Finding the exact right mix of challenge and skill that leads us to a fulfilling flow state, is a gift we love to receive. I’ve mentioned how I achieve the flow state while writing, running, conversing and making love. Time and effort feel fluid in flow. Ideas and meaning float to the surface while in this trance-like state. Such a lovely feeling becomes addictive. Chasing the comfort of it becomes a full time endeavor if we are not careful.
Growth is uncomfortable
A fellow meditator on the meditation app, Insight Timer, has the tagline: “Evolution is not being in flow.” I’ve been pondering that for a while. It is true that growth requires discomfort. Staying outside of the flow state, usually means I am not in my comfort zone. I am slogging through work, relationships and experiences that challenge me and highlight where I have undeveloped skills.
All I want to do is get into flow, to relax, to float, to feel at ease.
If evolution occurs outside of flow, this whole last year has been quite evolutionary. There were a few flow moments during our wedding week, while traveling in New Mexico and while reading during the corona quarantine, but otherwise I’ve been pushing through extreme uncertainty and heightened awareness. A new marriage, blending families, a new job and the coronavirus pandemic have all kept me on my toes and out of flow.
I’m hoping this evolution outside of flow is like the seed pushing its way through the soil to burst out and spread its leaves in the sun, because if all this pushing just leads to more pushing, I’m going to go dormant.
I’m also hoping the evolution is obvious. If nothing else, I see that I am able to take on and live through more conflict, forced learning and humbling than I ever thought. As someone more introverted than extroverted, I have endured a more than doubling of the population in my home. I’ve learned more about substance abuse, mental health and viruses firsthand than I ever thought I would and I have a keen interest in addiction recovery and mental health.
As I reread some of my old posts about seeking alone time to go into flow by reading, writing and meditating, I realize, back then I could not have managed the full plate I have now. I will give credit to my husband, Mark, for knowing when to jump in with a hug and helping me take time to relax. He is both a pusher out of my comfort zone and a comfort. Dr. John Demartini says we need partners who both challenge and support. I’m winning.
I found myself arguing with all three of my children yesterday about getting together with their friends. We have been sheltering in place due to Covid 19 for over a month. We are all getting a little edgy. My ex-husband and I have basically been on the same page regarding this. We have not let any friends come over and the kids have not been going to other people’s houses.
My kids threw every argument in the book at me in favor of letting them have their rowing buddies over to practice outside on their rowing machines. In the past, I would have become very emotional, yelled and said things I regretted later. This time, I stood my ground and did not lose it emotionally. It is true, I wanted my husband to stand with me, but he was in another room oblivious to the onslaught. The kids were not happy with my decision and I am sure there will be more debate but that is ok. I will review the situation again. It will be another chance to evolve.
Where are you evolving? Are you seeking flow more than challenging yourself? What benefits do flow and not flow offer you?
Definitely out of my comfort zone, I am sitting on a political panel this coming Tuesday, April 21st at 7PM EST. Please join me and other civic minded people, including Arthur Lieber, author of Political Introverts. It is a FREE zoom event. We will talk about how to get more people to vote and what it will take to get the introverted minds among us to participate in politics. No shouting or bashing, just discussions on how to improve our political system.