Chorus on stage and audience listening

The Power of Flow

The half-rolled-up papers fell down the pull-down attic stairs. They were the plans for the newer wing of the music school, and the print was faded, too small and dull for my eyes to read.

3 rolled up papers

We were there on a Saturday morning, called in by the distress text: No water at the school. We stepped into a stream of small-to-large size violin students, decked out in their recital best. Parents and loved ones swarmed around the hall, anxiously keeping an eye out for their newly minted protegees. Little to bigger bladders would definitely need to pee soon.

Chorus on stage and audience listening

The Center for Musical Arts Lifesong Chorus

Tristan, the handsome plumber, came to help, but we couldn’t find the main water shut-off. The building used to be a church (“another church converted to the arts,” Kath was proud to proclaim) with the original, 1947 building prone to plumbing issues, the 1974 add-on not much more reliable. We crossed our fingers that finding plans would give us some clue to where the shut-off might be. I’d pulled over the long hassock that was sitting in the office and climbed around until I could reach the synthetic rope, gripping it until the stairs–and the building plans–dropped down.

I know you’ve had those moments, when you randomly discovered the phone number that had been eluding you, or a book opened to just the passage you needed for inspiration, or a check came in the mail for the exact amount you needed. I call those experiences “tap-taps,” little indicators from the universe that it has, indeed, been listening, and might even be for you.

A genie's lamp with smoke coming out the spout


Those moments seem so magical, don’t they? Like fairy blessings dropped down from the sky, randomly strewn around until one lands your way.

If we’re really paying attention, we see that the essence of life is this flow. Nature blends the perfect combination of wind, rain, electromagnetic energy, sunshine and timing to generate the exact recipe for an infinite array of plants, trees, birds, rocks, animals, all of life. And yet we humans constantly question whether life knows what it’s doing. We seem fascinated by what’s wrong, how it all should be different, how life as it shows up is lacking.

Grassy view from the hills into the valley with blue sky and clouds

One of my favorite questions is: how is this perfect? This moment, right now, however it comes to our attention–how does that serve us?

Flow is always available. It’s happening all around and through us. We’re in it right now, even if we can’t perceive it. When we get reactive, however, we can’t access that perception. We have instant and very well-honed abilities to see threat all around us. But once we’ve jumped the track of our nervous systems, out of all that is right, to WHAT’S WRONG?!, it’s impossible to access what was just there. In fact, Reactive Brain is actually a signal that we’re resisting what is, which is our main way to jump out of flow. Anger, fear, sadness, while completely valid, are actually all signals of how we’re making reality wrong. I feel mad: I don’t want THIS, I want THAT. I feel scared: Oh, no! This should not be happening!! I feel sad: I didn’t want to lose this person or that ability, or this dream.

How do we come back into Flow? The first step is to know it is we, ourselves, that took ourselves out of it. Stepping out of our resistance to reality means feeling the anger, fear, sadness–all of it!–until it’s dissipated. In other words, we shift out of our own reactivity, let all that dense energy move through our bodies. We can then expand, lift like hot air balloons, to the Flow that was there all along, just inaccessible to our awareness. Once we’re back in Creative Brain, we’re back in the stream of life. How do we know we made it back? We notice. We feel better in our bodies, we hear the birds and see the light in the leaves. We actually see the tap-taps as they’re happening, and value them for what they are: indicators that we’ve returned to the rush of life as it’s unfolding.

Big ocean wave crashing

Tristan came back into the office. He’d called his boss, who encouraged him to look again for the missing shut-off valve. And he found it, the handle way behind the toilet, just feet away from where we’d all been standing. He easily turned it (ah, a mischief-maker had shut it off) and water was restored. I gave him a hug and some lunch money, and savored the experience I never would have enjoyed, had that unknown little elf not played with the plumbing. And stepped into the recital hall, letting the music fill my body.

Tips for accessing Flow:

  1. Know that it’s always there, like an underground aquifer, just waiting for you to tap into it.
  2. The necessary condition for accessing Flow is being in Creative Brain. You know the Shift moves (it’s a long list–breathe, move, play, sing, be silly)–shift out of the physiology of your own reactivity, and you’re back in the flow of life.
  3. Believe that life is for you. Watch for the tap-taps to remember how it wants to support you.
  4. Ask: how is this moment perfect? Even when your mind tells you how it is unacceptable, wrong, awful–look for the perfection.
  5. Change your stories from those filled with fear, anger, sadness, despair, guilt, shame, and pride, to those that will connect you with life: neutrality, acceptance, appreciation, love, joy and peace. Flow is waiting there for you

As I type this, another thunderstorm has just passed through. May you fully sink into and be nourished by all that life has to shower you with!



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