Mindful with Irene (23)

Making Flow is pretty easy. Or is it? Irene talks about a steadily-growing organization.

“Isn’t it difficult to make something like Flow?” That’s a question we often get asked. Followed by: “It seems so hard, always having to come up with all those ideas.” And that’s what’s so funny, because the easiest thing about making Flow is…making Flow. We never run out of ideas: they’re always there, we find inspiration everywhere, and our heads are always full of stuff. And when I think of A, Astrid says B and, together, we create C, which works out just fine. It may be quite a special way of working, but it feels pretty normal to us. So what is the hardest thing about making Flow? It’s the fact that we are growing. Since launching it eight years ago, we obviously no longer make it with just the two of us; we now have a team of about 20 people working on Flow. And that’s where it becomes difficult. Because who meets with whom, who is responsible for what, and—something that is very important to us—is everyone doing what they are best at? When we started our magazine, we never envisioned that one day, we would have to concern ourselves with charts and legal issues and foreign contracts…

Being the impatient and perfectionist person that I am, I struggled with this the past few years, and was quite often frustrated that not everything was going as smoothly as I would have liked. But recently, I have started to look at everything that is happening from a different, more curious, perspective. And it’s a much nicer way to look at things: problems are simply solvable issues, and complicated situations are just funny puzzle pieces that must somehow fall into place. This week, I noticed how much more relaxed I have become, compared to a year ago. But that proves my point yet again: in most cases, it is not the situation that is the problem, it’s your thoughts on the situation that complicate matters. It’s so nice to have a magazine from which I can still learn so much every day!

Irene, together with Astrid, is the founder and creative director of Flow Magazine. She lives with her children (10 and 13, co-parenting) in Haarlem, the Netherlands. Each Friday, she writes about how various Mindfulness lessons apply in her daily life.