‘Just go with the flow’ my spiritual advisor recommends, and when I’m on the crest of the wave, it’s really easy. Sometimes it feels like wonderful opportunities are opening up for me, I’m getting the inspiration I need and I can express myself creatively with ease and clarity. But other times it feels as if the flow is quite sluggish with hardly any momentum and it seems that stagnation is all that lies ahead. Have I taken a wrong turning and ended up in a backwater where there is literally no flow?
If I stand back from this image, and view it from the role of the unprejudiced observer, I can see there are numerous opportunities to get back in the flow and even, if I choose, build up momentum again. There is nothing wrong with being out of the flow for a while. It clarifies what we really want. Even if we fight the flow and try to swim upstream, it will just take a bit longer. We can’t get it wrong!
Taking it slowly
Self-reflection is all about being the unprejudiced observer of ourselves and our lives. The term comes from Samuel Hahnemann, an 18th-century German doctor, who also wrote, “The essence of all true wisdom: know thyself” which is on my homepage. He wanted doctors to carefully observe their patients in order to make unbiased prescriptions.
It might feel difficult at first, almost impossible, to observe yourself from a neutral position as if you were the outsider looking in. It might help to think of a small experience that you had recently, such as buying something in a shop or answering a text message – and view this as if it was happening to someone else on a movie screen. Don’t judge it as good or bad, don’t criticise yourself, just watch the movie from a neutral position.
In the above example, I have used a lot of symbolic imagery to help with my self-reflection. My first image was exciting, “on the crest of a wave” but my second image was rather glum, of “stagnation”. Rather than leaving it there, I put myself into the role of the unprejudiced observer and stood back from both images. This allowed me to see that there are numerous other options available, including that of swimming upstream. This gives me the power of choice about how I want to be.
I finished the reflection with some soothing words, “we can’t get it wrong!” This reminds me again to not judge myself as right or wrong, good or bad; but accept myself as I am in this particular moment.