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Love What You’re Doing Right Now.

February 18, 2015

“The flow experience is good in that it has the potential to make life more rich, intense, and meaningful. It’s good because it increases the strength and complexity of the self.” — Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

 

I’ve been blogging a lot recently about goals, probably because I, too, have been trying to find the right mix between “being” and “doing“. Perhaps you’ve thought about this as well. In fact, in addition to a few very focused whole-life goals that I set for myself this year, I also created one over-arching theme for my year, which describes how I want to feel. It goes like this:

FLOW IN ALL THINGS

(You dig it, don’t you?!!) I have to say that because I’m focused on being whatever I need to be in each moment, I’m definitely feeling the flow, while accomplishing a lot more! It’s an interesting phenomena, and quite the opposite of what many of us are used to, which is DO, DO, DO and keep going!

So how does this work? Well, for me, it can go something like this…

1. Look at my to-do list once at work and begin to plow away.

2. Today I am not feeling so well, and I realize that I may not be able to accomplish some things on that list.

3. PAUSE. Become fully aware of how I feel and what I need in this very moment (more self-compassion; less action). P.S. – This is hard for Type A’s!!

4. ACCEPT how I feel and decide what the best use of my time is in this moment. What can I focus on and move forward with the energy I have available to me right now?

5. I choose to BE in that feeling of “not-so-good”, honor it, and identify what I can do in this moment that affirms how I feel and also allows me to act. In this real example, I made the decision to push-off some tasks to later in the day, or worst case, the next day. I decided that I would respond to some communication that I felt well enough to tackle.

6. By consciously choosing this action (and not feeling badly about it!) I was able to focus on just that, let the rest go, and flow– BE and ACT at the same time.

In the book FLOW  by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, this is referred to as The Merging of Action and Awareness.

Now, we can take my reason in #2 above and replace it with any other reason that could have interrupted my plans for the day. Many of us lead hectic careers, where emergencies pop up all the time. I used to work in a hospital, and that feeling of being on your toes all the time was ever-present. You were always looking over your shoulder waiting for that “thing” to happen. Sometimes we can’t change the nature of work environments like this (some people are hard-wired to thrive in these environments!), but we can learn to flow with them and find enjoyment in them. This is the ultimate benefit of flowing, and it can be one of the best ways to be engaged in your life and in your work.

Awareness and choice are really KEY in helping to make this happen. As stated in FLOW, “(It is) An individual’s ability to restructure consciousness so as to make flow happen.” You have to choose it, folks!

Although I know that we can and do achieve flow most often by simply leveraging our strengths, which can create optimal and enjoyable states, we also can consciously create the conditions of flow. Some of these conditions are:

  • Concentrating on the task at hand
  • Having a sense of exercising control
  • Doing something that is not done with the expectation of some future benefit (not of the self!)

So when that “thing” happens, or the other shoe drops, what will you choose? Consider going with the FLOW, and knowing that you can, indeed, find happiness in those moments and love what you’re doing right now.

“Give your fullest attention to whatever the moment presents.” —Eckhart Tolle

 

It’s your life. Lead it well.
Monique

 

 

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