On Being, Part Two

It’s a section of the Provo River, near a bike trail that I enjoyed Sunday. There is something deeply compelling to me in experiences of flow, whether watching, or when consciousness softens enough to life being lived, as flow.

I started some of this thinking in a previous post, On Being, Part One, in which I shared a poem that represents some of my desire to surrender to flow. To be with what lives on the outside of words, or seeing, or mind, or knowing.

Part two is simple, in a way. I can find it easier by referencing a few practices that are part of my life. First is that I like to write. This blog itself is a Monday through Thursday practice of writing. Most of the time I write in the morning after a bit of meditation and quiet breathing. Most of the time, I don’t know what I’m going to write in advance. In the best of my writing, I have the sensation that rather than me writing words, I am being written. Or the words are writing me. It’s not all of the time. But it’s often enough. Flow.

A second example for me is being in circle. I like being in the process method that is circle, people turned to one another with thoughtful listening and sharing, for the way it contributes to circle as a way of being. I’ve felt this with groups many times. It’s not that we are circling, but rather, that we are being circled. What is arising in awareness is coming from us that are giving our awareness and attentiveness to the process. It’s not all of the time. But it’s often enough. Again, flow.

There is something very liberating to me in the feeling of “life living through me / us.” This feeling is hard to find in words. It’s not abdication of identity. It does feel like expansion. It’s not abandonment of personal being. Rather, it feels like finding place in bigger belonging. It’s a significant part of many spiritual traditions to seek and welcome belonging. This orientation, of life living through me, points as much as anything I know to that extra sense of belonging.

Back to the river, and to forest that surrounds. It is my experience that very often when I’m in those places, there is enough vitality in the trees, in the wildness, in the river, in the open skies, that life itself feels more palpable. It’s as if I see my small part (humbling) that feels like a stronger connection to a much larger reality, life itself. Flow.

I consider it blessing to experience these moments of flow. In welcoming words to come through fingers. In welcoming collective insight and presence to come through the shape of circle. In welcoming life energy to inspire and evolve whatever might me next. Flow.

Fluent, Like a River

The Irish poet, priest, and philosopher John O’Donohue (1956-2008) wrote,


I would like to live
Like a river flows.
Carried by the surprise
Of its own unfolding.

I’m glad for the image of water, flowing. I’m glad for the invocation of how the river is never the same twice. It changes. As do we.

The river and its flow are as close as I can find to what we humans are in our shifting consciousness, or perhaps spirit. We too, are never the same twice. We too, are carried by an inherent unfolding.

There is something compellingly inviting to me in the invitation to notice ourselves, others, and the many scales of composite, as flowing. 

The river is not the water, nor the banks.

We humans, in these many places of dwelling, are not just mind, nor are we just shells for physiology. 

For when we, like the river, are seen as mystery in motion, ah, then it gets so much more interesting and alive.

I too, would like to be a bit more fluent in all of that.

Hello Monday.



Flow & Can’t Not


It’s a common theme for me. Seeking flow. Seeking relationship with flow. Seeking surrender. Seeking contribution. There’s a certain feeling that goes with it, I notice. And joy. And sometimes, the kind of “oh dear” that comes with even a half-raised eyelid of awakeness that knows things are about to change. It’s a common theme for many of us.

With that in mind, I found a few words writing me this morning. For inspiration.


Can’t Not?

In this life
I seek flow.
It is flow
with life itself.

Flow with life as river
that ineffably
finds its way to sea or sky
because it can’t not.

Flow with life as fire
that flickers or bursts
its way upward
because it can’t not.

Flow with life that is growth in spring
that persists through
rock, dirt, field, and even paved parking lot
because it can’t not.

I wonder if there is a flow
that perhaps takes decades,
and perhaps enough challenging circumstance,
to reach the point at which it can’t not be surrendered to?

That’s funny, right.
Because death will come
just as surely as birth,
when again, flow, simply, can’t not.


Every couple of months it seems that I find myself revisiting some of the most simple narratives I can find about the work I do and the life I live. Every couple of months it seems I find myself re-digging further into re-understanding and being with groups.

It gets complicated doesn’t it. Family. Community. Work. Self. Nation. Globe. Politics. Climate Change. Immigration. Healthcare. Education. Technology. Kids turn to teenagers and want to drive the car — got one of those. Communities morn the loss of a friend or neighbor who dies way too soon. People work amidst layoffs and reorganization. 850 year-old cathedrals burn as people watch in horror.

There is much to pay attention to for all of us. Some of us seek to see and understand and evolve the whole of things. Some of us surrender to days on which we just try take one step of kindness.

This week it seems that my revisit to a simple narrative is words spoken by my friend and colleague through The Art of Hosting network (and initially, Berkana), Toke Moeller. Toke has a way of naming the simple in a way that feels wise to me. And catchable.

“What if we were just trying to create and support each other in practices of being more kind, more conscious, and more in flow with life itself?”

I’ve often used this question with groups. One guy that I worked with even created a kind of jingle tune out of it. I love the simplicity that it calls me back to. I love the momentary grounding that it creates for so many of us in so much complexity.

I won’t expound much upon what each of these words mean, could mean, or should mean. Rather, I’ll give myself permission to just be in wrapping that such principles can create.

Kindness, because we owe it to ourselves and to others. We are all in our mixes of complex challenges. We are all in our versions of needs, excitements, demands, offerings, wounds, joys.

Consciousness, because, I continue to learn through good practices like The Circle Way that there is a center to touch with each other that holds an intelligence related to but different than what we hold individually.

Flow, because, I continue to learn that there is an abundant kind of energy in life itself, an undeniable life force, despite the many human attempts to mechanize all layers of human existence. The picture above is from a Flow Game that uses questions to create access to a bit more of that life energy.

Every couple of months, I need to sit by my window in the morning sun, seeing the rainbow refracting dew on the grass (welcome spring), the trees budding in their own pace, the blue sky being vast, and remember in my bones that there is a broader story that I believe we are all a part of.

I best become aware of it with kindness, consciousness, and a welcome of flowing with life, and it flowing through me.