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March 15, 2014

Flow...

Flow

I've been thinking a lot about flow lately. Do you have a familiarity with the concept? Think of those moments in life when you were intensely working on things you are passionate about felt deeply in harmony with the people and events in your life. In flow nothing was a struggle. The concept was popularized by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi years ago and can be described as "ineffable state between boredom and excessive difficulty in which time disappears and you are pleasurably lost the execution of a task"

Obviously, this is a desirable state. It described the exquisite feeling of accomplishing grand things while being thoroughly satisfied. Imagine achieving your dreams and producing your best work all with a wide-eyed smile on your face. Desirable. 

How do we achieve flow? For me there are two versions or types of flow: task-based and lifestyle-based. What Mihaly described is task-based, meaning you are able to "get lost in the moment" while doing things. As mom of two young girls it is very difficult to carve out enough alone time to truly "get lost" in work or personal pursuits. My presence is always being requested and my ears are always listening for those requests. The yoga studio is the one and only place where I can go and get away from it all (hence my love of classes!) Yet losing yourself in an activity and being able to fully focus is essential to producing great creative work - be that art, writing or math.

While I crave the feeling of momentary flow and feel it is a necessity for proper brain functions, what I'm most longing for in my life right now isn't just moments of flow, but the feeling of being in harmony with God's plan for me. This month something just feels "off" to me. I've been dealing with wildly fluctuating blood sugar levels, finding it more difficult to clear my head during yoga sessions and feeling increasingly distant from the "instinct" that normally guides me. It's perplexing, to say the least. I have lived my life in a state of "flow" for years now... so this momentary hiccup is perplexing. 

Some say that you can enter a state of flow by agreeing to every request that comes your way for a few days. I'm not sure I subscribe to that philosophy. Isn't that more akin to following someone else's flow? Perhaps. And all bets are off if their request conflicts with your beliefs. So how do I get back on track? Is the blood sugar issue related? Perhaps. 

What I do know is that it's taking me much longer to do what is normally extremely easy. I can feel "effort" where normally there is ease. I'm also wavering on decisions which is very abnormal for my nature. Something is just "off" and I'm ready to get it aligned as quickly as possible. Flow, you see, is a way of life for me. Not being in flow isn't just disruptive... it's unsettling and very counter-productive. 

So... how do I fix my flow? Thankfully, normally sunny Dallas is expected to be rainy and ugly today. Do you know what that means? It means an indulgent day indoors. No sunshine beckoning me to come out and play, no need to take the girls to parks, no desire to run errands.

I plan to do some juicing, focus on drinking lots of clean filtered lemon water, take a bubble bath, read and enjoy a vinyasa flow yoga session twice. Think of this as an in-home spa day. Time to light some candles and give my body and mind a much-needed break from "working" to enter a state of flow. By it's very nature it can't be forced... it simply "is" or it isn't. 

What about you... are you a believer in flow state? Can you relate? Do you ever feel off track? How do you get back to it? Do share... 

{image via Pinterest}

What the beautiful people are saying...

This is a beautiful post, Frankie, and I applaud your willingness to share your story. Some folks view it as weak, but I find it incredibly brave.

I've been right where you are many, many times. The final time, after falling into a dark hole and realizing I could no longer reach my flow nor climb out and rediscover my flow on my own, I sought help.

You are not alone.

I'm rooting for you, honey, and hope you find your flow again. Soon.

XOXO

This is a great post. I'm not sure I've recognized me being out-of-flow in the past. Possibly when I'm super cranky that's a sign I need to recognize. Now, that you've brought it to my attention I'm hoping to see and correct or hibernate if that's possible. I hope you find your flow. Enjoy your weekend!

Thank you, Cathleen! even just writing it helped me realize the cure thats right for me. Periodically I feel like I need to do a deep clean of my (already crazy clean) house. I like to get rid of excess things, clean out drawers and otherwise tighten things up in my life. That always (always) brings clarity and rights my ship. That, and a day of very clean eating, lots of fluids & yoga is almost guaranteed to cure all that ails me.

THANK YOU for supporting my very candid post!

Franki, timely post for me as I'm reaching for my "flow" as well. Like you said, sometimes turning off external distractions & doing something you can lose yourself in, something that nurtures you, can bring some clarity. As a mom of two young boys, time for myself to turn off external distractions isn't easy to find! It usually happens after the boys have gone to bed. Hope you were able to enjoy your weekend and connect to your inner voice! Have a wonderful week.

So many times when I've read your blog I've thought - YES! and this post on flow was yet another! I feel flow when I write - and yet I rarely do it. Crazy! I realized recently that I must pursue the thing that puts me in that space to truly become the person God made me to be.

It sounds like you are taking all the right steps to "re-enter" the flow. I suspect that the discomfort that you are feeling is actually a gift that will force you to make the time/space for something new and wonderful to emerge. I can't wait to read about it. :) Wishing you all the best, Julianne

Something to say, gorgeous?

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