Flowing Relationships


Her life force was strong and resilient, surging ahead relentlessly over whatever twists and turns, ups and downs, stops and starts that lay in her path. In her current state she carried the complex negative and positive experiences of her past, the present wealth of attributes she possessed, and an indomitable spirit endowed with optimistic ambition for her future. Enmeshed within her energetic torrent were the molecules of significant and not-so-important others, their roles and influences intermingling with her personal characteristics in a dancing ebb and flow.

His energy similarly moved along between the boundaries established by his genetic, cultural, societal, and familial tributaries. Exerting himself with certain direction and purpose, yet doing so in a circuitous and ever-changing manner, he carried in his substance myriad aspects of experience along with traits endemic to his particular aqua vita.

When the confluence of these two streams began, they started to merge their energies as they united within one riverbed that proceeded along in the same directions in which their fluids had already been flowing. Dashing over rocky cascades, tumbling down waterfalls, and oozing gently through pools of relative calm, they moved mindful of one another, harmonizing their psyches within their common path. At the same time, however, their homogenization was neither hurried nor complete. Components of their individual identities continued to exist on their own, just as the cool waters of one creek and the warmer waters of another might run alongside the outer banks of their newly common channel, only gradually combining into a lukewarm current down the middle of their freshly formed partnership.

Entities unique to each contributing stream continued to flow along independently at the same time that quantities of their similar contents interdependently sped along the ground over which they flowed. Unlike some waterways that occasionally reached islands that forced them to split into two or more paths, weakening their depth and power into smaller component streams, their river continued to rush and gush forward in one mighty, synergistic course, empowered and enriched by the forces and influences they shared both before and after their union.

Sure, some atoms evaporated as they flowed. Mist came and went. Flotsam and jetsam fell into their broth, carried along for varying distances before being discarded as used debris on patches of relatively high ground. Portions of their individual and shared identities swirled to and fro, apart and together, as conditions warranted. As they cut through old and new territory, they picked up and lofted particles of experiences that either fell out of the flow to form little deltas or continued to be transported within their relentless current. All the while, and most importantly, their watery souls percolated together, blending melodiously as the sounds that only bubbling, tumbling water can make.

And the forecast for their future? They’ll be fluently flowing fluids in fountains and flowers, France and Finland, friends and foes, fingers and toes.


Growth and prosperity involve movement. Health depends on it. Grow with the flow.

Cosmically, everything is in motion. The universe is expanding, our planet races around the sun, and the Earth spins. Microcosmically, electrons revolve around their nuclei. Cells grow, die, and are replaced. Stagnation is unnatural.

Physically, our circulatory systems keep blood flowing through our bodies, bringing nutrients and removing waste products of metabolism. Blockages and restrictions of blood vessels spell trouble. Our digestive systems similarly depend upon the flow of fluids and foods through the mouth, processing of those substances in a fruitful manner, and elimination of unnecessary ingredients (via defecation, urination, and perspiration). Constrictions or stoppages can cause constipation, dehydration, and perhaps problems as serious as cancer. Go with the flow.

Mentally, we suffer if we cling to past stressors and traumas, material goods, defeatist memories, self-doubts, unhealthy or completed relationships, etc. We may get stuck in bad habits, obsessions, and compulsions. Our minds, on the other hand, experience the stream of consciousness and it is healthy to let the flow go. We may pause to ponder the past and plan for the future, but it is important to move along in the present, accept change, adapt flexibly to varying circumstances, and so on. We find comfort in the known, habit, routine, consistency, yet we seek change and variety.

In sports, zoning or being in a state of flow means to be engrossed in the process, focused on performance keys, without freezing the action long enough to engage in evaluation (by self or others). Stay in gear, moving in sync with the activity. Let audience reactions, inner judgment, and scorekeeping pass until you have finished your performance. All athletics present challenges. You may need to memorize lengthy and complicated routines that are susceptible to internal and/or external distractions (i.e., intrusive thoughts and visual/auditory stimuli). Relaxed concentration is the ideal state of mind and body to enable you to let go of distractions quickly and continue to flow smoothly. Trust your training. Stay mindful of the here and now.

• Aikido: Let your ki flow; blend with force; embrace self-trust; meditate in motion.
• Taoism: Yin-yang, ebb & flow, cyclical change; anchored, centered movement.
• Psychology: Flow = match between skill and challenge, ability and difficulty.
• Mental state: Stream of consciousness; inner speech and imagery consistent with temperament, personality, and environmental experiences.
• Hesse/Siddhartha: The cycle of life/nature is structured, directed, a blend of fate and learning; life is like a river, flowing within boundaries with circumstances in flux.
• Sport psychology: Flow states = absorbed in activity, sans evaluation; avoid paralysis by analysis; just do it!

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