Living in Flow: You Need These Two Things

Picture of a woman in a blue dress

Would you like to feel that life is working for you, rather than against you? Does being in “flow state” sound like a mythical state of being, or do you go there regularly?

Life right now is complicated and full of opportunities to dive deep into fear and worry. How can we live in a state of flow, trusting that life is offering to us exactly what we need?

Here is the key: you are here to learn. You are here to explore the fullness of who you are and what is available to you. You want to go further into your wisest, most authentic self. This will require experiences for you to learn both what you are and what you are not.

We learn, grow and expand because of these two things: Contrasting Experiences and Challenging Experiences. When you can embrace these two truths, and even learn to participate in choosing the learning experiences, life can align around you and within you more and more to create that sense of living in flow.

#1 Contrasting Experiences

 “Problems cannot be solved by the same mind set that created them.” ~Albert Einstein

When life proceeds uninterrupted, predictable and familiar, learning does not happen. When something totally new or different presents itself, you are taken to a new “edge,” and invited into a contrasting state of being in order to learn more about who you are and what is available to you.

Have you ever been in one of those long stretches of sameness when something, out of the blue, comes into your life and demands change? Often, we wait, and wait, and procrastinate, and avoid contrasting experiences because there is a part of us (our ego, rational mind) that is physiologically programmed to resist all change. When we dig our heels in and try to keep everything going “smoothly,” life will often dish up a big contrasting experience to “get you out of the rut.” Or… you could choose to open up to a contrasting experience and follow the breadcrumbs life will certainly drop in your path to lead you into your next learning experience.

The classic is when we are “stuck” in a job or career that we know we don’t like, but the fear of losing financial security keeps us in this known and dissatisfying experience. Then, we get laid off or transferred or something else happens in our life, like a global pandemic, that requires us to make the change. Since we wouldn’t flow with our desire for change, life takes us to our next “edge” for us.

In other words, when you learn to look for, to choose, or to expect contrasting experiences to come into your life, you can live in flow, rather than resisting change. What new experience has been knocking on the door of your awareness? Is there something new you would like to learn? Is there a person you are feeling called to connect with? Is there a book you are being inspired to write or a piece of art to create? Follow what is new and is calling to you, with the intention of new self-discovery, and that flow state will find you right in that newness. 

#2 Challenging Experiences 

If you have ever been white water rafting and received instruction on what to do if you fall overboard, you know that trying to swim directly to shore is way more difficult and dangerous than angling yourself downstream and towards the shore. You can allow the river current to help you, rather than fighting it to get to dry land.

This principle applies to any life situation that sends you “overboard” and into rough waters. What are all the ways you can allow the elements of this challenging experience to support you?

Everything is, in one way shape or form, here to love you, to teach you and to steer you on your highest learning path. When we resist the challenges, believing they “shouldn’t” happen or that they are somehow wrong or you are a victim, you inevitably prolong the learning experience.

Likewise, no matter the challenge, when you open up to how this experience is illuminating a new facet of who you are, your strength, compassion, or wisdom, and allow the experience, rather than fighting it, it will pass quicker, sooner, faster than if you resist.

“Why does this always happen to me?” It, whatever “it” is, happens because you have yet to choose to learn the lesson. The way out is through. Turn and face the challenge and whatever it takes to make friends with it, to dissipate the negative, fearful energies, will be the lesson you learn.

Byron Katie’s work, along with Buddha, teaches that it is more the resistance to suffering, than the actual suffering itself, that causes our dis-ease. I guide clients into a personal painting practice because they are usually afraid of the blank canvas and do not believe they can paint. The challenge and the contrast of the painting practice creates opportunity to learn and grow in a low-impact way. And the flow state is just a brush stroke away.

Life is school. You chose to come here to learn. We learn best through contrasting and challenging experiences. Learn to flow with these elements, open and willing to look at how these experiences are here to support you, and you will be living in flow.

Here’s to our collective ability to learn, love and flow. Please share below your musings around what living in flow means to you.

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