Do You Want to Live More in Flow?

Well, you’re right in the work, you lose your sense of time, you’re completely enraptured, you’re completely caught up in what you’re doing, and you’re sort of swayed by the possibilities you see in this work. . . – Mark Strand, poet

Water garden MGD©What lights you up? What experiences take you out of yourself and leave you feeling profoundly inspired? When we engage in these experiences or activities our mind chatter quiets and we find ourselves capable of so much more that we thought. We find ourselves in the expanded state of flow.

Flow is most often associated with top athletes or perhaps jazz musicians. There is a tendency to think of it as the domain of a select few rather than an experience accessible to all.

I recently listened to a talk by Jamie Wheal, Co-Founder of the Flow Genome Project, which is devoted to studying the different ways we can experience flow, that optimal state of consciousness or peak state where we both feel our best and perform our best. So far they have identified four main categories for ways individuals find their flow.

The first group they call The Hard Chargers are those adrenaline junkies who seek challenging physical adventures like running, rock climbing, surfing or hang gliding. Then there are the Deep Thinkers, those given to solitude, reflection, and working with creativity where they enjoy being deeply absorbed in making something whether a poem, a rocking chair or a garden. The third group they call Flow Goers who engage activities like meditation, yoga, or tai chi to find flow. Last are the Crowd Pleasers, the extroverts and social butterflies who enjoy being in the thick of social activity. I love this work since it expands our awareness on the possibilities for living in flow and we can see more easily the ways we are already tapping this state.

Wheal also spoke of our present time in the world, that in spite of the conflicts and problems, as being the most peaceful and prosperous period in world history. Yet people are experiencing high levels of stress, apathy, depression and anxiety. He suggested that this may be the result of the fast pace of our lives and information overload being too much for the current operating system of who we think we are. He suggested that our ego based, mind oriented self simply can’t handle the challenges We feel overwhelmed and incapable of affecting change.

The capacities we experience in flow states give us access to expanded abilities of problem solving and accelerated learning that allow us to move through the world and our challenges with grace and new levels resourcefulness.

I identify most with the Deep Thinker group where spending quiet, reflective time in nature and my pleasure in being creative regularly put me in flow. Although I’d more likely call it Deep Feeler since my heart is more involved than my mind and I am able to do things my mind doesn’t think it can do. These practices I regularly engage in put me in flow and allow me to be more peaceful and objective about the great challenges we face in the world today and consider creative solutions.

Take a minute and consider which category you relate to the most and the ways you are already accessing flow. I think categories can overlap. You may be a Deep Thinker who enjoys doing yoga. Being mindful of how you can work with flow states can really expand your possibilities and sense of well being. To start pick one activity that calls to you and play with it. See if you don’t feel more expansion, clarity and joy from the experience.

If you enjoyed this article subscribe to my free newsletter. Just click on the Mail List Subscribe tab in the column on the left, enter your email and I’ll send you my Creativity eBooklet for guidance and inspiration. Thanks!

Leave a Reply