How to Flow with life
To Flow with life ~ Flow with feeling
F L O W = no resistance to life. Most adults have forgotten this, but children know it's safe to feel. In general, kids do not suppress or medicate away their pain. They feel an emotion and allow it to flow through (even at inconvenient times & places). They live in flow - no resistance to what is, no resistance to feeling.
Emotion = Energy in Motion. Emotion is literally energy in motion. When we stop this natural flow of energy by resisting feelings, the energy doesn't disappear, it manifests as symptoms- psychologically, energetically and/or physically... As we will discuss later in this article, the unwillingness to feel emotions like sadness is a leading factor in the recurrence of depression.
4 Mystically Guided tips for Achieving Flow- remaining open to feeling:
- Ask and you shall receive. Ask clearly & specifically what you desire.Hold the clear intention. Say it out-loud, "I want to experience Flow today. Flow means I want to remain open no matter what. No matter what is happening or what I am feeling I will do my best to stay open and feel"
- Assume it. "act as if" it already is, embody the stance, attitudes, behaviors, consciousnesses you desire. Step into it. Try it on, feel and experience what flow feels like....taste, touch, smell, hear, feel and intuit Flow.
- Experiment. Play. Include the imaginal realm in your new beingness... Allow in helping hands, Meditate, request masters of your intended behaviors to reveal themselves to you and assist you in achieving this desired state of Flow. If images or names come to you, trust the information and look them up, read the stories of those who embody this desired state of consciousness/behaviors. Hang up their photographs, representatives or images of those who support you on this quest, perhaps ancestors, Gurus, masters, Goddesses, Gods, children....etc. Be open to what you find, trust it.. Honor your figures, love and adore them, emulate their behaviors, study, write, commune and spend time with them. Go into their realms via meditation, welcome them into yours. In depth psychology, this is known as living or working within the imaginal realm.The imaginal realm was coined by scholar & mystic, Henry Corbin- it is believed to exist above 3 dimensional consciousness, information or interactions of this realm are respected and valued, this content is differentiated as mundis imaginalis - having realness, ontological realness, different from "imagination" content/completely fabricated thought. The imaginal realm is well suited for jumping levels of consciousness or stated in psychological terms, facilitating seemingly impossible shifts in long standing behavioral patterns- largely changing one's way of being in and relating to self, other and world.
- Say thank you. Always say thank you for every bit of experience or guidance you are granted. The act of gratitude breeds more of that which you are giving thanks for.
On the Flip side of Flow: Depression
Depression is a common human experience, One
in 4 women and one in 6 men will experience at least one Major Depressive Episode in their lifetime. At minimum, a major depressive episode includes pervasive feelings of sadness, loss of interest and/or pleasure in things previously enjoyed, lasts a minimum of 2 weeks and impairs daily life functioning. Of these men and women who have experienced a Major Depressive Episode
many will experience a "depression relapse".
Psychological researchers (see Teasedale et al., 2000) note 4 risk factors for these depressive recurrences.
4 Risk Factors Recurring/Relapse Depressive Episodes
1. a recent trauma or loss
2. a family history of depression
3. number of depressive episodes you've had in the past; each depressive episode increases the likelihood of further depressive episodes
4. And, finally "cognitive reactivity" to sad moods, especially resistance to feeling authentic sadness, grieving loss, heartbreak etc.
When we resist feeling sadness, it sticks around. When we resist, suppress or deny the feeling, it goes underground, gets stuck, and stays in the body - which creates depressive episodes, psychic disorganization and/or physical illness.
The recent 2015 children's summer movie "Inside Out" does an excellent job validating the need for sadness. At the outset of the movie, the character "Sadness" is initially devalued, feared, denied and avoided. But in the end, the character "Joy" finally sees that fearing and repressing sadness wasn't working. In fact it was creating a lot of problems. In a flash of insight Joy realizes that Sadness isn't to be feared....she's actually a vital piece of human experience - Joy exclaims, "Sadness, you're amazing!!" She allows her to be felt and expressed and Sadness saves the day, simply by being observed, acknowledged and fully felt.
3 Behavioral tips for Achieving F L O W today- fully feeling!
1. Commit to your Flow experiment
Nothing can be done without this internal decision and commitment. "I am committed to my Flow experiment today, no matter what life presents me with, I will remain open to feeling what arises in real time. I will not close down, repress, try to escape or medicate emotion away. I am committed to flow- keeping energy in motion". This is known as sitting in the one seat- remaining rooted and committed to your intention regardless of distractions which inevitably arise.
2. Structured Flow
Mindfulness points for presence: set your phone alarm for 3 separate alerts today- have the alarm read, "Pause, Tune In, Breathe, Feel, Flow". Bring awareness to your body at these times. Notice any sensation, lack of sensation or tension you might be carrying in your shoulders, neck, anywhere in your body. Just gently and lovingly notice and observe what is present for a few breaths, before words and labeling- just observe this felt sense. Breathe. Then you might ask what am I feeling in this moment? Simply note what you answer- can you name a feeling? If not, describe sensations, turn to your body and look for clues (posture, energy level, tightness, numbness, spaciness) then listen to your mind, notice what thoughts are predominating your consciousness. Just notice, feel, invite feeling to flow through, assume release, then return your attention back to task at hand. (Both Observe and Describe are mindfulness skills used in many mindfulness based psychotherapies).
3. Mantra for Flow- repeat this Mantra in total or in part several times today
I Flow with life. I feel life. Feelings flow in and out with ease. I Flow with life. I feel life. I flow without resistance, feeling the waves of life.. OR create your own Mantra for Flow. (Mantra is is a sanskrit word which translates to Man= thought, tra= tool or instrument. Mantra is literally an instrument of thought or Mind. Mantra is like Kale for the mind; it's practically a super-food in its power to heal, focus and soothe the mind).
As mentioned in tips for Flow, Mindfulness skills such as Observe and Describe are tools for approaching and making friends with the mind, thoughts and feelings. They are tools of Flow. Mindfulness based psychological research has shown that regular mindfulness meditation practice and mindfulness based psychotherapy significantly decreases depression "relapse" or recurrence (Teasedale et al, 2000).
Mindfulness forges a friendship with the mind- and we begin to learn (as Joy did) that there is really nothing to fear....not even sadness. That is flowing with life.