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How do you know when you are in “flow state”? What is “relaxed awareness” and what’s its connection to the creative process? Learn about all of this, as well as how to conjure up your flow and how it is connected to serving others.
MM561- Find Your Flow State
Hello, everybody, and welcome to this week’s episode of Motivate Me!
It’s Me! Time here on Motivate Me! and we are working on coming back from flat.
Before we start, let’s get into the right headspace. Let’s engage in the idea that this is time where YOU are the priority. Let’s take two slow, deep breaths to get us centered. Just follow me.
Today’s focus is: Find Your Flow State
Wow. Flow State. Have you ever been so engrossed in what you’re doing that you’ve lost track of time? Have you ever been so involved in something that you’ve forgotten to eat? Has sleep ever become unimportant to you, and all you wanted was uninterrupted time with whatever it is you were working on? Maybe you were making a painting or a quilt or a webinar or remodeling a room?
You may think that achieving flow state is a freak thing that only happens to the chosen, but I believe there are actionable steps you can take to encourage flow state.
If you don’t know my story or what inspired this season of Motivate Me!, I suggest going back and listening to the first episode: Episode 532. Part of my story is that I’d been divorced from flow state for a few years, but then in an event that I discuss in Episode 532, I was inspired to aggressively seek myself again. To get my head and heart back in the game. Finding my flow is what brought me back to you. I became excited again. I started creating again. I wanted to help others again. And this is what I want for you.
Before we move forward, let’s get a clear definition of what “flow state” is. Stick with me here, because gaining this new understanding was an enlightening experience for me, and I’m hoping it will be the same for you.
Many of the guided meditations I do are preceded with spiritual teachings, something I really enjoy. One of my favorite meditations is by Mindvalley and its titled, “A Relaxing Guided Meditation to Boost Creativity.” (You can find it on YouTube.) It’s here that I heard a definition of “flow state” that resonated with me. The meditation guide said that to be in “flow” simply means to be in a state of relaxed awareness.
OK. But, what does “relaxed awareness” mean? If “relaxed” means to “know without doubt,” and “awareness” means “knowing that you are not and never will be alone.” That “you are aware of the help and guidance of a higher power.” Then “relaxed awareness” means that you know without doubt that you are not alone, and you are aware that you’re being guided by a higher power.
This is a pretty deep definition. But, as a writer, I have to tell you that I’ve experienced this. Writers are always looking to find solutions when writing stories. How best to show their audience without directly telling them? How best to move the plot forward? How best to describe characters indirectly without just listing details? It’s much more interesting to find out that a character has an addiction when the writer describes the bottle of pills that fell out of her purse, rather than simply stating it.
I have sat back in my chair while writing or jumped in the shower or taken a walk to get distance from my work, so the answer would “come to me.” It may not be not right away, but the answer always comes… sometimes even in my sleep. I have always believed that these answers come from a higher power, and I know I’m not alone in this.
So the idea of relaxed awareness and its definition in the meditation track struck me because it’s an understanding I have, and have had, for some time. Relaxed awareness is faith in the creative process, simply put.
Have you ever felt an energy shift when you’re working on something? An excitement and a knowing that everything will work out the way it’s meant to? A knowing that you will find the answers and resolutions you’re seeking for your project? A knowing that you are not creating alone, that you are being guided?
Have you ever felt the energy that comes from that kind of belief? That kind of faith?
How about when we used to watch Michael Jordan play basketball when he was “in the zone.” Where he couldn’t miss a shot. Did you see that game where he closed his eyes on the foul shot line and made the basket anyway, as if to say to the other team that he was “in the zone,” and “on fire,” and that he was untouchable. That was a great moment. Man, I miss Michael Jordan!
But in other news, other athletes and scientists, artists and entrepreneurs – all people – experience being in flow state. The question is: Can we capture this and can we control it? I am here to tell you that the answer is yes.
This whole season of Motivate Me! has been about the individual steps I took to reclaim my passion. I suggest trying every technique I’ve shared with you this season, but here is a list that is a big picture perspective geared solely towards conjuring up flow state.
1. Still the chatter in the mind to let ideas surface (through meditation or exercise or prayer or sleep or reading)
2. Explore ideas that surface through journaling (journal seeking answers)
3. Refrain from passing judgement on new ideas (be open minded)
4. Express gratitude (be thankful for everything: the new day, your home, love, everything)
5. Give of yourself to others as much as possible (a call, a text, a tip, a donation, a compliment)
6. Be relentless in steps 1-5
I did all of these things, and when I felt or thought something, I sat down and journaled. When I couldn’t figure out what I was feeling, I sat down and journaled… and immediately ideas came and solutions came.
I continued to do the other steps I talk about over this season, like give myself freedom of thought and physical space to create… and it happened.
It took some time, but in a matter of weeks, I began to feel the flutter of passion. People, for the first time in about four years I felt passion! And not only that, I began to see what I needed to do next on my path – and I couldn’t do it fast enough. I came to see that I was in flow.
I have had many conversations with people who don’t know what their passion is, and I have always wanted to find a concrete way to help them find it. Understanding how I could help others was the big revelation I made when doing what I’m suggesting here. Understanding how I could help others is what put me into flow.
So find what you can do to help others. Aggressively seek this answer. That is where flow state lives.
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I am going to leave you with some truth talk from me to you: We have interviewed almost 450 people about passion. Every single one connects back to how we can serve others. Every. Single. One. Finding your connection to this using the steps we talk about here and the steps we’ve provided this season will help you discover this. And when you do, you will be so on fire that you’ll be looking to purchase a “Don’t Talk to Me I’m in Flow” T-shirt.
No… I don’t know if anyone is really making flow T-shirts, but if you find one, let me know!
Being passionate about doing something that will serve others is the answer.
Remember, you Motivate Me!