Blog Author: Emilia Wheaton
Blog Editor: Kristen Kennedy Smith
With driven Pitta and airy Vata my dominant doshas, I am someone who has five to-do lists scattered around the house, written in my phone, scrambled in my head and there is NEVER enough time or organization required to complete them. Mix in our fast-paced and über productive culture, and it’s not only the pressure I put on myself to complete tasks but a societal expectation I feel to cram it all in and get it done. Examining this tendency of mine (and presumably of many, many others), I came to realize that this frantic drive to do wasn’t serving me; stressful doggedness to finish to-do lists resulted in low-quality outcomes and not a lot of fun or time for creative expression.
Fed up with my stressed-out self, I realized it was time to find my flow state and allow necessities and pleasures to weave into my days a bit more seamlessly. I’d heard the term passed around lightly though never really had taken the time to delve into finding a true meaning or discovering how I may find myself in flow. Based on what I had been experiencing, I could tell this stressed-out state was NOT flow state but exactly the opposite. When we are in flow things feel easy, time passes smoothly, and we are relaxed even when we are focused. Flow feels like riding a safe current in the direction you wish to go, not desperately treading water or struggling to swim upstream.
Though we don’t need to be in a complete meditative state to exist in flow, we must incorporate some of the attributes of meditation to keep ourselves clear of distraction or stress. We need to be conscious and fully present to allow ourselves to be completely engaged in what we are doing. In flow, we are not preoccupied about doing something else or worried about the future. We can look up to our favorite artists and envision them creating the masterpieces which invoke feeling and meaning; John Lennon didn’t write “Imagine” while he was pressed for time, distracted and with his head in the clouds. Great art is undoubtedly a product of flow, the output of our minds in their most relaxed, creative, flowing states. Wouldn’t it be incredible if we could grocery shop, clean the house, study, or pay our bills while in flow state?
I believe that, with a bit of conscious practice, we can incorporate this flow state into our daily lives, making it a habitual manner in which we move about our worlds. Granted, it’s easier said than done and, like any new practice, can truly require a sense of patient determination as we gently remind our minds to shift gears back into our flow state. This does not mean, however, to bully ourselves when we find ourselves out of our flow but to extend patience and understanding while we release ourselves from the stress and anxiety we are accustomed to experiencing. Return to the ocean current analogy: when we are used to treading water with a slight sense of desperation it can be a little foreign-feeling, a little disconcerting, to let the current whisk us away. Perhaps we first need to give ourselves space to release some pent-up stress from activities that aren’t in alignment with our priorities or true self. It is time to release pressure from ourselves; flow has no pressure, but is where we naturally feel we should be.
If you are someone who enjoys journaling, or you are feeling the inspiration to start, I invite you to respond to the following prompts:
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