Are You in The Flow?
Or are you stuck on the riverbank, caught in the debris of life?
How often are you experiencing synchronicities or serendipitous events? Synchronicities are meaningful coincidences, and Serendipitous events are those fortunate discoveries you make while searching for other things. Both happen more often when we’re in the flow of life, living appreciatively and joyfully, resisting nothing.
What can you do to live more in the flow of life where synchronicities and serendipitous events abound? Where you wake up in the morning, excited about possibilities you may not be able to conceive of?
Years ago when I was caught up in my usual busyness, a good friend said to me “Barbara, when you take time for yourself, realizations happen.” That advice has proven to be true over and over.
Spirit dwells in serendipity and synchronicity – I think it’s our angels ways of playing with us, letting us know we’re not alone; they’re paying attention, saying “Hi!”
When I think of times when I’m not living in the flow, it’s like I’m on the edge of the river, instead of in it. I’m clinging to the bank, or hanging out in an alcove focused on something else. I’m separate from the magic of life.
Obstacles that keep us from Living in Flow and the Antedotes
1. Busyness, including over-committing ourselves.The original meaning of busyness meant “care and anxiety” and “lively but meaningless activity”. How similar this is to “business!”
So many people wear busyness like a badge of honor, stating proudly “I’m SO busy!”, as if that’s always something good!
Believing we have more to do than time to do it is a recipe for stress and overwhelm. Yet it’s so easy to live like a horse with blinders on, focused on our “to do” list, feeling contracted and tight.
When we believe we have plenty of time and space for what’s important, we relax. We’re more open, and feel more spacious – the blinders are off. This is when spirit can come through.
Scheduling empty space that’s sacred, where you have no plan is an antedote to this. Space that’s a time to be free to do what feels right in the moment including nothing. I often coach my high achieving clients to do this and do less, not more.
2. Planning everything in advance - is another thing that goes along with busyness and overcommitting.
There are benefits and detriments to being a planner. The key is to balance planning with spontaneity, to keep things fresh.
If you plan everything, there’s no space for something new or unexpected to enter your life and your muscles for being child-like get flabby.
One way to be more spontaneious is to leave space in your day for it, and do at least one spontaneous thing each day.
3. Staying in your routine or rut. If you don’t shake things up with diversity and new experiences, you get bored; stagnant. How do you shake it up?
a. Do something new once a week
b. Travel someplace new each month, even if it’s just to a neighboring town
c. Learn a new skill, like tango, French cooking, or drumming
d. Be willing to change your “plan” for the day. Don’t be so married to your routine that you miss the opportunities life is presenting to you in the moment
e. Other ideas: Play new music. Turn off the TV, re-arrange the furniture; drive a new way to work. Write your bucket list and choose 3 things you want to do this year.
4. Being stuck in your own world – Do you ever get bored listening to yourself tell people the same stories? Or listening to the same stories from others? I do. I’ve found the antidote is to dwell in other people’s lives.
Years ago, I read Deepak Chopra’s Seven Spiritual Laws for Success and his chapter “The Law of Giving”really resonated. He said how powerful it is to give a gift to everyone you encounter – whether it’s a silent prayer, a smile, a sincere compliment, or a flower. I focused on doing that for a time, and the results were magical. It helped me be in my heart energy and I was in the flow.
5. Not spending enough time doing what you love. Being in flow will help bring more flow into your life. How much of your time is spent doing what you really love? What’s the story you tell yourself for not doing what you love?
How much of your life is spent doing what’s obligatory vs. what you really want? Some things can’t be helped if you want to be in integrity with yourself and others –like caring for a sick parent, -but what excuses do you make for not allowing yourself to have fun in other ways, whether it’s taking time to paint, sing, have coffee with a friend, see that new movie, or go on that hike because it’s a beautiful day?
Mark Victor Hansen has a saying in his house “If it’s not fun, we don’t do it.” How much more time could you spend dwelling in fun? Where are you dwelling most of the time?
The next time you hear yourself saying “I should do the laundry today…or I need to go through my emails” and your heart really wants to be having fun, doing something else, question your belief. Ask “What would happen if? What would happen if I didn’t do the laundry today? What would happen if I didn’t check emails?
Then when you get your answer, ask “So, what?” If you didn’t do the laundry for another few days or even another week, what’s the worst that could happen? So what?
9 tips to bringing more flow, synchronicities, serendipitous events and magic into your life
1. Live from your head vs. your heart, and don’t take yourself too seriously. Set an intention to see everything in your day through a lens of humor.
2. Give yourself permission – to have fun, to do nothing, to feel joyful. Don’t should on yourself.
3. Ask how you can be a gift in the life of everyone you encounter today
4. Spend more time doing what you love
5. Make decisions out of what you love vs. fear of what others may think.
6. Set intentions for new experiences each day. Each day I thank my angels in advance for helping me “live aligned in joy” and “having opportunities to joyfully serve”.
One day on the spur of the moment I met friends at downtown street fair. I was feeling in the flow listening to the music and watching kids dance. A few days before I’d asked for a sign as to whether or not it was the best time to go to India in November as planned. As I was leaving the fair I felt an urge to go into the used book store and said “Okay, angel team if there’s a book on India in the new book section, that’s a sign to go.” Not only did I find a book on India within a minute, it was a novel I’d never seen that was recommended to me just 4 days before by a new friend who travels to India. If I hadn’t been open to going to the fair, and wasn’t’ focused in the present moment, I may have missed this intuitive hit. Which brings me to the next tip...
7. Be present in the moment – I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve gotten intuitive hits when I’ve been focused only on my immediate environment
8. Stay open – If you’re too attached to your agenda, or to-do list, there’s no room for something else to happen. Be open to going where you’re called in any moment. Trust that what needs to, will come in – be flexible and willing to give up who you are for who you could become.
9. Go with the flow – vs. with what feels forced.. Notice the difference when your energy feels constricted, forced and tight, vs. open, flowing and spacious. Choose to live from that latter place.
10. Remember when you’ve been in flow before – what was present? What’s been different from when you weren’t in flow? How can you replicate that?
Life is a series of natural and spontaneous change. Don't resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. ~ Lao Tzu.
Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
There Are No Accidents: Synchronicity and the Stories of Our Lives by Robert H. Hopcke