I have been blessed with a creative mind–I have long been a problem-solver, a wisdom dispenser, a producer of a variety of creative outputs. From time to time, particularly when I am in creating mode, I experience a very strong sense of flow: of being in exactly the right place at the right time doing exactly what I was meant to do. It’s a strange and wonderful position to be in, one that I’ve only just begun to recognize for myself though I’ve talked to other people about for many years.
As a life coach, I called this sensation–this feeling of flow–walking in your power (which is what I call my coaching practice.) I would ask my clients to consider when they feel most alive, most free. I have gotten many answers over the years: when I dance, play chess, run, ride their motorcycle; when I am singing and playing my instrument, when I ice skate, do improv, give a sermon; when I’m drawing, running, hiking in the mountains, walking on the beach. The responses have been as varied as the people I am talking with. The one thing they all have in common is the feeling of being in “the zone,” of power, of almost electric energy coursing through them, of time standing still.
“Close your eyes,” I advise them, ” and bring up a picture of yourself doing that thing that puts you into flow.” I give them a moment and then ask them, “Can you feel it?” Often they can: when I ask them to describe how they’re feeling they talk about the feeling of energy coursing through them–for some people it’s a gentle warmth spreading through them, for others it sparks like 10,000 volts of electricity, like grabbing onto a live wire that they can’t let go of. “That,” I tell them, “is what it feels like to walk in your power. What would it be like to feel like that all the time?” We explore the idea of them walking in this energy, this flow even when they’re not engaged in the activity they described earlier. A person who feels that flow when they’re playing their guitar can’t generally take their instrument with them on the sales call they have to make, or someone who feels it when they’re trekking through the forest eventually has to come out of the woods to go grocery shopping. “What would it be like,” I ask my clients, “If you could take that energy with you as you go through your daily routine.”
Some people are fortunate enough that what they do for a living is what puts then into flow: from a doctor working through a surgical procedure that she feels like she was born to do, to a farmer who can’t imagine doing anything other than tending the land and the plants and animals on it, to people all around the world who are doing what they love and loving what they do. They are in flow and their vocation happens to align with their life purpose. For those of us for whom this isn’t yet or hasn’t been true, we have to come at it through a different door. For example: one of the places I feel the power is when I am playing my guitar and singing, particularly for an audience. I can literally feel the exchange of energy between me as I am singing and the audience (which is generally small as I am not a professional performer.) Vocationally I am not a musician, though at one point early in my life I had an opportunity to go in that direction and didn’t take it. Nevertheless, I can still feel the power of that exchange even when I am not playing before an audience. The opportunity is there for me to bring that energy into the work I actually do.
Interestingly, the more I pay attention, the more I am beginning to notice that increasingly I feel the flow in various elements of my current work. The key is to find the place in your work where you feel even a glimmer of that resonance with your place of flow. Even if you’re doing a “job” that’s completely misaligned with what you wish you were doing or what brings you joy, I believe that if you can begin to bring the resonance in from your power space, it will ultimately transform your job into a place of flow or you will attract a different job that is more in alignment with your true self and your life purpose.
Now I’m sure that to some this perhaps sounds like a lot of “California woo-woo,” and perhaps it is; though my own Midwestern sensibilities and practical, semi-skeptical nature has seen and experienced enough of this to be a believer. My question to skeptics is this: what does it hurt to try? If nothing happens when you begin to identify, experience, and then walk in those places of power, or if you can’t feel that resonant power in the first place, then you haven’t really lost anything. But if you can truly embrace the idea and begin to search for the thing that makes your heart sing, that puts you into flow, there is so much to be gained.
At the risk of sounding even cornier let me say this: I’ve spent the better part of my life searching for that thing, that clue to what my life purpose was, the home base my soul was longing for and only now am I really discovering that it really has been in front of and within me all the while. It is something that has to be experienced to fully believe it, and you have to have some level of belief in order to experience it. In that sense it is somewhat paradoxical. But I deeply believe that we all have the ability to access flow and the capacity for great joy when we find it. I am not claiming to have all the answers or that I am happy all the time; I am still very much in discovery mode with much to learn and I can be cranky with the best of them. But I plan to keep at it. Meanwhile, I encourage you to search for and find that place of power, of flow inside of you and begin to walk in it throughout your every day life. Life won’t ever be the same, I guarantee it.