Welcome to the Ohm Coaching newsletter! I am a Creative and a Human Technologist who provides coaching, professional development and custom training to people and their organizations. In each newsletter, you will find an article followed by two related sections that support growth in life and work: “Creative Practice – the Soul of Creativity” and “Books are Beautiful.” I will also note where you can find me for public events. Enjoy! Melanie
The salt shaker tilts precariously in a few grains of salt, two columns of numbers total in unity and the dancer poses in breathtaking stillness. Each one has arrived at a place of repose. Ahhh, this is balance. Balance is that moment of perfection, right?
I yearned for balance – and pursued balance – as a place of arrival. There’s work-life balance, balancing the checkbook, balanced diets, balancing a busy workload, balance sheets… you know, BALANCE.
I understood that balance comes from being in the flow, containing the impulse to resist. To defeat IMBALANCE, I hunted down resistance and sought to understand what flow meant in my life. The messages around me were that resistance is BAD. It manifests mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually and socially. I needed to deal with it – even as I… resisted…it. Resistance is opposition and struggle. It’s stubbornness (oh, horror). Flow is unity and successful passage. It’s surrender. Flow gets a lot better press than resistance – unless you’re an electrician. Then your life depends on it.
Did you know that electrical resistance is measured in ohms? I’ve known this since I was about 11 years old. Because I am an Ohm, and my dad taught mathematics at an engineering school, Ohm’s Law was an inescapable truth of the strange variety. Ohm’s Law has a great deal to say about resistance and flow … and balance, but I will leave that to an engineer to describe to you. The message in Ohm’s Law for us, we can uncover without an engineering lesson. Being an Ohm myself, I’ve had more lessons than anyone should require on the subject. For example, in my 30’s I learned not to get on an elevator at an engineering conference with a name tag on. The current flowing my way was irresistible.
It’s time for the truth. RESISTANCE and FLOW are interconnected, each necessary for the manifestation of the other. The point at which resistance and flow meet is opportunity and potential.
When resistance narrows the path of flow, the flow is faster. When resistances arise, they alter the path of flow or create many paths. These are simple lessons of the river.
When flow runs into resistance, its shape conforms to that resistance in some way and in turn brings definition to that which stands in its path.
Resistance and flow are part of larger events. The message in the resistance and flow of the river can be read by those who are practiced at observing and listening. The canoeist moves through the rapids by ear and eye, seeing what lies beneath the water in the signs and sounds of the currents. She responds with course adjustments, checking and increasing speed by altering the stroke of the paddle and her balance in the canoe. The paddle is resistance applied to the river’s flow, which itself is being transformed by other forces of resistance. The canoeist charts her path in a flow that is shaped by opposition. This is mastery and this is balance.
I like the idea of balance as equilibrium. Merriam-Webster defines equilibrium as “a state OF ADJUSTMENT between opposing or divergent influences or elements.” This definition allows balance to accommodate movement as well as stillness. It provides a space for other forces to work – me and you. We can make adjustments at the edge of resistance and flow where possibility is open to us.
As I shift this conversation to daily life and finding equilibrium for mind, body, emotions and spirit in our environments and in our social systems, I will point out that resistance at an extreme is blockage. Flow at an extreme is overwhelm. If we view this idea on a continuum, there are degrees of resistance and flow. When the art of navigating resistance and flow is not mastered in our lives, we may find ourselves trapped in blockage or overwhelm, unable either to move or to stop.
However, when we begin to master the continuum, we are able to make adjustments, applying resistance to alter and power our course and speed.
I honor the resistance in myself when it arises. It is telling me something – about myself, about a relationship, about how I spend my energy, about my focus for the day. The go-go-go of flow needs to be checked. I honor the flow as it draws me into my life each day, fueling possibility, gaining speed as it curves around obstacles and shoots toward my goals.
We are all human, sometimes mired in resistance or caught on the gerbil’s wheel of uncontrolled flow. With mastery comes shifts of perspective, clarity of direction, connection to one’s purpose and confident decision-making for wholeness and fulfillment – in life and in work. If you are ready to love your life again, reach out to me (email@example.com). Melanie
Creativity is often spoken of as a skill or talent. I view Creativity as the outcome of regular practices that stretch me and create conditions of potential in my environment. Each month I offer a creative practice that aligns with my article. Creative practices prepare us to see the world differently, change the questions we ask, explore, take risks, nourish wholeness and connection in our lives and, of course, make things.
This month the creative practice is about Questions. Questions have the power to redirect our attention, refocus where we put our energy, renew curiosity and re-“cognize” a problem or opportunity that needs attention or attracts exploration.
This month I encourage you to identify an imbalance or struggle in your life and begin to ask questions without judgment. What if…? – or what would it look like if…? – is a great place to start. The question allows a release of focus from your current experience of a situation and pokes the imagination into action. Write down your questions in a stream. No particular order, just as they come to you. Begin journaling in whatever way is comfortable (computer, journal, sketchbook). As certain questions resonate with you, jot down notes in response. Add to your questions over a week and be open to responses from within yourself, your friends and colleagues and your environment.
Example 1 Personal:
Struggle/Imbalance – Self-confidence
Sample Questions – What if my self-confidence was fearless? What would change if believed in myself at work or ….? Who would I be if I were confident? What change would I make today if didn’t limit myself? Who would be in my life? Where would I live? Where would I work? How do I lack confidence – physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, socially? Who believes in me more than I believe in myself?
Example 2 Workplace:
Struggle/Imbalance – Work team not meeting goals
Sample Questions – Are the goals appropriate? Is the timeline doable? Is the team behavior unproductive? If so, what is unproductivity costing my team and organization? What would be different if we were meeting goals? What is my role in this situation? Where can I go for support in my organization? What are the strengths of each of my team members? If I were able to approach a team member or leadership without being judgmental, what would that look like? What is it that I would like to see happen?
Each month I offer a few books that have something to say about the blog topic. Here a few books that speak to Resistance, Flow and Balance.
Children and Youthful Adult
Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson (1955, 1996)
How to Relax by Thich Nhat Hanh (2015)
Wholeness and the Implicate Order by David Bohm (1980)
September Public Appearances
Organizational Fit: Piecing Together Your Promotability Puzzle Sept. 10, 2016 | 9 – 11 a.m. Sponsored by the PMI Phoenix Chapter. Learn more by clicking here.
Thank you for being a part of my Community. Please let me know how I may support you in Life / at Work: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Melanie Ohm | Coach, Trainer, Consultant
Concepts Consulting Group, Inc.
Copyright © 2016 Melanie Ohm. All rights reserved.