Tag Archives: Flow State

Getting to Flow by Living in the Moment

Originally posted August 18, 2015

Rise to this moment

My first experiences of Flow state were at the Brickman Resort when as a young child my parents, Ned and Sandy, put me onstage. The height of stage fright got my attention. I was pulled out of my mind by the sheer challenge of dealing with it. I had no time to dawdle or stay in my head. This seemed as close to a life-threatening experience as I could imagine, although I did not have the time or ability (as a child) to put it into those words. I couldn’t even distract myself by paying attention to my fear! I was totally absorbed in handling the immense challenge of the moment.

This and other experiences when I was young made me keenly aware of the existence of Flow, although I had no name for it then and didn’t think about it consciously. I also noticed there were other incidents in which I was more like Hamlet, overthinking a problem while the time to move had long since passed. Continue reading

Originally posted 2015-08-18 10:56:46. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

What’s the value of positive thinking?

Originally posted August 11, 2015

Do you know people who seem to be so mentally strong that they almost always seem happy and positive, never saying a bad word about another person? More and more of us are practicing random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty, loving our neighbors as we love ourselves. Our actions are more aligned with the Sioux proverb, “with all beings and all things we shall be as relatives”.

There is real value in getting ourselves into a good mood. We make better decisions. We think more clearly. And there is no downside. It feels good — we feel good — and we make others feel good. Getting into a more positive frame of mind is not just to pump ourselves up. It manifests more Observer and Flow states in our lives, so we enjoy life more.  We are more creative and effective in our work and happier in our life in general, which of course ripples out to all whose lives we touch.

Live more fully in every second.

So how do we get ourselves to feel good more often?

A daily vacation is a great start. Taking a break and doing whatever we want to do.  Creating a space away from other people (this isn’t always necessary but it usually is in the beginning) and then just doing whatever feels right from second to second. Playing, like a child again. Being who we really are.

When we’re on vacation, we want to be in bliss. So don’t hurry when you’re on your daily vacation. You won’t accomplish the vacation objective fully if you’re thinking about how soon you have to get back to work and thus trying to cram in the fun — still speeding, still in the clutches of Acceleritis™. When I take time out, I go back to work not because the “vacation” ended but because it’s what I really want to do. A flood of ideas rushes in so fast I have to write in pseudo-shorthand. Continue reading

Originally posted 2015-08-11 11:01:54. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

The Power of Gratitude

Originally posted July 21, 2015

One rainy day I was driving a little too fast plus the cruise control was on. I got onto I-84 East and as I reached the highway itself I must have hit an oily patch for the next thing I knew I was going backwards, staring straight at Eastbound traffic bearing down on me at high speed — a truck passing a car, both coming right at me with many cars and trucks behind them.

Reflexively I righted the car and pulled off on the grassy median just as the honking truck and cars rushed past, missing me. A car pulled off and drove up alongside to see if I was alright. He said he was a Navy fighter pilot and complimented me on my reflexes, then drove off while I sat for a minute breathing deeply.

Every second is precious. Be Grateful

I bet you know what I was feeling because we have all felt it at one time or another — grateful for being alive. Life was suddenly so sweet. Every second was precious. The average workday that lay ahead was now an exciting prospect filled with interesting possibilities. The rain hitting the windshield was beautiful and I could see rainbows in each drop. The air tasted delicious.

Authentic gratitude is a very healthy emotion that I am sure increases immune response and is conducive to Flow state. As I grow older and hopefully wiser I find myself more often being grateful simply for this life, for life itself and especially for the interesting and fun life I have had so far. But any life is better than the alternative of never having existed. Even a life of pain is more interesting than eternal unconsciousness, never having a sense of self, never having even one experience.

As long as one is alive, there is the chance to fix or accept anything that is disturbing. That’s what creativity is for. Troubles can be overcome in a flash of inspiration. Life is filled with endless possibilities.

Over time I’ve noted that when I am feeling the most gratitude, my luck runs high. Could it be that being truly grateful results in receiving even more to be grateful for? Continue reading

Originally posted 2015-07-21 10:26:51. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Are you balancing activity and stillness?

Originally posted June 16, 2015

If we are always pushing toward our goals, we are inadvertently setting ourselves back from reaching them.

There is a stage in the creative process in which it is wise to turn away from the challenge and do other things, for it is during this turned-away phase that the Aha! moment comes.

not creating may be essential to creativity

Certain batteries get recharged when we take ourselves temporarily off the wheel that is always driving us. This can happen when we are entertained — on our screen devices, reading, watching stage or other performances, spectator sports, vacations, making love, being with family and/or friends.

The subtlest batteries, however, only get recharged when we are alone with ourselves. This can take the form of sitting meditation but it doesn’t have to. We can be alone in nature, alone at home, alone on an airplane, anywhere. As long as we are not working down the TO DO list, there is a greater chance that we will slip into the Observer state (the precursor to Flow state) effortlessly.

To help bring on Observer state — a mindset in which you are able to simultaneously observe and analyze your emotional reactions to situations somewhat impassively — this works for me:

  • Look more closely at the place from which thoughts/feelings arise.
  • Don’t add to what you observe inwardly/outwardly, i.e. stop interpreting everything.

If we spend too much time doing, our conscious mind will block the functioning of our subconscious mind, and we’ll interfere with the stream of consciousness. If we spend too much time not doing, we will under-actualize our own goals. The movement associated with creative energy is a good thing, but stillness in body and mind is also valuable.

Balancing movement and stillness is optimal for maximizing effectiveness toward all our goals in life for love, creativity, and ultimately spiritual fullness, intuitively knowing and feeling connected with all beings and all things.

Strive to achieve the right balance between times spent doing versus time spent not doing.

L’chaim! (Hebrew toast “to life”)

Best to all,

Bill

Follow my regular media blog contribution, In Terms of ROI at MediaVillage.com. Here is the link to my latest post.

Originally posted 2015-06-16 14:04:43. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Transforming Our Emotions

Originally posted June 2, 2015

In the complex accelerated culture in which we live (we call it Acceleritis™), self-mastery of our inner space, or even awareness of what is going on in there, is extremely complicated. Neuroses can arise like biocomputer viruses, and spread through society by intercommunication between people, through our thoughts and ideas and through moods upon which neuroses depend.

Be the masters of our emotions

Two recurring neurotic themes most of us can relate to involve money and frustration. Our culture is set up to cause most of us to worry excessively about money. Money is often the leading indicator of our feelings of self-worth, belonging, achievement, status, freedom, wellness, potency and security. I’m probably leaving some things out.

Frustration can mount, for example, in the workplace when co-workers and bosses don’t go along with the inspiring ideas we have about how to do our job better. Or when society does not encourage (or recognize) an inborn skill or talent and instead of channeling us into a career we love, we find ourselves doing work we can tolerate but that may do little to bring out those inborn talents.

Over time the mix of frustration and money fear can turn to a growing anger, often bottled up inside where when left to simmer and build it can become one of the causes of illnesses of the mind and body. We fall into a counterproductive cycle. We become blocked from getting into the Zone, where ideas, action solutions and clever ways to break through would lead us to create a path to more money, security and happiness.

With the emotions as a wrapper around our whole mental experience, thoughts flit along the surface of the mind. Emotions program thoughts and vice versa. Everything affects everything else in there.

We can ignite the start of a new cycle by seizing the control point where the avalanche starts — our emotional mood. Becoming aware of our emotional state and then working mindfully to take back control of the emotive space around our psyche is key. Detachment from outcome is the core of heroism. A sense of humor gives perspective. Willingness to face the worst with confidence in oneself (and for many, confidence in God/the Universe/a Higher Power) confers a courageous fatalism that has been rediscovered by all of the heroes in history.

In order to (re-)program our emotional wrapper, detachment is not enough. We are emotional beings, hardwired to have some emotional drama going on in the background at all times. Getting into the Zone aka Flow state requires awareness and management of that background emotional mood. If we are not proactively programming it in alignment with our intentions, it will continue to program itself.

Each of us needs then to work to transform negative emotion, the nemesis of the Zone, into positive emotion — which means remembering all we have to be grateful for, and all there is to look forward to and be excited about.

We may experience challenging (even heartbreaking) trials but we need to be able to shift our focus to see them as opportunities that reveal what we are really made of.

Best to all,

Bill

Follow my regular media blog contribution, In Terms of ROI at MediaVillage.com. Here is the link to my latest post.

Originally posted 2015-06-02 11:12:13. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

A Practice for Starting Your Day

Originally posted May 26, 2015

Set Your Intentions

Have you noticed it’s often difficult to overcome a bad start to the day, and that as the day begins so shall it most likely go? This makes the first moments of waking up in the morning a perfect time to remember and practice slipping into the Observer state.

Observer state is a mindset in which we are less caught up in the process of our emotions, and are able to simultaneously observe and analyze them somewhat impassively. Wearing the Observer lens makes us more effective and creative at changing the conditions that cause negative emotions. It also makes us more able to flick into the Zone, where our performance and creativity are sparked and further upshifted.

So how do we get into the Observer state? Here’s what works for me. I begin by remaining in that transition state from sleep to wakefulness, avoiding the use of language orally or mentally, and filtering out any distractions. I stay focused on the feeling of whatever dreams I’ve had, and recapture whatever images I can from those dreams. Try this yourself upon waking. Then stay with the feelings and images a moment or so longer until you can get a hunch as to the possible meaning of those dreams — what is the message from your subconscious?

It helps if you can then move your thoughts on to the day ahead while still in bed, still sleeping as far as anyone can tell, in that transitional state. Get a fix on the possible significance of your day, what you can potentially accomplish. Visualize an upside outcome that will make you happy when you go to sleep next. This is your strong intention, your Will. Picture it. Feel it.

Then imagine what could go wrong and come up with ideas as to how to deal with those challenges. This can be just brief flashes of an idea to be worked out in detail later. Making notes while they are fresh in your mind is often a huge advantage so I encourage jotting down (or keying in) a few thoughts as soon as you feel you have to actually open your eyes and get out of bed.

What keeps us out of the two higher states of consciousness, Observer and Flow, is usually the ego. This ego process is often driven by fear of failure in one form or another, and comes from excessive attachment, and perceiving past events as failures instead of embracing them as wonderful learning experiences. Practicing wearing the Observer lens helps us improve our ability to float upward out of this debris, gain perspective on it, and flow into the Zone.

Best to all.

Bill

Follow my regular media blog  “In Terms of ROI“ at MediaVillage.com under MediaBizBloggers.

Originally posted 2015-05-26 12:02:13. Republished by Blog Post Promoter