Saturday 22 October 2016

Weekly Wisdom #18

“Going with the flow” is an expression that’s so embedded into our everyday vernacular that it’s easy to lose sight of – or never even attribute – the meaning at the crux of it; what it really is to create flow in our lives.

There’s a tendency for us to idealise, and then internally factualise, the way our lives ought to be: we create self-imposed blockers to life’s natural rhythm through (often unconsciously) rigid notions of what our life – and the lives of others – are “supposed” to look like. In the process, though, we’re often denying ourselves the potential to live each moment for what it is and constraining our naturally free flowing minds into unyielding, overly self-conscious constructs. 

– Julia Cameron, The Artist's Way

Take from it what you will of course, but speaking for myself: Actively inviting flow into my everyday has truly made for a more open, chilled and contented existence. Here's a petite selection of the ways you can flow up ya life:

  • Embrace moods and feelings (good or bad) as transitory – and consequently allow them to ebb and flow organically. Notably for me, this has meant not beating myself up about any “shitty” days and instead adopting them as a fleeting, natural and above all important part of being a living, breathing, experiencing, feeling human. Stop judging and just let yourself be a human, being.

  • Be open to moments of serendipity. When you look back on your life so far, how many entirely fortuitous, seemingly insignificant happenings have accumulated to get you where you are right now? When you start to retrace the instances, experiences and encounters you can apply the conditional "If I hadn't..." to, you realise how innumerable they are – and will continue to be. As Leonard Mlodinow put it in a recent On Being podcast, "The course of your life depends on how you react to those opportunities and challenges that randomness presents to you." The universe has your back.

  • Follow your intuition – there's a reason "gut feelings" are so visceral. While their accuracy can't necessarily be proven with a scientific, mathematically-minded test, trusting and listening to your intuition is such an important life skill to adopt. Relinquish (or at the very least, diminish) externally-fuelled and ego-led motivations in favour of your own internal radar.

  • Let your mind wander (and wonder). Above all when it comes to creativity, letting your funny, playful little musings just "be" and let them do their thing – without self-censorship or overanalysis – is key to coming up with innovative ideas and revelations. Don't forget to play, either [click].

  • Don't plan everything – this is coming from the most serial of list makers and day planners. While structure, routine and preparation are of course a beneficial means of getting shit done and feeling on top of things, one of my personal revelations – which has helped me chill out so much in recent years – is the thrill of spontaneity. I realise for certain personality types this might seem like a total no-brainer, and almost too easy to implement, but for me this is a massive one. In so many ways, life and its events are entirely out of our control, and letting go of a "set in stone" sorta mentality is incredibly liberating. An impromptu brunch with friends beats cleaning your flat any day.

  • Practice action over activity. While the two terms are often used interchangeably, there's a decisive distinction to be made – action being the preferable of the two. As Osho puts it in Creativity, "Action is moment to moment, spontaneous; activity is loaded with the past." That is, in action you're relaxed and responsive, whereas activity is a restless, often mindless undertaking that detracts from the here and now. It's no surprise that in a society that glorifies busyness, activity is often the default setting. This can have self-destructive kinda consequences. Action > activity. 

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