“The invitation into the Flow is a reminder to dip my toe into love, compassion, justice, mercy, gentleness, faith, forgiveness, peace, kindness, and courage.”
My boys were out of school last Friday for a long MLK weekend, so we took the day and gave our cross-country skis a workout on Causey Reservoir. It turns out, skiing on a reservoir is pretty amazing. It is flat, so you can get some good gliding momentum. Occasionally, you come across an open ice fishing hole, so you can test for yourself how deep the ice is using your pole (8-12 inches – very safe). Best of all, you are out in Nature – taking Her in with all your senses. Seeing the cliffs tower hundreds of feet above you, hearing the ice pinging below you, smelling the fresh air around you, feeling the warmth that the exercise is generating within you, and tasting the sweet adventure.
Our trek took us all the way back to the mouth of the reservoir – the place it is fed with a river flowing with mountain run-off. The flowing water does not allow for the ice to thicken as much and there were holes in the ice, so we had to take our skis off and continue our adventure on foot on the shoreline. It was fun to walk the final stretch to the place where we park our paddleboards and kayaks in the Summer, and where the kokanee salmon spawn in the Fall. All in all, it was a beautiful day, and not without its lessons and invitations for how to live in this broken and beautiful world.
As I write about this adventure, it is the eve of the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. While, on one hand, I am very excited and relieved this day has finally come, on the other hand, I am holding onto a lot of fear of what this week will bring, worry about the safety of our elected officials, mistrust of my fellow Americans who are on the “other side” of the divide that has become apparent in our country, and disgust for all who incited and carried out acts of violence in our Nation’s Capital earlier this month. Of course, the excitement and relief are being totally overrun by these other emotions, which truthfully, are quite difficult to hold and have me feeling a bit stuck and frozen.
As I was reflecting over the weekend on these harder emotions that I am clinging to and that are clinging to me, the flowing water at the mouth of Causey came to mind. I felt a very soft and subtle invitation to go deeper - to sink beyond the fear, worry, mistrust, and disgust that keep me stuck on the surface of my life into the Flow, which for me, is God. The invitation into the Flow is a reminder to dip my toe into love, compassion, justice, mercy, gentleness, faith, forgiveness, peace, kindness, and courage. These things (and more!) are available to me and all of us anytime because they are gifts from our God who loves us. Notice how we can move inside of the Flow. There is a vulnerability in this place, and there is also a freedom. A freedom to move beyond all that would bind us and hold us – stuck! - in one place.
We do not just get unstuck or unfrozen once and then ride the wave of freedom for the rest of our lives. The invitation back to the Flow is one we answer daily (At least, this is true for me.). I hear the invitation most clearly in Nature, and also sometimes in Church, or in a good conversation with a friend. The invitation usually appears within Spiritual Direction sessions, and almost anytime I listen to or read something by Fr. Richard Rohr or Brene’ Brown. All my parenting missteps direct me back to the Flow, as does my tendency to be hard on myself. Notice how the invitation can come both through our failures and through what inspires us!
How about you? What or who makes up the Flow of your own life? When you find yourself stuck or frozen, who or what invites you to dip your toe back in the Flow? What freedom is found there?
Click on the link below to listen to the flow of water captured at Causey. Take these 10 seconds to intentionally dip your toe in the Flow that is coursing through your own life.
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DanaLee Simon is a Pastor and Spiritual Director, living in Salt Lake City, UT. When she’s not hiking in the mountains or playing with her two little boys, she meets with people in one on one spiritual direction, leads retreats (virtually, these days), and teaches classes on self-compassion and group spiritual direction. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.