Flow is something runners talk a lot about. For those new to running they tend to think Flow is akin to the “runner’s high”. I can tell you I’ve never actually had a “runner’s high” but I have had a couple experiences with flow and they are ADDICTING!
Flow is all about finding yourself in the moment and recognizing that what you are doing then and there is really all that matters. It’s euphoric if you choose to embrace it and forget about your current worries, tribulations, goals for the future and schedule for the rest of the day/week/month ahead. It reconnects you with your spirit and makes you realize that we manufacture ALL of the stress we feel in life!
Flow brings us back to the most basic element of what it is to be human. To be able to hear, feel, touch, taste and smell the world around us. It’s the essence of experience and can make what otherwise seems a mundane activity seem like a life-defining event. When you open yourself to this concept Flow is better than any drug you could ever take! It becomes what you crave most in life and probably is the reason that guys like me who love ultra running exist! Cause let’s be honest there’s nothing “normal” about ultra running!
Flow can happen ANYWHERE in your life! Flow cannot be forced BUT there are steps you can take to encourage Flow to develop naturally in your everyday life!
Step 1: Practice appreciation. This doesn’t mean you have to be a Buddha or without fault but take time to notice little things in your day that you can smile upon. Stop focusing on what goes wrong and focus instead on what goes right…even if it’s a seemingly tiny insignificant thing!
Step 2: Be open to ideas. Even ones you initially disagree with. Let go of your ego…it is the ONE thing holding you back from learning from others and expanding your knowledge. You don’t know everything and that’s GREAT…it’s not something to fix!
Step 3: Roll with the punches. Did something good happen to you? AWESOME, celebrate! Did something bad happen to you? SO WHAT! Float like a leaf on the river of life. There’s a learning experience in that “bad” situation!
Step 4: Know that life moves in waves. In order to have a swell you must have a trough. That means that things won’t always turn out how you expected. But it also means there will be surprises along the way that turn out MUCH better than expected. Accept this…it’s not always gonna go well…and if it did we’d have no appreciation for what it means to have things happen for the better than for the worse.
Step 5: Let go! Holding on to anything from your past (a possession, an accomplishment, a friend/family member, a status in life, even an emotion) doesn’t allow you to GROW. Everything in life is temporary…EVERYTHING. They all serve a purpose in your life but they aren’t permanent fixtures either. If they were you never would have the opportunity to learn new things, to become a better person or to be enlightened. You’d accumulate them until you eventually reach your limit and then be stagnant. What an awful existence? Everything comes and goes…old things leave to make room for new things and they aren’t always direct replacements! If something is gone and comes back, there was a purpose for that to happen…but, it won’t happen thru force.
These things are much easier to write down and suggest than they are to practice. Trust me I get it…I’m human too. But that doesn’t’ mean we can’t TRY! Try these things every day and I promise one day you’ll experience Flow in your life. It may come in the form of exercise, in the form of your nutrition, or your career…or family life but, it will happen. I promise you.