I recently had a conversation with a friend about ‘flow’. Flow is the mental-emotional state in which a person in an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity. Flow is that state of fluid movement where your life feels like a continuous unfolding dance that you are engaged with and enjoy. Countless books are written on the subject, which go into depth about the dynamics and components that create flow. However, for this musing I’m focusing on the inquiry which was the essence of my recent conversation: ‘how do we attain and sustain a state of flow more regularly in our lives.’
Some days are better than others. We all know this and can probably come up with a few personally distinct examples. But what makes it so? Is there just a natural rhythm to energy where sometimes all is flowing and sometimes it’s all jammed up? What made your bad days so bad, and more importantly the good days so good? There are important energetic and astrological influences that inform how we experience the world, however, in the realm of our material control, two things strike me as fundamentally important: ritual and choice.
So first up, ritual. Ritual is a personal practice, a discipline that brings the spirit of your intentions into form. Rituals connects us more deeply to ourselves and to spirit.The rituals that infuse my day are practices of personal commitment where I show up mindfully to cultivate more of the kind of energy I want to experience in my life. What are those practices you might be wondering… Well here are three I practice everyday:
1. I wake up in the morning and read something inspiring or beautiful
2. I pick fresh hibiscus flowers for my altar
3. I step on my yoga mat, say a prayer, and sink into my movement and meditation practice
These practices keep me grounded and centered in myself which, from my perspective, is one of the most important components of finding flow in your everyday experience. The more connected into ourselves we are the more we can move fluidly into our day authentically aligned with what is right for us moment by moment.
Which leads me to the second point, choice. There are always going to be circumstances beyond our control, events that shake up our world throwing jagged edges into our flow. It is essential that we have a personal practice with ritual where we create a mindful anchor and connection within ourselves to the present moment. This helps us bring mindfulness into how we choose to respond to what life serves up. We are constantly choosing, we may be conscious of our choices and at times we may not be. However, the more we cultivate presence of mind through rituals that feed our souls the more we bring that presence and deeper sense of awareness into our daily experiences.
To nourish yourself this week be mindful of the rituals you partake in and maybe create a new ritual that honors the intent to find more flow in your life. Use your ritual to help you connect to the present moment, let it be an opportunity to breathe deeper and open your heart to your own deep wisdom and truth. It may be a tea ritual, a morning walk, a commitment to writing a poem everyday, whatever it is let the practice move you and anchor your deep truth and wisdom in the body. This will surely support and inform the flow of your day. And know that whatever comes up you can choose how to flow forward… either reacting to circumstances with judgement & attachment, or responding to life with open curiosity. Either way, you have the chance to discover more about who you are and how you do the unique dance that you do. Have fun finding and feeling into your flow!