Getting Stuff Done: Mind, Momentum and Flow
by Gola Taraschi-Carr
Meet Moonshadow our miniature and toy mix poodle puppy. Actually, he is not a puppy anymore but he still looks like one. He stands a full eleven inches from his shoulder to the ground. He is small but mighty, taking on anyone who stands in the way of what he considers his – toys, chewy treats, and, of course, my lap. His sister Lucy has a good fifty pounds of weight on him but even she has learned that incurring his ire is definitely not worth it. Moonshadow is the most persistent dog in the world. He has an incredible amount of patience to go with that persistence. He doesn’t easily give up when he wants something. His mind is so highly focused that he can literally stare you down for an hour to get what he wants. In our house, Moonshadow is a true bad boy – naughty, manipulative and full of drama but oh so lovable and huggable with the face of an angel.
We have a couch in our livingroom that is seventeen inches from the floor. The scenario that prompts me to write this goes something like this: Me, flopped on couch; Moonshadow standing on his hind legs and pawing at the top of the couch; He stares at me; I watch him; I feel resentful that that I may have to move from my comfortable position; He continues to stare; I ignore him for between five to ten minutes; He continues to stare; I feel guilt and stress ensues; I give up and lift him up; and he sits on my lap and stays there until I move again.
Now the point is, I have seen, this seven pound dynamo leap repeatedly as high my shoulders (I am five foot six inches tall) when I stop to talk to someone at the park during our walk and he wants to get my attention. A veritable canine paddleball, he bounces up and down – boing, boing, boing – with such rhythmic intensity and comedic timing that he always garners a rash of praise and delightful giggles from those nearby. I have seen him leap effortlessly onto our bed (which is twenty one inches off the floor) when Lucy is chasing him or when he is just full of joy about snuggle time with us at the end of a long day. I have often wondered, why is it, that on certain occasions and under certain circumstances Moonshadow is able to literally make the leap to attain his heart’s desire and at other times not? After watching him for some time, I have concluded that it is all about momentum.
Momentum can be defined as “the strength of force that something has when it is moving”. Like many of us, when Moonshadow is feeling good, hopeful, excited and happy, he believes he can take on the world. His mind is clear and focused on what he wants and there is no voice of anxiety, doubt or fear. When Moonshadow’s mind carries thoughts of happiness and positivity, he flows with what is happening around him and rides a wave of momentum that helps him leap effortlessly to attain what he wants. This happy wave literally block out negative thoughts like “I can’t do this”, or “I am too scared to try”. There is no nagging negative voice or inner naysayer that gets in his way. Similarly, when he is feeling down, bored or insecure and just not excited about his life, he cannot make the leap he wants to make. The direction of his mind at those times creates a different wave of momentum, one that spirals into negative thoughts and fears. Moonshadow’s positive qualities of patience, focus and persistence fly out of the proverbial window.
How many of us have been there? I certainly have. How many of us have been in this state of happy flow that seems to carry us with a momentum all its own? Being happy and engaged in our desired purpose creates flow and when we are flowing, even work doesn’t even feel like work. We are being carried by a wave of positive momentum that builds on good feelings and thoughts, reduces stress and anxiety and helps us get stuff done.
Now when I really need to get things done, be it a work deadline or a creating a family dinner for twenty, I find a good place to start is be to begin to watch my mind and its thoughts. When we practice watching for a while, we will begin to notice that we actually can have a relationship with our thoughts. We can direct the flow. A few good questions to ask yourself are: “Am I riding a positive or negative wave of momentum?” and “Is this wave of momentum taking me where I want to be?” In the end, the one lesson that Moonshadow has taught me is that our mind can help us or hinder us, it just depends on how well we master its flow.