Have you ever experienced moments when everything seemed to just flow? Moments when you didn’t have to struggle or fight or force things to happen? It’s as if there were a giant hand holding a magic wand a few paces ahead of you at every step, magically shifting circumstances so that everything goes your way.
As an athlete and relationship coach, I’m keenly aware of “the flow” and how to harness the power of mental toughness. It usually means the difference between my run feeling effortless, as if I don’t feel as if I have legs, to my heal strikes pounding onto the road like an elephant.
For most, the flow seems to happen spontaneously most of the time. We might be working, running errands, doing chores around the house, or even just kicking back and watching television. Whatever we’re doing, we realize that we feel good. Calm, relaxed, alert, happy – we are in a state of non-resistance.
We’re not struggling with errant emotions or frustrated desires. We simply feel in tune with the rhythm of life.
Not only do we feel better, but our experiences seem to be easier, smoother, more enjoyable. Our relationships become more harmonious. We end up talking about things without so much anxiety, including discussions about difficult topics. We can control our emotions and we are happy to be home.
Though we’ve probably all experienced this buoyant state of being at one time or another, most of us don’t experience it enough. On a regular basis, we deal with setbacks, irritations, frustrations, disruptions, interruptions, and moments of pure exasperation. Worse, once we are “out of flow,” it seems incredibly difficult (if not impossible) to get back into the flow.
Well, I’m here to tell you that not only is it possible, it’s quite simple once you understand the steps that will bring you back to a harmonious state. Lately I’ve been exploring these steps in more detail, and I’d like to share some tips to help you get (and stay) in the flow in your own life and in your relationship with one another.
Understand the source – before we move on to the tips, it’s important to understand that this “flow” comes from WITHIN YOU. It’s not some distant essence that you have to locate and draw from. There are no magic words to recite, and you don’t have to rely on your partner or anyone else to make your life more harmonious.
On the flip side, just like you are responsible for the times when you’re in flow, you also need to take responsibility for the times when you’re out of flow. Most of us tend to blame our outer circumstances for our lack of balance and peace. While they can certainly encourage us to feel a certain way (frustrated, angry, impatient, etc.), they cannot control our emotions unless we choose to let them. And the source of “flow” — IS our emotions! That’s a crucial point to understand.
Feeling in flow, or feeling out of flow, is an indication of whether our emotions are in alignment, or not.
Let go – once you understand that you are the creator of the flow in your life, the first step (and probably the most difficult) is to simply LET GO. Let go of your resistance to certain circumstances, your attachment to specific outcomes in your daily experiences, and your desire to control everything that happens in your life and relationship. This is challenging to say the least, especially if you’re in the midst of unpleasant circumstances. Still, just for the moment, stop fighting, stop struggling, stop resisting, and just focus on accepting.
Open up – whenever you can, imagine expanding your mind and opening your awareness to your surroundings and your relationship. Tune in to what you feel and allow yourself to become immersed in the sensations. Don’t judge them or try to change them, just experience them. Allow them. Be present in whatever situation you find yourself in. Rather than focusing on the way you want things to be, stay with the way things are right now. Be okay with whatever you’re experiencing in life, instead of trying to swim against the current.
Be joyful – find something positive about your relationship and focus on it. Tune in to the better aspects of where you are in life, and be grateful for them. You can use a gratitude journal to record these things in written form, or just concentrate on them mentally and take a few minutes to appreciate them.
Choose to flow – okay, here’s where it gets fun! Rather than focusing on the ways you’re NOT in the flow at any moment in life – choose to move forward and GET into the flow. Say aloud, “I am totally in the FLOW right now.” Or when you begin to experience challenges, say to yourself, “Okay, I’m going with the flow, I’m not going to resist, I will simply go with the flow.” And then do just that. Don’t let yourself get frustrated or stressed, simply repeat the letting go step above, and consciously CHOOSE to go with the flow.
Imagine that you are a leaf or a twig being carried along on a swiftly moving stream. Relax your muscles, breathe deeply, and simply allow yourself to be carried along. Even better, choose to enjoy the ride.
Like any new technique, this can take time and practice before you experience the full benefits. In the next few blogs, I will be sharing more information on how I coach people to hack into the flow. These peak experiences are something that can be tapped into to help you. They are not by chance.
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