Understanding my story…
As I seek to understand myself better and to help find a way forward I have started to explore who I am, (and why I am who I am) As I feel that this will connect me deeply with what I want to be doing. By looking at it this way I feel that I am trying to allow my story to shape the work I do. Rather than allowing what i do to shape my story. For me, and the way I think, this makes much more sense, and is way more authentic and congruent.
In one of my weekly check in’s with my good friend Sonia we discussed this and she referred to this as a “Deep Flow Narrative”. This stuck with me and after a few days of mulling it over I connected with her again about it. It just so happened that in The Mindful Shutterbug Community that week we were looking at the topic “Purpose”. So I approached Sonia to write about the Deep Flow Narrative and what it means to her:
Will has asked me to say a little about my deep flow narrative. It is something I first came across when I attended a retreat led by Ian and Gail Adams. One of the questions they posed as part of the retreat is to think about what our deep flow narrative is and whether we are in deep flow and if possible to write some words describing our deep flow narrative. They describe deep flow as being the place where our deep gladness meets the worlds deep need, words they have taken from Fred Buechner. For me thinking and reflecting on what my deep flow narrative is has been so helpful. Being able to come up with a short description about what that looks like has been such a helpful exercise, it is has been particularly helpful for me to check back with when opportunities come along I ask myself if they fit with my deep flow. Are they going to aid it or move me away.
I am a self employed trainer, nurture consultant and writer. As a nurture consultant I work part time in schools with four years olds who have social, emotional and mental health difficulties, they find daily life in school overwhelming and challenging. My job is to nurture them and support their wellbeing, support and guide their staff, my job is to help the children to feel safe, loved and special. Through the training and the writing my role is to guide others to support children in their wellbeing. For me at this moment, right now, I feel like I am in my deep flow. I know what I should be doing and I am doing it. I love my job, it brings me a lot of joy, there are also times of deep sadness with it, as the children’s stories can be heart breaking, but I know I am making a difference, in the words of Fred Buechner I know I am meeting the worlds need, this may only be in a small way, with a few staff and children, but I know it is right. But the other essential part for my deep flow is also nurturing myself. I can not work in my deep flow and support the children and staff if I am not nurturing myself, so I am very very intentional about how I care for myself. I swim early morning 5 days a week, I walk regularly, do yoga once a week and use mindfulness daily. These are essentials, they are not luxury or selfish, they are things I have to do, alongside that I read lots, ensure I make time to be with friends and family, garden and wild swim ( not quite all year round with this, but hoping to start again soon), all these together enable me to be well, they enable me to be in my deep flow.
One of the poems we looked at in the retreat was by the poet Mary Oliver, her poem The Summer day ends with the lines :
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
These words have been a helpful guidance, I want to be able to die knowing I made a difference, knowing that I loved others and I was loved and I did things in my life that brought me joy. The photo added is of one my resources, calming sensory rice, with Thomas trains. I use this resource as a way of calming, soothing a child, the trains were for a boy who adored Thomas the Tank, this resource reminded he was in a safe place, with someone who listens to him and knows what brings him joy.
This has been so significant in the last fortnight to help solidify my thoughts on who I am made to be.
So the next step for me was to really dig into who I am. So I returned to my life line that I had drawn and added more to it. I explored my passions & dreams as well as experiences. I drew more lines connecting these together.
I then included more and more of the smaller things that I have done and would like to do. Trying to get in as much detail as I could. This is then where the fun started.
Now, my eldest daughter has recently become a little obsessed with Marie Kondo who is a Japanese Organising Consultant.
Kondo’s method of organising is known as the KonMari method, and consists of gathering together all of one’s belongings, one category at a time, and then keeping only those things that “spark joy”
So I took this methodology and started to apply it to everything on my time line. The interesting thing is that even on some of the toughest parts of my file I found that there were sparks of joy. Not because of what had happened but because of what I had become because of that experience. The deeper I went with it the more a pattern started to emerge. The reoccurring themes of my life and work and passions came together and something really started to take shape.
If I am going to create something new in my life and out of my life. If there is going to be a story that emerges from the mess and brokenness it has to be authentic and congruent with my whole self. That is something I am getting close to discovering.