Mention the word ‘structure’ to some people, and they’ll reel back as if you’ve just slapped them around the face with a wet fish! Others, like me, love it to the point of obsession; at least that was me a few years ago.
But the opposite of structure – flow, can have the same effect on people. And a few years back, I would have been one of those who would have felt slapped by the wet fish, if you’d have said to me “just go with the flow, Wendy”.
But just as with yin and yang, masculine and feminine, dark and light, both are needed. Structure without flow becomes rigidity and flow without structure becomes direction-less. The extremes of both of these characteristics mean we don’t get stuff done as effectively as we could.
I liken flow and structure to a river and its banks, the banks being what ‘holds’ the river, providing the direction of flow. The banks are also an integral and important part of the river’s life, providing a breeding ground and habitat for animals and birds. To stop the river from eroding the banks, vegetation is needed to stabilise and keep the structure. I love this analogy of structure and flow being natural and equally important parts of us, that to be effective and creative, we need both.
Living and working from our natural flow means we are showing up in authentic creativity, our very life force. And the structure we create, gently holds the direction of the flow. Natural creativity at its best.
The trick to showing up from this place of ‘structured flow’ is in making sure it’s your natural rhythms that are creating the structures, not the other way around, from ego. (I’m reminded of the river in my town, where the banks were created to force a direction of flow, and over the years, the detrimental impact that had on the wildlife and surrounding habitats. Thankfully, more recently, the natural flow has been restored.)
How much ‘structured flow’ is there in your life and work?
How well do you know your natural rhythms, and are you allowing them, or forcing something different?
What impact is this having on your ability to achieve your goals?
It is my belief that how successful we are at achieving our goals in life, is underpinned by how much we allow our natural flow.