Caught in the Flow

Post by Doug Mannen, Way of the Circle Co-Facilitator

We often coin the phrase” Go with the Flow” as we try to sequence or manipulate or predict how events might unfold. It may be a desire of ours to wish for specific outcomes, but is all of this even possible? How much can we really influence our paths? We do have free will and can make choices though; how are all these thoughts connected?

There have been times in my life when The Flow appeared to be tragic, traumatic, sad, joyous, gratifying, perhaps dangerous, even life-threatening. But The Flow is none of these. It just is! I am the one who created the labels for something I was feeling. The following is a true story in which I felt Caught in The Flow and three things helped to save my life and that of my partner… pure gut-instinctive reaction, trust in Spirit and no time to think about either!

One of my trips to the Yukon, on a river trip, my partner and I were caught in the flow of the Yukon River, still at late springtime flood level. The rest of the canoes had successfully skirted the main current, but we had been unable to do so, for earlier on the trip I had punctured my cornea with a spruce needle, setting up a tent.

The puncture was infected and we were trying to get me to a put out so that I could get medical attention. I had been doing the steering, but because of my injury and wearing a patch and with no depth perception, I was in the front now but my partner was not as strong as I to steer us free of hazards.

We were caught in a current that would take us under a sweeper, a large mass of trees which the flood had ripped from the shore and had been locked in place by other trees. We were heading for a hole in the water, like a whirlpool, not good, not survivable. At the last possible moment I used my paddle to strike out at the closest tree; I made contact with the trunk, somehow; anything else would not have given us the push off to just get us past the sweepers.

We both had scratches on our faces and arms and hands from the ends of the branches that whipped against us, but we were past the danger and in such calm water that the entire group rafted up and took a huge collective breath, like “A Bridge Over Troubled Waters.” That was the closest to passing that I recall, this time around.

In retrospect, had I not been injured and still in the back of the canoe, my partner may not have had the same results and I would never have joined the team at The Edge and be writing about flow, but then, perhaps we would never have been caught in that flow at all.

I feel what I am saying is that we sometimes do not have the choices we may like, but they still turn out right!


Home Practice

Reflect upon an event in which you felt Caught in The Flow. What did you feel physically? How did you feel emotionally, psychologically, spiritually? How did you handle the situation? What was the outcome?
Express yourself through art, movement or in any form that feels appropriate to you. Journal for yourself. Share on Peace Villages. Your thoughts to our hearts.

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matter compared to what lies within us.” ~Emerson

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