I became suspicious of my process, my ambition this past Summer when a lot of doing was exhausting me and just didn’t feel like progress. So that when I stepped off the track and watched and listened to the noise of the race still trying to be won in my head, I noticed that this race wasn’t for me. It was for the approval of others. And thus, was unwinnable.

laura-harris-mosaic on striving vs flow on Shalavee.com

The Striving mode feels like all doing and pain and dread. It is a very masculine win/win attitude about progress and process. And one I have been invested in for a very long time without realizing it or really deriving any true pleasure from it. The striving is about “never enough”. It is about controlling your perception of me and hiding the true most sensitive part of me. It’s about impressing and distracting you with my doing.

Whereas my striving has sometimes been what’s made me write and publish, the Flow mode is very much the artistic visual side of me. When I allowed myself to prioritize daily art making for almost two months and indulge that side of my brain, I proved I could be kind to my inner child and I feel a lot more trustworthy and kind for it. The flow is the creative, the feminine, the Mother. Flow allows for the time to play because the wisdom knows that the truth lies there. And truth will always balance the scales between the two forces .

fairy on striving vs flow on Shalavee.com

In placing my energy and devotion on the larger process of understanding myself and allowing for the discovery of who I am rather than proving I am what I think you want me to be, I am elevating my confidence in myself by the moment. And the state of doing my best and letting go of the rest is proving to be a better one to live in. The projects that I am now dreaming of are ones I am looking forward to rather than dreading. And I don’t feel that clamorous grasping for hope I once did. I now live more inside hope for a better more productive future for whatever career this is leading me to.


Where striving felt like struggle, choke, clamber, and panic,

flow feels like listening, working, creativity, and lightness.

And that’s where I’d like to live.


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  1. Strive vs. Flow – I love the power of words to distill down intention & methodology like this to a fine point. It’s so much easier to self correct when I can recall that dichotomy – am I striving or am I flowing here?…and gently put down the heavier of the two. Thanks for your introspection, Shalagh.

    1. Thank you for reading Mala. I appreciate that we want to live in the same place. I’m busy letting go of anything that stands in my way of allowing for flow at least a couple times a week! And listening hard to the I want to’s instead of the I have to’s.

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