it was thrown about a lot in the Southern Baptist church my parents took me to when I was half-grown and crazy impressionable. I've willfully forgotten most of what was told as Truth in that space, but I did retain the words, and to my mind weirdly brilliant concept, God can't steer a parked car. (This was yelled by one of those dime-a-dozen sweaty, red-faced man ministers with veiny necks who really did pound the podium and threaten their riveted audience with eternal damnation in lakes of fire.) Take out the mean God of fundamentalist mythology and what's left is the idea that your guidance system, life, Source, the friendly Universe, nature-based science magic (as a client of mine gorgeously puts it)—whatever you believe in or are willing to experiment with believing in now—this force will direct and redirect you, if only and only if you move. … And do move toward the vision (obvious enough, but how often do you head another way?).
If you're after flow; if you like what Tosha Silver calls divine order; if you want to allow the Universe (the divine, your higher self, that nature-based science magic) to direct things, then hold the vision with a loose grip, detached from outcome.
I sent my book manuscript to Tosha Silver to see if she'd be willing to write a blurb for the cover, should a cover ever come to be, assuming her name on it could make it more likely. She gave it a look and let me know, oh very kindly, that she didn't want to do any such thing because she's a one-trick pony all about divine order, and that's all she would want to put her name to. Further conversation revealed (hey, she called me to further explain, when I was just hanging in the flow with my fish tank) that Tosha took my words on visioning to mean you can have anything you want whenever you want it, or just for the wanting of it, and she does not believe that at all. (Neither do I! Thanks to her feedback, I made some judicious changes to my manuscript, and it's much better for it.) She advocates aligning with divine order, allowing what wants to come to us to come, and what wants to fall away, to fall.
Yes! Me, too. That's why I say, head toward the vision, as best you understand it right now, equally accepting the yes and no answers to your requests for help or funding or collaboration or paid participants, equally appreciating the shut and open doors: all of this is guidance, showing you what you will or won't be doing, who you will or won't be doing it with, how you will or won't be funded. Flow with the guidance! I invite you never to believe something has gone wrong when it's not going how you wanted it to go. Allow life to keep tweaking where you're heading, even as you keep heading that way until you have a clear knowing that you don't want to go there anymore, or till all of life is telling you no. So Tosha didn't write my blurb. I got a no for that request, but the ensuing exchange redirected me in the writing in a way that was crucial. (Let's hear it for another yes to the overall vision that originally looked like no to a specific direction or form, and resulted in more forward movement in the right direction. This is guidance.)
It's profound and powerful to detach from outcome--you can't control it anyway. So as long as you still vote for a certain vision or still want to pursue some specific form of that vision, head that way. If you're getting (more accurate, staying) upset when you don't seem to be getting what you want or when someone who holds something you want tells you no, you're not detached--otherwise stated, you're pushing, not in a good way. Note that when you're not detached, you suffer, so I invite you to soothe the disappointment and get okay with what is or isn't happening.
Do you feel inspired and see one more more way to head toward the vision? Then push ahead!
As long as there's still fuel in you for the journey, the journey's not over. If any part of you feels joy, expansion, a sense of possibility, an invitation, an inspiration; if you see one more thing to do, one more door to knock on, one more person to ask for help or input or inspired listening, go go go.
When I was starting this business of life coaching while our economy was tanked and I had no financial cusion in my world (not even the guarantee of next month's rent), I used to bring it to now and ask myself, quite simply, Do I see one more thing to try? Or, Am I willing to try just one more thing? I always found a yes, so I kept writing or setting up a website or creating a program or showing up to deliver it even if just one penniless person was there. I knew one of the possibilities in the Universe was that the business wouldn't take. I also trust life to redirect me as needed, so I fearlessly headed in whatever direction seemed best to match my vision at any given moment. (Eight years later, here I am, solidly in business.)
Desperate or urgent, thinking you're okay only if things go a certain way, in a certain timing? Loosen that grip.
It's not happening anyway, so why not let go? How do you know this is the only way? Are you sure you're at a global no yet, just because it's no for now, or no right here, or no with this individual, or no in this color or that town or whatever specific form you're getting tripped up on? Don't attach to form. Just because it's all you see, or it's your favorite form to date, or it's the way you got it in your head was the way to go—that doesn't mean you can't have it in another way that better suits you and actually works. Stay open, detach, and watch for the unexpected to reveal itself (in alignment with divine order, if you will). Call for flow.
If you're willing to let life show you, you'll find a flow of direction and redirection, pushing forth and letting go, following the ease and harnessing the higher-octane moments.
There will be higher-octane moments. You might well be aligned and in the flow and still have to work longer hours or stay up later than is optimal or use more resources or disappoint someone to keep heading toward your vision. Check in with yourself that this seems worthwhile at this juncture. You might watch for your point of least resistance, as Abraham-Hicks puts it, or the place where it seems you can most get okay with the scenario as it currently is. Check in with your detachment level to guide you here.
If you choose to pull an all-nighter, for example, because that may actually get you a completed grant proposal to submit on time, and the grant looks to you like an excellent way to get your funding, and—here's that crucial detachment piece—you'll be okay with it if you don't finish after all come sunrise or if you're denied the grant down the line, then you're in the kind of striving or push that doesn't violate flow. (With detachment in place, you'll end up feeling it was so so so worth the try, and you'll never forget what it felt like listening to David Bowie while you typed with that worn plaid blanket wrapped around you while you allowed yourself the usually unheard-of 3 a.m. doughnut.)
Anytime you're pushing in a way that feels like straining and striving, pause. It doesn't necessarily mean you're at no; it definitely means you're out of alignment right now. Get back to alignment before your next effort, which means be willing to let go, perhaps of a particular form, of outcome, of timing, of what others will or won't do. Perhaps you'll have to let go of this vision completely if that's what life shows you is best. By best, I mean the next thing that opens up for you will be better than the one you're letting go. It'll better match who you are and what you're truly after, and it'll be informed by all you went through in this last visioning, all that you learned, all the muscles you built, even though it brought you to no.
And when you step in again ready to head toward the new vision, make sure your effort is replete with flow. The fact is, flow and push don't have to be in opposition.
Let in the fun!
If you're not having fun, you're probably not in flow and it's probably not really worth the push.
Love & blessings, Jaya
Scroll down this column to learn about:
Dating teleclass, 3.22
Daylong Visioning workshop, Ithaca, 3.20
Weekend Visioning retreat, 5.6 - 5.8
My work with groups
My free exploration sessions
My new brilliant scheduling tool
Inspiration via Facebook
Free Teleclass in collaboration with Abbey LeVine of LeVine InterVention.
Dating Mindset Makeover: from fear to FIERCE
Tuesday, March 22, 7-8 pm ET
Follow above link to get call-in information!
On the heels of our successful and so-much-fun in-person workshop in NYC in February, Abbey and I are offering a mini-version online for women of all kinds who live near and far. The topics presented are spiritual, practical, inspiring, transformational. If you're single and wishing for any modicum of support in the dating thing, join us! (Abbey's the dating expert, I'm the thing.)
From Vision to Fruition Retreat
A creative hands-on weekend workshop for women.
Light on the Hill, Van Etten, NY, May 6 - 8. Program will end by lunchtime on Sunday in case you have a Mother's Day urge to get home. Otherwise, stay to integrate and to linger in this beautiful, deeply refreshing retreat space.
First 3 sign-ups get a price of $299. (Call or write and ask for it! 607.339.9714 or firstname.lastname@example.org) Total fee $366. Early-bird price, through March, $333.
Click here for more information and registration.
Work with Groups
In February, I gave a workshop on Unshakable Confidence to a particular group at Cornell and then had the privilege of doing a number of one-on-one sessions with members of that population. It was loads of fun, especially as both I and the person who hired me had thoughts about my being, um, unconventional. It turns out I wasn't too unconventional to do what I always do, which is to meet people where they are and point them toward how they can walk themselves gently toward a higher version of themselves, more effective ways of moving toward their vision, a more empowered sense of what they can do, and the blessed relief of letting go where they're not in control anyway. Have I mentioned I love my work?
In April I'm excited to be spending a day with a small group in private retreat, guiding them through the rich and healing world of The Work of Byron Katie.
If you'd like to have me present on any number of topics (personal power, visioning/creating, the Enneagram, trading in victim mentality for a consciousness of choice, anything to do with mindset, and more), check out the page on my website called INVITE ME TO PRESENT.
Curious about coaching? I offer a free 30-minute exploration session by phone or Skype or in person (in Ithaca, NY). I don't use this session to sell my services, only to give you a direct experience of what it's like to work with me. Obviously, this does bring me new clients. It also allows me to send people away from a single experience equipped to do something different, to see something differently, to get that much kinder to themselves. To get the free session, just fill out the contact form on my website.
Acuity scheduling, it turns out, is the tool for me. My clients who've tried it find it very them-friendly. You can access it from the contact & scheduling tab on my website. Check it out!
For Facebook types, I post most days with an aim to support your growth and healing, inspire you, remind you of what you already know, keep you in touch with the magic, propose that you think big, and cast my vote for you to keep being ever kinder to yourself. Some popular posts from the past month:
Don't use self-awareness to beat yourself up. Don't use your excellent ethics to find yourself faulty. Don't take what you know of your negative tendencies & use this to suspect or expect the worst in yourself. If you're going to bother looking at yourself, make sure a hefty portion of that gaze is intent on looking through the lens of love. Look for & know your own innocence. Acknowledge your beauty with no disclaimer about any flaw in it. Appreciate your own intelligence & humor & quirkiness & strength. All of this comes from Source. All of this contributes to the very interesting story of you, your life, your presence here right now. On the day before Valentine's Day, I invite you to find yourself adorable. Be in love with yourself.
I remember how radical it sounded to me when I first encountered ideas of effortlessness & nonresistance. Now it's so clear to me that that's the way of it, and we're out of alignment when everything is strained & heavy & complicated & hard to talk about and ... I'm not denying that some things in life are harder to face and step into than others. I encounter those things in my world. I keep looking for the ease, the openings, the spaciousness, the nonresistance. If something especially challenging makes any of that hard to locate, I bring it to NOW. Just find the little edge that's easy to lift and engage with that as you breathe, untense your muscles. And keep stepping in, one easiest-foothold-you-can-find at a time.
If you're not going through a big bad hard time with several giant life issues turning your world upside down and leaving you unsure of things pertaining to life-and-death food-or-no-food well-or-sick connected-or-desperately-lonely not-sure-where-to-sleep-tonight ... then there's no problem. Find the joy. Find all that supports you. Appreciate your comforts and connections. Release the judgments toward others. Quit being hard on yourself. Get out of other people's heads. Don't sweat the small OR large things. Speak to yourself soothingly. Speak to others respectfully. Find the humor. Enjoy the symbolism. Notice magic and synchronicity. Forgive everything. Say no joyfully, guiltlessly. This life is amazing.
It took me a long time to prioritize being happy. I wasn't sure it was okay or even allowed; I wasn't sure I was worthy. Now I find again and again that all I do well & all the ways I can be of service are only increased by my own joy. I never harm another by being happy. I will never best serve someone who's unhappy by being unhappy until they have a better time of it. Joy is part of how I know I'm in alignment, not tripping myself up on thoughts & old concepts I don't even believe. Heading toward joy (and what feels better) is how I gets myself back into alignment when I'm out. Best of all, I know I don't have to stay happy or be happy all the time, just as I can't STAY in alignment. I can keep coming back, though, and I do. If you haven't yet, give yourself permission to be happy, and to keep coming back to joy.
Visit me on Facebook anytime. I invite you to LIKE my page and respond to individual posts that speak to you. Facebook will serve you more posts if you like, comment on, or share them—plus it brings me joy to experience the page as dialogue, not monologue.