Ashlyn Pond, the pond on our property is my sanctuary. I discovered it to be this place during a most difficult year in my life. It started as an escape, a place to disconnect (no connectivity to anything but nature down there) and be comforted by the sounds and scents of Mother Nature. It ended up being the only place I was able to breathe during a year of huge loss and grief. The following is an excerpt from my book Fear to Flow about this place where I began to learn that we are not meant to struggle through life.
Stop the Struggle
The flow of the pond. It’s where I found my peace. It’s where I found myself. It’s where I learned that the true way to create anything in life is to step away from the things that don’t feel right and step toward those that make you feel at home. It’s just as Rumi says:
“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you love. It will not lead you astray.”
At first going to the pond was an escape for me. It helped me shut off the chatter in my head telling me to do, do, do, and I should, should, should. Being surrounded by nothing but God’s beauty, tons of trees, frogs, turtles, birds, and other critters, made me realize that nature never struggles. Ever. It goes with the flow. It bends, blows, and even breaks, but always renews and reproduces, and never forces itself to do anything. Even in the many imperfections, there is great beauty.
I wanted to be in that flow. I wanted to stop the struggle. I wanted to allow. I wanted to stop “efforting.” I wanted to move away from “effort and struggle are required to get results and succeed” toward “what if I did nothing other than what I felt PULLED to do and obtained success that way?” This was a scary place for me – Ms. Get It Done, Take Action, Force It Until It Fits. But I was tired enough to consider this option.
I also believe the unstable ground beneath me created by my dad’s illness and the ripple effect of this across all areas of my life put me in the best place to make this change. I’d lived my entire life to keep things in control by forcing things into being, and yet my dad was dying, my business felt like a failure because it was not the business I desired or intended, and the foundation of what I thought was supposed to be the way to live your life to succeed (play by the rules and things will work out for you; do x, y, and z and you’ll be happy; eat your veggies, work out, take care of yourself, and be health conscious and you’ll be healthy) was no longer true.
What if I just stopped? What if I took a sabbatical? Would it all fall apart? Would I fall apart? Considering it felt as if that had already happened; it felt like I had nothing to lose. Still I resisted. I was scared. Yet I found myself drawn to the pond every day. I had to go down there to breathe the air, to feel like all the trees were hugging me (they surround the pond, so it’s easy to feel that way), to watch the carefreeness of nature and experience the non-struggle. Somehow something was telling me that the more time I spent down there, the more I’d transform myself into the same flow and the more I’d reconnect with that part of me – the part that had no beginning and no end; the part that knew struggle wasn’t necessary, that all is always well, and that I am supposed to thrive, feel joy and peace, and experience success without the struggle.
So as my dad’s illness progressed, I started going to the pond every day. If I wasn’t traveling and it wasn’t pouring down rain, I went. I sat. I prayed. I meditated. I wrote. I simply observed and had many full, sensory experiences. I was the most at peace while I was down there. Just Mother Nature and me, and it felt like perfection.
That was the first conscious step toward my journey into the state of flow; the first step toward my life of success without struggle – my life of peace and joy; and the first step toward this book, which I hope will help so many just like me. One small action to move toward something that truly tugged at my heart, gut, and soul was the small step that made a big difference. Being at the pond felt like coming home, and the more time I spent there, the more I knew there was a lot more to what this space on my property meant for my journey.
Where is the space that calls to you and pulls at your heart? I invite you to spend more time there…