Staying In A Flow State
I want to explore the concept of flow. For your sake, but also for my own.
Flow is when you’re ‘on’. Incredibly on. When you notice that over the past few days, weeks, months, you have felt increasingly energised and alive, empowered, passionate, happy and healthy, successful and basically just, well, ON.
When you’re in flow you feel as though you truly could do anything.
Be anybody or anything.
Even have anything.
You feel as though the world is there for the taking and sometimes as though the world is being handed to you on a plate. Have you ever felt that way?
I’ve been happily falling further and further into flow over the past 2-3 weeks.
The makings of it have been whispering away at me for a good 3 months or so, but I’ve had plenty of back and forth before arriving where I am now. Plenty of self-loathing, self-doubt, worrying, second guessing. All not so fun stuff which draws my attention away from the good, and therefore perpetuates itself if I’m not careful.
But somehow – magically almost – I’ve slipped over to the other side in the past few weeks. And now that I’m fully in flow, fully on?
I feel unstoppable.
Here are some of the things I notice about being in flow. They’re recurring for me. I can think back to other occasions in my life when I was in complete flow and I know I felt exactly the same way.
- I feel as though all of my senses are on super high alert.
- Opportunities are everywhere. I’m seeing more of them, and acting on more of them as well.
- I feel energised, alive, creative, happy
- I feel an incredible sense of pent up energy, like I just need to be writing or creating nearly all of the time. It’s literally bubbling up to get out of me.
- My workouts have become extreme. I’m able to push myself in a way I haven’t regularly done for years. I literally had to go hand over hand down the stair railing leaving the gym yesterday because my legs were completely and utterly spent. There was not an ounce of oomph left in them. And my clothes had to be wrung out. I was lifting weights, by the way, not doing cardio.
- My work is getting better. My writing I mean, but also my general efficiency, my knowledge of what needs to be done next or first or at all.
- I’m having more fun. In my business and in communication with you and other readers, but just in general in my life.
- I’m smiling more
- I feel powerful
- I feel happy with my body, and my hard work is paying off more and more each week
- I feel fulfilled
- I know that things are only going to get better, that I’m going to kick some major life planning butt this year
- Oh and the ideas! Ideas are falling out of me at a crazy pace. I have started idea files everywhere, and just keep adding to them. It’s not about wanting to carry out all the ideas, but the act of constantly being in idea mode means that out of the 100 or so I’ve recorded in the past week or two there are a couple of very good ones I probably will act on.
the mystery of flow
Being in flow is amazing.
I feel as though living this way is what I was designed for. Who I’m supposed to be. And I love it. Wouldn’t you love feeling and being all of those things? Of course you would 🙂 I hope that you do already.
And I’m sure you have experienced your own similar version of being in flow at some point.
Perhaps not for a very long while, or perhaps quite recently.
Maybe you’re in flow at the moment, and you’re nodding your head, laughing and smiling as you delightedly recognise everything I’m saying.
Or maybe you’re rolling your eyes at my frivolity. Maybe this post is annoying you because you think – you know – that life just can’t be that good. And you think (admit it, a little smugly) that I’m heading for a fall.
If that’s the case you’re definitely not in flow. At the moment. Not to say you can’t get there, but there’s some work to be done first.
Which brings me to the point of this article, and I hope you’ll comment on the article and help me out.
Because here’s the problem –
While I can point to certain actions I believe contributed to my gradually and then very suddenly falling into flow, I can’t give you an exact blueprint for how I did it. More annoyingly, for me at least, I can’t give myself one. And, as I wrote earlier on, I can think back to other occasions in my life when I was in complete flow.
Clearly, something happened to drag me out of flow.
But this time I don’t want that to happen. I refuse to let it happen! (Stamps foot). I think that recognising it’s a possibility for me to let it slip away rather than just assuming it won’t may be part of the answer.
If you’ve ever been in flow (and you have, but it’s possible you can’t remember), you’ll know that you can fall out of flow just as suddenly as you were swept up into it. It can be brutal. Literally from one day to the next – even from one moment to the next – you can go from feeling confident, powerful, energised, to being riddled with doubt, anxiety and worry.
This, of course, is the moment of choice.
The moment when we can say to ourselves NO. No I do NOT want to go back to thinking that way. To acting and choosing out of fear rather than out of possibility and love.
Instead, thank you very much, I think I’ll continue to focus on the good things. On the no-matter-how-small nugget of hope I find in even the most upsetting situation. And I’m going to continue believing that my thoughts do manifest my reality; my future and even my present. So while I may not be able to stop myself observing the things I don’t like about myself or my surrounds, I’m going to use that observation clinically, simply to note down at least one useful and positive ‘take away’, and then turn my energy back to being in flow.
And in doing so I’ll continue to manifest happiness. Hope. Energy. Success. Good things for myself and for others.
It’s quite amazing, if you think about it, how a simple mindset shift can give you back your power.
Before you’ve even taken action. And isn’t it just the most powerful thing ever to know that you have that choice?
Looking back I think that previous flow periods in my life slipped away because I didn’t know I had to appreciate them. I didn’t truly stop and think about how I got there either, I think a combination of youth and naivety and maybe even arrogance had me believing I was just going to continue merrily along without needing to actively prepare myself to do so.
The truth is that no matter how good life is, we are still going to encounter challenge. Adversity. Hardship. Pain. Flow doesn’t mean that none of those things will exist.
But understanding flow, understanding the constant choice you have over your mindset and your reactions means that you can determine how you react to those things.
And THAT is what will determine whether you stay in flow or whether you slip out. Sometimes when you slip out you don’t seem to be able to fight your way back in for months or even years. And it is a fight. When you’re not in flow life feels like a constant battle. And all the willpower in the world won’t mean that you feel in love with your life, even though you may claw your way to your goals and with grit teeth be able to acknowledge some success.
So really, it’s smarter to avoid the fight and simply stay in flow. And a lot more fun 🙂
getting to flow
Before I let you go, here are some things that I believe have helped me get into flow and that are helping me stay in flow. Most of them, if I think back, were present in previous flow period of my life as well.
- Journaling. Nearly daily. Every time I start journaling regularly, it takes a few weeks but good things start to happen to me. I become more lucky.
- Writing down ideas. Forcing them out until they start flying out. Why? Why not.
- Being honest with yourself. Saying no to things that don’t truly sit right with you, or that you simply don’t have time or desire for even though you may have been trying to convince yourself otherwise.
- Slowing down. Acknowledging that less is more. And that by doing less all of a sudden more is open to you.
- Writing affirmations
- Reading a lot. When I’m in flow I can’t even stand to read my favourite chick-lit stuff that usually acts as an escape for me. All I want to read is self-development stuff. And I’m churning through it. Often until late at night. Speaking of which –
- Sleeping less, but deeper. Or maybe sleeping the same but noticing you are managing better. That you’re more alert.
- Letting the ideas come out when they need to; the creativity. On Sunday I took the iPad to brunch with me and wrote 1500 words on my new book before my food arrived. I just had to. And it felt great. Why ignore something like that; why say ‘now is not the time’, or ‘I don’t need to do it’, or ‘I can do it later’? If now is not the time, when is? Life is NOW.
- Setting goals and beliefs. In detail. Yesterday I spent 2 hours on life planning. I wrote 14 pages of large font beliefs I am manifesting into my life. I’m going to bluetack them all over my home and work office. I have 5 pages of small font goals as well. Written very specifically, with dates and detail. I’ve recorded where I am now and the difference required to get to where I want to go. I’m going to stick them up in both offices also. Being in flow is a great time to set goals, and to dream big. Not doing so would be silly. Why not take advantage of feeling (being!) so powerful and so certain of how much you can achieve? Set some audacious goals when you’ve got the nerve, and before your non-flow mind can roll its eyes start breaking the goals down. And then start making them reality.
So it seems in writing about flow and exploring the concept that I have started to figure out at least part of the answer. Which was kind of the point 🙂
But I’d still like your help.
I’d love your suggestions on how to stay in flow, for my own sake as well as yours. Please do share them with me. If you have no idea at all, all the more reason to think about it. To open yourself up to possibility.
Don’t forget –
Life is Now. Press Play.
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