Flow – The Secret to HappinessFlow 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.
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.
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.