Saturday, June 28, 2008


I don't pretend to know a lot about Chinese medicine and philosophy, but I know the concept of flow is vitally important. Normally, I'm pretty good about maintaining a sense of flow in my life, even subconsciously -- I don't let things accumulate and stagnate, whether paperwork, or food in the fridge, or tasks and errands. I get things done. I keep things moving.

I rotate my clothes, so that none get worn to excess and none get ignored. I read one book at a time. I work my way through magazines chronologically, reading each issue in turn. I eat all the groceries I buy. I post my pictures to Flickr in the order I take them. Flow permeates my habits, and I think that contributes to a sense of stability and soundness.

My Zen teacher even gave me the Dharma name Junryu, which means "Flow with the river." I'd like to think she appreciated an innate sense of flow in me, but I think it's more likely she was reminding me not to get hung up on things.

Lately, parts of my life have not felt like they're flowing. Some things have felt stuck. Pleasures become painful when they don't move and develop; stagnation sets in. I am devoting this weekend to restoring flow, big and small, both personally and professionally. Never mind all the details, but trust me that it's needed and all is well.

(Photo: Patio in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, June 2008)


Anonymous said...

May all be well with you, steve.

Anonymous said...

I read you with my mouth slightly gaping: the neatness, the orderliness...reading magazines chronologically? one book at a time? You are so exotic to me, Steve, you have NO idea.

best with the flow. I flow like a river too, but mine is... let's call it unpredictable :-)

Anonymous said...

well, I'm speechless and in awe!! and perhaps even a bit intimidated...the flow going on in my life this last week (plus) is a bit like a raging river and not the serene babbling brook that I prefer!

it seems that 90% of the external things/people in my life are in various state of chaos and uncertainty.... intellectually, I know this will pass, that I know, but right now oy....decisions, hard steps, change and transition - where's the laid back summer I was expecting? I'm using you as a meditative image and icon....wwsd?

Anonymous said...

We all have our order and routine and we all feel out of sorts when it is disrupted.

Anonymous said...

steve i think your dharma name suits you so well

and wish you well in restoring and redirecting your flow

Anonymous said...

even your flickr pics?! wow

Anonymous said...

I am much like you in the way I approach life, but I too feel just a little stuck and I don't like it. I much prefer the feeling of flow.

May you live up to your name!

Anonymous said...

Flow is subjective, no?

Your description of flow sounds more like a rut or a routine to me (no offense intended). For me, being in the flow means living life effortlessly and just being "in the moment" - doing each thing how and when it feels right. This matches the river metaphor much better! I think your dharma teacher is on the money...

I'm GREAT at flowing with routine and habits, not so great at actually flowing. THAT is very difficult to do!