Appreciating the ebb and the flow…

by | Mar 30, 2015 | Mindfulness

Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave
I am the dream and the hope of the slave
I rise…

 —Maya Angelou

It’s been a few weeks since I last wrote anything. It’s not surprising because this blog reflects my real life. It’s a memoir, it’s a dream and it’s an adventure unfolding in real time. My mom used to say live on and you’ll understand. I’m living and life’s lessons are rolling in hard and heavy. Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. ” Feeling the optimism that laying behind those words, I’m holding on to the feeling that everything is happening for a reason and I am where I should be. That means I have to accept that sometimes I drop a ball or two because all the pieces of my life are up in the air and I’m rearranging them as they come tumbling down.

The reasons I haven’t posted do not include a lack inspiration or a shortage of things to say. I have plenty of notes scattered on my desk to attest to the fact that I’m still thinking and reflecting. So what have I been doing that’s so important?  I’ve been:

  • Realigning my life with flow
  • Putting myself in the way of serendipity
  • Owning my life situation

I finally accepted that fact that I live in Brussels. I’ve been stubbornly holding on to the hope that I’d figure out a way to get back to Paris, but the sun, the moon and the stars are pointing in another direction and all indications are that I’ll be in Brussels for the time being. Sure I could “make that move” happen, but I’m in a relationship with a Belgian now and that push would create tension, a time of frenzy and my attention would be fragmented— in short I would create a life that is NOT in flow. If I’m going to walk it like I talk it, I’ve got to be present, here in Brussels, not wishing I were somewhere else. So I’m looking at my life from another angle and I’m preparing myself and keeping my eyes open for opportunities instead of fighting how things are now—same goal, but new approach. To that end, I started taking French classes at the Alliance Française, Brussels the last week of September 2014. In short, because I now leave the house during peak commute time, go to class and do homework, in addition to I lost my writing time.

On a personal level perfecting my French is central to my being ready for my intentions to take hold because it feels right. Everything inside of me says this is what I should be doing, so I’m trusting myself and going with it. With my actions, head, heart, hopes and dreams all in alignment I feel more at ease. The life that I love is one that is in flow. And since I’m just on the threshold of being fluent, if I just push a little I’ll be as comfortable speaking French as I am speaking English. Funny how being at ease is neither easy nor consistently comfortable. So I’ve signed up at the Alliance … only 15 hours a week and I’m only going for two month. That’s all I need to be in flow with both my current environment and solidify the foundations for the life that I envision living.

On a creative level, taking my French to the next level adds to the number of my available creative outlets both here Brussels as well as later in Paris. Being really comfortable speaking French means that I’m not limited to English speaking troupes, groups or organizations. I can take the drawing classes, I can join the local photography club, and I can even join a book club. And now that I think about it, although it’s not creative, I can join the local’s gym, which has all of the goodies of the gym targeting the expats (sauna, steam room, classes) but 40% cheaper. I guess I could have done that all along, but sometimes it takes looking at things differently to see more of the possibilities. So I’m positioning myself to cross paths with more opportunities to do the things that I love and that make me happy.

Finally on a practical level upgrading my French is economical. For example this little upgrade in language skills will take shape in the form of my being able to pick up a paperback for €5 instead of having to buy an English language book (read, an import), for €16 or taking the local drawing classes provided by the city for €10 versus taking the classes geared toward expats for €180. So although French classes at the Alliance are expensive, if I’m going to live here and not hide out in my apartment or go broke paying to participate in activities geared toward expats, it’s worth it to suck it up and take those French classes. Again uncomfortable, but the right answer in the long run. This is the best way for me to take ownership and responsibility for the creation of a life that meaningful.

The problem with being busy is that it’s very seductive. I forget about the moments of peace the exists between every action.  Yeah sure, I’m doing all of the right stuff, taking steps to make my life easier, preparing myself to receive the bounty of my intention and creating opportunities to do more of the things I love. There is an ebb and flow between doing and not doing, so it’s so important that I don’t neglect the time to write, to think, to dream, to meditate and to remember why I’m doing what I’m doing in the first place.

Flannery O’ Connor, said “I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” The same holds true for me. I can’t let my writing time get lost in all my good works because if I do, how will I know what I think? And the point of this blog is to ground me and connect with you. How am I going to do either of those things if I don’t write? How will we get to know each other and decide if we really want to hang out together?

Your turn
Do you ever get so busy doing all the right stuff that you forget about the being the right stuff?

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