I’d like to share a poem I wrote in 1975 when I was 23 years old. At the time I was about to start my ‘real’ working career with two part time jobs; as a youth director at a church in Albany and as a teller at an Albany bank. It was mid-summer and I was finding my way in the world and seeking direction from whatever or whoever would speak to me from inside myself. I was surprised by the clarity of the voice that responded. The poem has stayed with me all this time, which I have to assume means something. Here it is.
to know flow
goals are the rocks of bondage
time is the eternal essence of mind
mind the essential ice to melt
acceptance is the bearer of peace
wisdom is the moderator of the flow
flow is the way of life
I’m a big believer in folks making up their own mind about things. You are certainly free to interpret this any way you choose, or read it and pass right on by. However, if you’d like to know why it means something to me, please keep reading.
Perhaps you were taught to honor goals like I was. They were cornerstones to reach for. Inherently valuable and worthy of all of the time it might take to achieve them. They were what grown-ups ‘should’ strive for and the promise seemed to be that they would make you happy and satisfied with your life.
While this has been true in some cases, it has more often been that my goals were unattainable, or at least not achievable in the ways I want to experience them. Most of them became ‘rocks of bondage’.
It was not until recently that my vision shifted away from ‘goals’ and moved toward ‘aims’. This is a much more gently word and concept. It implies a certain amount of freedom, because the emphasis is on the direction of your movement, not the final outcome. I try now to leave goals out of the process and instead envision those things I am aiming for in my life. Maybe you might want to try this with one of your goals and see what happens.
It seems to me that everyone knows time is a man-made construct, an arbitrarily agreed upon decision to break up days into hours and minutes. I get how necessary it is, but somehow, I’m uncomfortable with the idea. I’ve never worn a watch for this reason and yet somehow, I’ve managed to show up for all of life’s meetings. I’ve also discovered that time is malleable. The same fixed amount of time can seem incredibly short or excruciatingly long, depending on the circumstances. Time seems to be an ‘essence of the mind’.
Everyone has one. Everyone needs one. But, I’ve seen in my life how often my mind wants to be in charge, as if it always knows best. Knowledge is a wonderful thing, but to me, wisdom is far superior, so that ‘mind is the essential ice to melt.’
Even though I’ve given intolerance, defiance and resistance every possible chance to solve my problems, they have all failed me. Quite miserably, in fact. Only acceptance has offered me a way forward, guiding me gently, yet firmly and being for me, ‘a bearer of peace.’
As I see it, wisdom comes from the inside of me and knowledge comes from the outside of me. Wisdom follows a pathway through my feelings, while knowledge moves through my mind. When it comes to trusting, I choose wisdom over knowledge every time, because I recognize it as ‘the moderator of the flow.’
Here is the truest way to feel and know your truth, are you moving against or with the current of your life? It is really a simple question and so revealing. Would life actually be trying to move you in a direction that did not benefit you? Not only is this a question of flow, but of faith. I hope that my choices are made in such a way that ‘flow is the way of my life’.