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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.”

How to Come Alive

Photo by Rosie Hardy
Editor’s Note

This is such a simple, elegant and inspiring article. Make sure to give this a read. You'll be glad you did. :)

Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. ~Howard Thurman

No quote has ever had more of an impact on me than this one.

When I first read it, I was working in the accounting department of a government contractor in Virginia. I was commuting back and forth to the 3-bedroom house on ½ acre that I’d just bought and I was doing it in a sporty little Mazda 626.

I was making a respectable salary. I had parlayed my college degree into a “successful” career, and I was understandably proud of myself.

But I was not alive.

I was just one of hundreds of thousands of bean counters who sat in traffic a couple of hours a day to get to a cubicle in a maze of other cubicles to sit for another 8 to 10 hours a day trying to make numbers add up.

Why I Write

Photo by the talented Wynona Grey. See more of her work on flickr.

To me, writing is not work. Writing is like dancing with Existence, with Spirit, with God. It’s beautiful and precious. I get more satisfaction and energy from writing than I do from a few extra hours of sleep. Seriously.

Some days, when absorbed in the moment of writing down a stream of thoughts, I lose track of time, and I skip sleep altogether. And I function fine the next day–only with a bigger smile.

Sometimes a string of words will hit me so strongly that I will sit in front of the computer bawling. I cry, not because I am sad, but because I’ve experienced such intense joy that it moved me to tears.

Writing is just one form of creative outlet. I am no more qualified to write than you. And usually, as I relax and flow with my stream of consciousness, and write down whatever comes to mind, the result is surprising to me too. I am just a messenger after all.

Limiting Beliefs

Photo by Gala Darling

I never know what I’m going to write until I actually sit down to write it. Actually, the less I think about it, and just allow myself to relax into the flow, the better the writing usually takes shape.

My state of mind has everything to do with the quality of the final result. Thus, the lack of writing produced in the first 10 months of 2010 – as I was recovering and overcoming post-partum depression.

The biggest gift I received from the Good Mood Blogger contest was, that in entering it, a mental shift took place in me that pushed me over the edge of the mental blockage I was “stuck” in. And for that, I felt like a winner from the very beginning.

The mental blocks (aka. Limiting beliefs) we experience in life – not just in writing, but with taking action toward goals we want to accomplish – can have a detrimental effect which dramatically change the stories of our lives.

How to Wake Up Inspired …

Photo by Simón Pais

Inspiration is typically viewed as something that comes and goes. Some days you “feel it” more than others.

But what if you could be deeply and unconditionally inspired everyday? I bet it would make a difference in the quality of your life. You would probably wake up excited to start your day. You’d get more done, be more creative and feel more of that elusive “flow.” Being inspired also means enjoying the process more, instead of feeling forced and unnatural.

The best part of persistent inspiration is that action tends to be effortless. There isn’t so much trying, rather you’re more simply being and allowing whatever action is natural to flow out from you.

Most of us just wait for inspiration though. We passively anticipate our muse, instead of actively seeking it out.

You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.
~Jack London

I’ve been experimenting with something different for a while, purposefully taking responsibility for being inspired. For a while I didn’t know if it would work. Inspiration is kind of an elusive phenomenon after all. And even if you choose to look for inspiration, does that mean it will come?

38 Creative Gift Ideas

Photo by Stock Photo
How you spend your money is how you vote on what exists in the world.

Having spent my entire Thanksgiving weekend organizing and de-cluttering my living space, I am a bit afraid of acquiring any more stuff. I mean, I love receiving and opening presents, it makes me feel special… but soon it becomes just another thing that I take for granted, while adding to the clutter at home. As the saying goes, “The stuff we own ends up owning us”. Very true!

This year (and for all years after this), I’m advocating for no present exchanges amongst my circle of friends. Their love, friendship and occasional pet sitting favors will suffice. Thank you.

Having said that, many of you are still ‘obligated’ to produce presents. Thus, I’ve compiled this list of gift ideas, following last year’s tradition. Given my current bias towards owning nothing, this year’s list leans towards gift ideas that are practical, clever, frugal, or eco-friendly.

I had way too much fun compiling this list, and I hope that some of these ideas bring many more smiles to the loved ones in your life.

Pen Zen: Bring Clarity to Writing

Photo by g2slp

Have you ever read an email from someone that was too wordy, lacked focus, and left you confused? How can we learn from reading such emails to improve our own communication? How do we compose emails and writings that others will actually want to read?

The ability to write clearly is crucial to getting your message across no matter what you’re writing, whether it’s an email, a blog post, a magazine article, or a letter to a friend. Clear and concise writing is vital to having your words read and understood.

The whole purpose of most writing is to inform readers of something or to persuade people to do something. The more clear and concise your language, the easier your message will be understood, and the more likely your readers will respond to that message.

Before you can write clearly, you have to be able to think clearly. A big reason many writers don’t see desired success in conveying their message is that they were not focused on a clear message. Good writing usually stems directly from clear thinking.

In this post, we’ll first look at some common obstacles to clear thinking and writing, then offer some suggestions to develop the mental state for clear writing, and finally give some specific writing tips that, if implemented, will immediately add that magic touch of clarity to your writing.

How to Tap Your Nap

Photo by Stock Photo

What do you do when you have problems that need creative solutions? Would you like to be more creative? Are you willing to give sleep a try?

Thomas Edison, Salvador Dali and Stephen King all did it. So did Wagner, Poe and Twain. They all used this technique successfully at one time or another.

What am I talking about? The ability to use the initial stages of sleep to generate creative ideas or to solve a perplex problem. Sounds a little far-fetched, doesn’t it? I thought so too, until I discovered that many of the great scientists, artists and engineers of our time have used sleep as a means of inspiration and problem solving. It has been described as trolling or mining for ideas in the subconscious of our mind.

We now know that our minds are just as active while we are sleeping as when we are awake. Portions of the brain do shut down during the midnight hours, while others become active and take us to far-away places where the ‘wild things roam’. Some of the greatest minds of our time have mastered this technique and enhanced their creativity. And with a little help, so can you.

Connect with Your Creative Writer

Photo by Cindy Loughridge

Do you have to complete a piece of writing but are putting it off? A report, a blog article, or a letter? Are you finding that the moment you sit down to write, your mind seems to go blank? Crap! Writers block! What can you do about it?

Although, the term writers block is popular, this feeling of blockage and mind blanking is not specific to writing, but of any creative feats. Other examples include, brainstorming for a new business, dancing, musical performances, music composition, painting or photography. I’ve personally experienced this during my photography work, blanking out as I stand in front of a client waiting for me for direction. I call these Creative Blocks, where your mind just comes up empty and you feel lost. It’s purely mental.

Through practice and observation, I’ve gotten pretty good at getting past these blank moments, and this article shares some insights for unlocking your creativity. Throughout the article, I will be using writing as the example, but keep in mind that it is equally applicable to any creative activity.

Your Guide to Get Spinning in the Idea Tornado

Photo by Stock Photo

Have you ever felt mentally blocked from finding a solution to a problem you are facing? Most of us have had this experience, and it can be quite frustrating. Writers call it writer’s block, and the rest of us call it stumped, stymied, confused, etc. Brainstorming is one effective tool for helping to remove the mental roadblock and come up with ideas and solutions.

Brainstorming is a method of generating ideas that allows the brain to think freely and use both sides of the brain to ideally come up with creative solutions to difficult problems. Brainstorming can be used whether you’re sorting out a problem at work, coming up with your next business idea, or resolving a personal relationship issue. Brainstorming can help you hone in on the problem and come up with creative ways to approach it.

 

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