As I am sitting here starting to play Joy Challenge 2019, I have been thinking a lot about Flow, 0% effort, 100% return. It is the most magical feeling ever and I have been so lucky to experience it more often than not. But, there are times, where no matter how hard or not hard I try, I cannot seem to make it into that state of flow that I love so dearly. I started to think about what I do when I am not in flow. Because, of course, trying to get into flow is the #1 way to elude it.
I realized that when I am not in flow, I simply float. I remember floating a lot as a kid. When my mom got home from work in the summers, she would take me to the very large public pool. I LOVED to swim as a child and rarely got to go. Well, that is probably not true. I just did not get to go as much as I would have wanted to go - every day, all day long. No one in my neighborhood had a pool and I had to wait for my parents to come home from work to take me, which often times meant I was at the pool at 6 pm when there were almost no other kids there. I spent a lot of time making up dances in the pool to the 80s music that was blaring off the lifeguard's boom box and dreamt of being a lifeguard, so I could spend all day, every day at the pool. When I got tired of all that, I would simply lay on my back and float. I would notice how funny the music sounded as my ears were half under water, or how pretty the sky looked as the sun was lowering on the horizon. I would dream of my future, one far better than my current day reality, and well, float.
In the recent months, I have found myself returning to that feeling of float. I have definitely had moments of flow. They are always miraculous and amazing, but some combination of an extremely cold winter for this born-to-be-a-California-girl plus transitions in work plus life changes left me in a bit of a funk. I called it the Winter Blues, until I realized that was making me feel worse. That's when I realized, I am actually just floating. I have had a lot of these time periods in my life. Like, when I graduated college and decided to take the summer off to hang out in Europe while my Dad was stationed in Brussels before starting my cool big consulting company job. Sounds great, right? I worked at NATO in between fabulous trips to Italy, Greece, France, and around Belgium. What I did not realize was how lonely and sad I would be working at NATO. I had a college degree and a really prestigious job lined up when the summer ended. I was working as an Admin to a General and his regular Admin (a career Admin) hated me with a passion. To her, I was just a college kid whose Dad got her a job so she could travel around Europe.... which.... was true. She wanted nothing to do with me and worse, gave me the most menial tasks she could think of. Not only did she not see me as a bright, shining star, she acted like she did not see me at all. With only two of us working in a single office, it made for a particularly lonely day. But, I learned how to float.
Floating is an interesting skill, especially if you are doing it without water. When you are floating, you are there, but not really, you are in your own little world. You can hear sounds, like I did of the 80s music, but they are muffled, not clear and not fully getting in. You are focused on the sky and as such are not fully present to the current reality. I found myself sitting at my desk but I was not really there, not fully. Don't get me wrong, this is not a way to be for any extended period of time. But, it is a great way to be for a not-so-fun period of time. Because you can be there, and also be totally in your own wonderful bubble. And, you own wonderful bubble is a much better place to be then worried, trying to take anxious action, or blaming, complaining or getting back at someone else. These are all places that we all know is NOT helpful to be at. And, while what we really want is to get back into the flow, sometimes floating is a good first step to get there. Once I started floating, it was easy to sprinkle in some joy. I took a later lunch break and would watch General Hospital during lunch, which was my favorite back in those days. I volunteered to run all the errands, which got me out of the office and meeting other folks in NATO. And, of course, I spent any down time I did have, planning amazing European vacations which I took almost every other weekend. I found a lot of joy while floating.
As I prepare for Joy Challenge 2019, I found myself coming out of the float stage and just naturally doing things that bring me joy. We all know what happens next, right? Those little acts of joy is exactly how we get back into Flow! Next time you find yourself out of Flow, give yourself a break, turn over on your back, use no energy whatsoever and give Floating a try!
Hi! Welcome to my blog, Lunch with Cinderella. I love writing about my life experiences and the fact that they may help spur some cool experiences of your own. If you are here, leave a comment... I read them all and love hearing from you!
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