I keep hearing the term “flow state” tossed around lately, both in the artistic community as well as the yogi/healer/mystic communities. It can refer to creative flow, or being in flow with the universe (which is maybe the same thing? I don’t know.) I’m beginning to understand it as the opposite of “writers/artists/etc. block” – ideas are constantly pouring in, you’re making work that is working for you, you’re achieving goals, you’re just in a state where everything is flowing easily through you and out of you. But how do we get to this flow place, and is it possible to stay there?
The past couple of weeks have been a little bit hectic for me with planning workshops, finishing up commissions and just trying to make myself healthy food and keep up with basic hygiene routines. As a result I’ve been out of my daily rhythm and haven’t had as much time to sit and connect with myself and see where I’m at. Whenever I complain about this I always laugh at myself because I KNOW that if I took the 20 minutes to do my little rituals instead of rushing around as soon as I wake up, all the things that I need to get done will go much more smoothly. Of course, in the moment I often forget this fact. But these little moments of self-connection are key to getting into that flow state.
I call what I do meditation, but I don’t know if that’s quite the right term for it. I think traditionally speaking, meditation is meant to be a time where you clear your mind from all thought. For me, I use it as a time not to clear all thoughts, but to tune into what is the most important thought. This morning my thoughts were tuned to a big goal that I have. Today is November 1st, and I plan to achieve something (which I’m not quite ready to share yet) by November 1st, 2018. So my thoughts this morning were focused on that goal, and what I can do to make that goal a reality. And as I was thinking about this, I had this sense of calmness wash over me, along with a feeling of joy and excitement. Like the possibilities are absolutely endless. This is the feeling I get when I know that the decisions I have made and the path that I am on are taking me where I need to go. This is the way I experience being in the “flow state.” It’s a deep connection with myself, and to what’s going on around me, and knowing that the work I’m doing is what needs to be done in this moment.
I don’t know if it’s possible to feel that way at all times. In fact, I hope it isn’t because feeling the same thing all the time would get incredibly boring. But in the times when you’re not feeling like you’re in the flow, here’s all you need to do – just keep working. Keep creating, keep doing what you love to do, even if it feels like the ideas aren’t coming. I once asked an artist friend of mine what inspired his work, and I think at the time what I actually meant was “What is your work about?” but I’m so glad I asked it the way that I did because his answer has always stuck with me. He said “Well, if I waited around for inspiration to strike, I would never get anything done. I just work and see what happens.” This is exactly it. Doing the actual work gets us closer and closer to that flow state, and helps us tune into that deep connection with ourselves. Whether it’s writing, painting, dancing, hiking, anything – the things that help you tune into yourself will bring you into that flow state.