For close to a decade, I’ve been observing the practice of choosing a word by which to live for the new year. This is inspired by One Word 365, and I have found it a preferable alternative to making resolutions. Most years that I’ve done this, I have experienced positive results: it has added greater depth, meaning, and purpose to my daily choices.
I’ve never done this before, but this year I felt the need to write a mid-year reflection on my experience so far.
So my hope for Flow this year is multiple, and fairly ambitious: seek more natural movement in response to needs and tasks, achieving a state of balance between skill and the challenge at hand, and taming my anxiety with greater intention.
My idea for the application of this word was on several fronts: martial arts, mental health, and spirituality. There’d be others, but these were foremost in my mind when I chose it.
If you’ve been listening to the podcast, you’ll know that I’ve been dealing with a shoulder injury for the past two months. This has thrown a wrench into some of my intentions for this word, and I’ve been going through a time of adjustment in figuring out how best to move forward in light of my changed reality:
- Martial arts, most notably, has been a virtual non-factor since it happened because I don’t want to aggravate it even more. So pursuing flow in my transitions from one movement to another has not been an issue.
- My anxiety has been heightened by this ordeal as I’ve sought greater insight on the exact nature of the injury and how best to recover, as well as its ongoing effect on my ability to perform tasks.
- I’ve barely devoted any attention to tending to this from a spiritual perspective.
Thankfully, I have recently (as in, just the past week or more) begun to discover a path forward for Flow.
The very first lesson has been to acknowledge that part of pursuing flow is to go where the current is taking me rather than trying to fight against it. Right now, that current is carrying me away from certain things I was hoping for at the beginning of the year, but there will be opportunities wherever I end up as well. So I have been learning things about patience, humility, and faith.
The second lesson has been to pursue new practices to manage my anxiety and give it an outlet as needed. Lately, these have included pouring myself into my journaling, which has not always been via words: sometimes the practice of portraying my emotions in non-verbal forms on the page has been preferable. I’ve also relied more on my penchant for making lists of tasks, which has helped quiet my mind trying to keep them all straight without becoming overwhelmed.
While Flow has not been what I expected back in January, it has still been a source of learning and growth. Just the act of letting things play out and following where they lead has been true to the spirit of the word, and perhaps the greatest lesson it will teach me. Over the next six months, I’ll look forward to where this will take me next.