Have you ever been working on a project when you lost total track of time? Like you forgot to check your e-mail, phone, and to-do list?
Isn't that the best?!
That, my friend, is the beauty of flow state.
It is such a treat to have these beautiful spaces nearby to get rest and inspiration (be sure to visit for a soak, and definitely eat at their farm-sourced restaurants if you are in town!).
The day was full of reflection soaking in the naturally spring fed pools at the spas.
As I soaked, the water reminded me of the beauty of flow state. This state can teach us how to move forward regardless of blocks like fear, control, and second-guessing.
Like a river, the flow state is about moving freely without inhibitions to find your way around rocks and blocks with grace and ease.
“Being in the flow means being aware that the river of life is flowing to us at every moment. Being in the flow means accepting whatever comes and putting it to good use, before passing it on. Going with the flow means allowing whatever comes to move on freely, without holding on in any way.” -Anon
The flow state can bring forth new connections, ideas, and solutions previously unseen. It can move us out of over-analyzing minds into a space of allowing and releasing. The flow state can help us tap into something bigger than ourselves: a force that gives us energy in return for the intention we pour onto paper, canvas, or page.
The flow state is a gift back to us for the full presence and attention we give to the task at hand.
Take note of the moments when you lose track of time and feel full of inspiration and energy.
What are you doing? Where are you? Who are you with?
Those are likely the spaces for your natural flow state to occur.
For me, this natural flow happens when I'm drawing, weeding a row of greens on the farm, or exploring a plant's patterns up close.
Even though these activities often automatically drop me into fluidity, sometimes the easy current of creative juices just isn't there, and I feel like I'm forcing the work.
When I get into this rigid space where the ideas aren't moving and I feel like I'm forcing creative action, I press pause to find a way to jump back into the rhythm of the river.
How do you get out of rigidity and into your flow state so ideas can rush forth?
Here are 3 steps that help me jump back in.
3 Steps to Get into a Flow State
1) Set a designated block of time
In order to dip into the flow, designate a block of time where you can focus without interruption. This step can feel like a challenge if you have a busy schedule, a family, a job or two, but the block of time doesn't have to be 6 hours. At least an hour is ideal, but even twenty minutes is a powerful place to start.
Block off this chunk of time in your calendar at least one day before diving in. This is a powerful step to hold you accountable. Treat this time as you would a meeting with another person: no canceling or shuffling your schedule. This is a commitment! Share with others that you are busy during this time period, as well. This declaration states that your time is valuable, important, and needs to be honored.
When you designate this block of time, also decide on the space you will use to focus on your project. Ideally, this space is quiet, perhaps a room where you can shut the door, or the kitchen table while your family is out for a few errands. Choose a space that makes you feel grounded, at peace, and inspired.
2) Turn off distractions (though music is welcome)
15 minutes before your designated start time, get ready to jump into flow.
Turn off all distractions: mute or shut down your phone and put the computer away (unless you are using it for music. If this is the case, turn off all notifications or, even better, use a downloaded playlist or CD. Old school, I know).
Lay out all of the necessary materials for your task or project so you don't have to hop up and down to grab more tools.
Further, if you are working on your project at home, file away all of the tasks that need tending until later like laundry, cooking, and cleaning. Those tasks have their own time and space. Right now, this time and space is for your flow. You can't flow if you have to keep getting up to check a notification or switch the laundry loads.
Let it be. It'll still be there for you when you are done.
3) Leave judgement at the door
Y'all. This is perhaps the most important (and most difficult!) step.
Your flow zone is a no judgement zone.
Just as getting up to switch laundry loads interrupts the flow state, zipping in and out of thoughts that designate the work you are creating as "good," "bad," "not good enough," "pointless," or "perfect" will pop you in and out of the current of the river.
These judgements are as if you are standing on the banks of the river undecided of whether you want to be in or out of the water.
So decide to leave the judgement at the door and jump in!
When you do, you can discover new connections, solutions, and happy "accidents" in your work.
This is a practice, of course, and one I still work on daily!
It is difficult to quiet the doubts in my mind, but I've found that the more I show up to my projects with presence, the more I am able to keep moving forward when the doubts are loud, when they are whispers, or in the wondrous moments when they are completely quiet.
Acknowledge each thought as it appears, but don't dwell there.
After all, you've made the decision to show up for your project and for yourself. You've made the decision to jump into the river.
Now, allow yourself to be carried by the current.
Enjoy the flow.
Let me know in the comments which project you are workin' on and flowin' with this week!
If you're craving more creative inspiration, join the Prints & Plants family right here.
This week's drawings (2.1.20-2.7.20):