003- Going With The Flow

They say we’re supposed to set goals, to plan, go after what we want. But does that really work?

Image by The Korus

They say we’re supposed to set goals, to plan, go after what we want. But does that really work?

Today is day 3 of the Editor’s Journal; A daily thought on writing, the creative process, art, work, the world and how it all goes together. Every morning I rise between 5 and 6 am, I sit here in the quiet of my kitchen and I write whatever’s in my head. I do have a bunch of article ideas saved, so I’ll either pull from them or write something new. I also write at larrygmaguire.com. I hope you enjoy the read.

I’m 43, and when I consider the most significant experiences of my life to date it appears to me that they occurred without any prior planning, goal setting or otherwise.

Buying my first home, my second home, making tons of money, starting in business, meeting my wife and having kids, living in the US, folding two businesses, the list goes on.

Both so called good and bad experiences of the most significance seem to me to have occurred outside my conscious will to make things happen.

I certainly didn’t consciously will my business to go down the tubes - twice. There was no planning in any of it, and in retrospect it seems to me that it was more about doing what I felt like doing and going with it.

There was effort in it, sure. But it none of it was a laboursome effortful thing that I preconceived one afternoon and proceeded to meticulously plan to the end degree.

In fact anything that I did plan and work on consciously went to shit. So I’ve taken the last 6 to 7 years doing various stuff, but mostly sitting around thinking, to just let things happen and see where it goes.

The Fool In His Folly

I’ve spoken with friends who have experienced similar to me and to us who agree, it is obvious. Pushing things around, trying to make things happen, forcing people and circumstances to bend to our will just doesn’t work long term.

Exercising the need to control things is counter productive.

All it causes is suffering.

Now, at the same time that it doesn’t work, it does serve a purpose.

I’ve run a ton of marathons, and in doing that I figured out this going with the flow thing to a large degree. When running a marathon we can’t force it, we’ve got to flow with it, glide along, be in the moment. Because if we don’t we crash before the finish.

If we stress and strain, if we force the body, if we constantly are on the look out for mile markers and water stations then every step will be a torture. There’s no teaching this, we’ve just got to figure it out.

And in doing so it seems that we must go through the mill, so to speak. We’ve got to get it wrong before we get it right. Before we can understand it and know it we’ve got to see both sides.

A coin doesn’t have one side, does it?

There’s no day without night, there’s no love without hate, there’s not hot without cold. Apparent opposites coexist in the same space, they are complimentary and it is impossible for them to exist in isolation.

There’s no avoiding the pain side of the equation because we live in a relative world where things only come into being by virtue of their opposites.

The fool who persists in his folly will become wise — William Blake.

The Artist’s Manifesto is a short book about staying true to our art. It is a call to Artists and Creatives like you to create from the heart with passion and integrity, disregarding the need for applause and recognition. It’s available from 13th May 2017. Grab your FREE copy here.

The Art of Non Forcing

The Chinese call it wu wei, or the art of non forcing and it is a key principle of the philosophical teachings of the Tao.

Wu wei is sailing, it is paddling downstream, it is lying easy in the water and floating, it is letting the weight of the saw cut the wood.

Ever try to force the saw to cut the wood?

I did once and nearly took the hand off myself!

Going with the flow is realising that there is a greater power existent in the universe and when we can see it, well we can’t really see it, maybe feel it is more accurate…

When we feel it and go with it then we can ride the waves and come out the other side and everything will be alright.

The only thing to do then is to trust it. Feel what it is telling us and move in that direction.

But trusting it is difficult.

What if we get it wrong?

What if we fuck it up? We might look foolish, people might laugh, or pitty us and shit, we don’t want that…

Well, the only choice then is to stay where we are, and that it has proven to me doesn’t work either.

Therefore we really have no choice.

We are it and it’s going to move either way. We either go with it or we suffer.

The Artist’s Manifesto is a short book about staying true to our art. It is a call to Artists and Creatives like you to create from the heart with passion and integrity, disregarding the need for applause and recognition. It’s available from 13th May 2017. Grab your FREE copy here.

Like Some More of This Kind of Thing?

Howdy, I’m Larry, Writer & Artist. Thanks for taking the time to read my stuff. I write about art & creativity. When I’m not doing that I write short stories about the ordinary lives of people and the challenges they face. My stuff can be edgy, hard hitting, and sometimes controversial, but never contrived. If that’s your bag you can Sign-up To Sunday Letters Here.