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Flow – The Secret to Happiness

Flow is the natural, effortless unfolding of our life in a way that moves us towards wholeness and harmony. ~Charlene Belitz & Meg Lundstrom

The majority of the books that sit on my shelves are ones that I have read, or deliberately decided not to read after losing interest after a page or two. So I was a little taken aback when I found one sitting smack dab in the middle of various dog-eared novels that I hadn’t read yet—The Power of Flow.

In all likelihood it was a transplant from my parent’s extensive self-help collection, one that must have snuck into one of my boxes. Yet, I hadn’t noticed it until I was—conveniently—experiencing stagnation in many areas of my life.

I’d say this is what “divine timing” is all about.

I spent the next few hours swimming in the pages, recalling all the times in my life when things seemed to fall in to place and doors opened without any physical effort on my part–the times when I was completely and totally “in the flow.”

I made an intention in that moment to pay closer attention to the things I would routinely call coincidences that were in fact messages pushing me to take a certain path, to let go or to be present in the moment.

I also took note of the emphasis on being completely open to receiving these messages.

The next morning I took my car in to do a routine oil change, making an offhand comment to the mechanic that my power steering was occasionally locking when it was parked.

After looking over my car for 30 minutes, he returned with the verdict—the repairs would be $1,900, about $1,850 more than I was planning on spending.

Now that was a hiccup in my flow.

I took a few deep breaths, chugged down my coffee and tried to let the incident roll of my back.

On my way home, still fretting over the cost, I stopped at a stoplight. Right in front of me was a car that had a license plate with one simple word: receive.

The message could have meant a multitude of things to the driver, but to me it was a synchronistic message — let go of the worry and receive the good that is coming to you.

It was a seemingly unrelated chain of events that was able to offer me support in a situation that would have normally left me frustrated and without much faith — coming across the book, being in a place where I could take in the knowledge it was offering, then receiving a message that spoke directly to what I was experiencing and feeling in the moment.

Despite the outward appearance of the less-than-stellar circumstances, I still felt significantly calmer knowing that the pieces were falling where they should.

This also taught be something important: being in the flow doesn’t mean that seemingly negative experiences can’t touch us, it simply allows us to move through them with greater grace and ease.

My body was signaling this to me as well. Normally when I’m shaken by something unexpected, something I feel like I’m not prepared for, my stomach drops instantly then feels like a jumble of nerve endings until I’m able to move through the emotion.

This time the feeling in my body remained neutral, as if I instinctively knew that everything would be ok. I was mentally and physically in the flow.

In my effort to incorporate flow back in to my everyday experience I continue to remind myself of these three things:

Reminder #1: Everything is Interconnected

If we see every event and experience as something that is isolated, we miss out on the messages that we could gather from connecting the dots and giving thought to the lessons being offered.

Life becomes significantly more profound when we are able to weave events and experiences together in order to see the bigger picture.

It also offers a feeling of support when we are able to recognize that a plan is unfolding for us, and everything we need to grow is being presented to us as we need it.

We cannot experience flow until we are able to see the strings connecting everything we have experienced, everything we are currently experiencing and everything we have yet to experience.

Reminder #2: Listen to Yourself

You aren’t in the flow if you refuse to listen to yourself.

In order to experience flow, we must become better at something the vast majority of us struggle with: trusting our instincts.

We might have an urge out of the blue to do a certain thing or call a certain someone, but instead of acting on it, we question the validity of the thought and brush it aside because it’s out of the ordinary.

We don’t trust that we heard the message right and therefore we let the moment pass us by. In other words we fight what the Universe is telling us is the path of least resistance in order to maintain our current level of comfort.

Fighting is always the opposite of being in the flow.

Reminder #3: Pay Attention to Effortless Living

Pay attention to how it looks and feels to be living effortlessly.

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that life isn’t supposed to be hard and struggle isn’t a natural state to be in.

If we pay careful attention to what flow looks and feels like, not only are we more likely to be able to re-create it again, but we are able to know instantly when something has run off course.

When I was 16 I struggled for months to decide if I should switch schools or stay where I was. I was noticeably unhappy in my current situation but fear kept me from moving forward into something better. I felt completely stuck.

Then one day the walls suddenly dropped and I made a decision to change to a school that I hadn’t considered before. It didn’t feel forced in any way, in fact, I felt lighter than I had felt in weeks. By the end of the day the logistics were ironed out and I had a clear path in front of me.

The feeling that I felt — that of sudden knowing — is what I have returned to for the past 8 years to guide me back into a state of flow.

Being in the flow is the natural state of life, but we must decide it is so — even when our environment and upbringing has told us otherwise.

** Have you ever experienced something that told you that you were in the flow? Share your own experiences and stories in the comment section below. Can’t wait to read it.

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About the author

Kayla Albert is freelance writer intent on living life deliberately. You can follow her at Confessions of a Perfectionist. If there's a writing project you'd like for her to tackle, visit her website at kaylaalbert.com

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15 thoughts on Flow – The Secret to Happiness

  1. This is beautiful. I learnt that Whenever there is a flow, there’s always a resistance. Very often we’re the resistance. We tend not to trust our instincts and rarely believe that some events are interconnected and this can affect us negatively. Thank you albert. :)

  2. sonal

    Very good article . Life is full of incidents when we feel stuck in particular situation and we are waiting for a towing truck to push us us outside so that there is no harm to our inside body .But when we feel relaxed we see ourselves outside of that hollow ditch with out any outside help , just a thought comes in our mind and we do something to make us feel good . It can be a small activity , like preparing good food and eating it , taking a relaxed shower , taking one day off and go for shopping, buy some thing useless , return it next day , watching other people , talk to a friend or watching a movie only changes the whole situation and we feel ourselves moving in different ship that is having hope . Hope to sail in it with different flow . Life moves more smoothly and we solve our problems ourselves or the problem solver is just in front of us giving us helping hand to walk in flow and without any effort we start moving . We sit quietly and find God watching and telling , get up my baby , nothing to worry any more , you can do it , you can go ahead , try different way to get whatever we want is with us with our own efforts .

  3. henri

    Hey that’s Perfume!

    Thanks Kayla :)

  4. Hey, well I had to smile because this came into my life when I have been wrestling with flow and needed a reminder – when I start to wrestle my trust falls away leaving anxious… Thanks ;)

  5. Kayla,

    Thank you for the nice share. I started learning this principle only a few years ago and so foreign to me, it was.

    I went Christmas shopping with one of my daughters last Friday and I would literally think of something I wanted and there it would be. It happened several times that day.

    I also don’t believe in coincidences. I have found not worrying and learning to listen to my intuition to be most challenging. Thank God, it is all getting better now that I am aware.

    Blessings!

  6. So true. We make it hard. It’s rarely as hard as we think it is. This is true no matter what “it” is.

  7. Willum

    Great article! If i feel that i’m starting leaving the flow, I start to be present in the present moment. I say to myself: all there is is good, this is all there is. I just try stop thinking and worry about things I can’t change. And after a while I feel free and flowing again… Love you all xxx

  8. Great post. I believe that to make the most out of our lives that we should always choose the path of least resistance. This is not to say to take things easy, but to take the path that is true to ourselves.

  9. Aloha, Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I really agree Reminder #2 is probably the most important one. We all set limitations on ourselves and give in to our own fears. Our gut feeling says one thing but then the voice of our self doubt is much louder.

    Mahalo. Aloha. A hui hou

  10. Katy Hedrick

    This is an absolutely brilliant post. Something I can relate to on so many levels. I have been recently doing a lot of reading on these type blogs to keep myself inspired. Also reading A Rebel Chick Mystic’s Guide by Lisa Selow. Her book has really motivated me to start living by my own rules and to get on with achieving my dreams and goals! I picked it up at her website lisaselow.com if anyone needs a great motivational read! Between this book and great posts like this one, I am well on my way!

  11. Zoe

    So many golden nuggets in this article that I can relate to. You just reminded me of my process that I have written about on my blog:
    I’m good when I’m flexible fluid and free
    Things can happen accidentally on purpose
    Life is fun but hard
    Push self imposed barriers out of the way

    Recently I have felt that I’ve been out of the flow because things aren’t happening the way I wanted, but again, I reminded of some very important truths. Reading this was good for me. And I have a favorite quote:

    “This also taught be something important: being in the flow doesn’t mean that seemingly negative experiences can’t touch us, it simply allows us to move through them with greater grace and ease.”

    Thank you for being in the flow and sharing!
    Zoe

  12. Your last example reminds me of Byron Katie’s The Work. She says that a decision will happen when it’s supposed to happen and that if we rush it, we only make it hard on ourselves.

    Sometimes we just have to let things be and wait.

  13. All is Oneness and kindness is our true beauty. By always giving what is improving each situation that we experience. We are constantly in the universal flow.

    Thanks for a great blogpost!

  14. Hi Kayla,

    What a truly fantastic article! Thank you for this beautiful, inspirational, and deeply insightful piece.

    One other wonderful effect of flow is incredible productivity. It is a most amazing feeling – suddenly, there is enough time for everything that we really want to do.

    Flow brings with it intense feelings of joy and well being, a profound contentedness with the world around us, and, as you said, a delightful ease.

    Thanks again for a most wonderful article!

  15. Thank you for the wonderful post Kayla.

    This reminded of Mihaly Csikszentmihaly’s book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. I read it years ago and your post reminded that I need to pick it up again. I guess I was in flow when I read your post!

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