Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Finding Your Flow

What Does it Mean to Find Your Flow? 

The term flow embodies a concept that is crucial in the field of healing and recovery, and also applies to life in general. When things are in sync or in harmony, there is a healthy balanced flow of energy. 

Traditional Chinese Medicine and meridian-based modalities such as Acupuncture and Emotional Freedom Technique, are rooted in the concept that the healthy flow of energy in our body facilitates a state of well-being. 
The definition of flow: a steady continuous stream of something 
positive flow, finding your flow, healing flow
Phrases that come to mind on this topic include “go with the flow” and “flow freely.” It seems to imply ease, simplicity, and effortlessness. 

Think of a leaf floating down river. It doesn’t put forth effort; it gets effortlessly carried along by the flow of the river. It doesn’t have to think about how to get around the rocks; the flow of the stream moves it gracefully around any obstacle. 

Positive Flow 

While pondering the term flow, I realized that not even one negative association emerged; flow seems to naturally have a positive connotation. The word flow itself elicits the concept of abundance. Everyone likes it when money flows, right? Even financial expert Suze Orman references flow. She said:
“When you are grateful—when you can see what you have—you unlock blessings to flow in your life.” 
Flow implies movement. Do things always seem to be in motion? Well, they should be—sounds like life. Our planet itself is always moving. All living things have constant movement. The lack of movement is essentially death. We stop blood flow, we’re doomed. No flow of oxygen? Death will follow. 

Movement is what drives our brain development (a topic for a future article, I won’t digress in explaining this here.) And conversely, lack of movement is what contributes to degeneration. 
“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them—that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”–Lao Tzu, ancient Taoist philosopher
Blockage or resistance may be considered an antonym to flow. As the wise father of Taoism suggested in the aforementioned quote, resistance can bring discontent. Thus it would follow that flow is more likely to produce happiness.

In The Zone 

In Positive Psychology, flow, also known as the zone, is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity.” (Wikipedia) 
Positive psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, claims that flow is the secret to happiness. Check out his Ted Talk on the topic: 

Any athlete or artist knows what it means to be “in the zone,” where it’s almost like you are on autopilot, effortlessly performing your passion as the energy or focus needed just seems to flow. 

We want things to flow. In planning for a positive process, such as in business, people will utilize a flow-chart. Flow also applies to ideas and creativity. A mastermind group may form for discussion to help elicit a flow of ideas. In order to organize my thoughts into this article, I needed to be in a state of flow as opposed to “writer’s block.”

Flow in Your Outer and Inner Environment 

In the practice of Feng Shui, your physical environment is designed to foster flow in alignment with your goals. Feng Shui experts help you de-clutter and strategically arrange your home or workplace using natural elements to balance the energy of the space. The intended outcome is to create harmony in your surroundings, which in turn supports positive shifts in the other areas of your life. 

finding your flow, flow of life, stream of energy
There are various examples of flow, such as a continuous stream of: information, ideas, money, oxygen, creativity… the list goes on. But most commonly, our minds may go to examples of liquids when we think of things that flow. Blood flow. A stream of tears. Bodies of water—such as a flowing river or the ocean’s tidal flow. All of these instances display how flow is an inherent inevitability found throughout nature. 

We also think of flow as pertaining to something that operates in a cycle or rhythm. Nature functions in cycles. From the planets in our solar system, to our ocean tides, and every living organism on earth, they all function in cycles and are comprised of energy. As human beings, we too are included on that list!

There are steady continuous streams of energy flowing through us. When these streams of energy are in proper balance and flowing freely, the result is wellness.

Spiritual Flow in Recovery

The primary text of Alcoholics Anonymous uses the term flow a few times. In each instance, flow seems to be utilized in a spiritual context.
"In the face of collapse and despair, in the face of the total failure of their human resources, they found that a new power, peace, happiness, and sense of direction flowed to them."—p.50
spirituality in recovery, spiritual flow, meditation in recoveryIn admitting powerless over alcohol or other drugs, and starting the 12-step process of addiction recovery, some early promises of a better life are offered as in the previous quote. It suggests that in letting go of trying to control things via self-will, we free of ourselves up to access a new form of power which will just flow in if we allow it.  

"As we felt new power flow in, as we enjoyed peace of mind, as we discovered we could face life successfully, as we became conscious of [a higher power], we began to lose our fear of today, tomorrow, or the hereafter."—Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 63 
The A.A. authors directly associate this energy that flows with a spiritual form of power. 
"Much has already been said about receiving strength, inspiration, and direction from [a higher power]... If we carefully followed directions, we have begun to sense the flow of [the higher power]'s spirit into us. To some extent we have become God-conscious. We have begun to develop this vital sixth sense."—Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 85  
Here they seem to suggest that a new power – a sixth sense – comes to us by simply becoming aware of the spiritual energy that flows in. Again, consider the phenomenon in sports when athletes are "in the zone." In that state of flow, they have keen physical and mental awareness. Likewise perhaps, when in the spiritual flow we may have keen spiritual awareness.

Finding Your Flow 

Within our diverse array of holistic information and resources to be explored here, HealthinRecovery will introduce you to information and methods to help you remove anything that may be blocking or hindering your natural flow, to promote your body’s ability to heal itself, and empower you to connect more consciously with your own powerful energy— your higher self and/or higher power— to find your flow and enhance all aspects of your health in recovery. 

Please post a comment below to share your own thoughts or experiences on being in the flow.   

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