Flow Hacking Transformation
I was flying down the rocky, winding, wooded trail on foot. Hyper-focused, and sharply aware of only a few critical things: my breath, the rapidly changing feel of the earth and rocks beneath my feet, how my body was responding to the terrain, and the serious potential to crash and burn.
I felt aware of everything, and not much at all. My mind was crystal clear. For a few sweet moments, time stretched out and it felt like I’d be able to maintain this experience forever.
I was in a state of Flow.
In linear time, it was a pretty short experience, but the impact of breaking into that state continued for hours through the rest of my day, offering me clarity, creativity, and access to bold action.
Trail running is a huge Flow trigger for me. But there are an endless variety of access points into this state. For some, it’s in the intense focus of a new creative pursuit. For others, it’s physical activity, like my experience. It can be achieved alone in an office or in a giant crowd, like at a music festival or football game. Some people find it in immersive experiences or using psychedelics.
I recently began studying Flow and using this knowledge to understand its relationship to the transformative work I do for myself and with my clients. I’ve found incredible resources (my current go-to experts are Steven Kotler of the Flow Research Collective and Jamie Wheal of the Flow Genome Project, co-authors of “Stealing Fire”, an excellent book on the subject – cheers guys, thanks for opening my mind to this topic!) and lessons that I’ve applied to my work as a Rolfer and Hakomi Practitioner that have deepened results for my clients.
When you’re able to purposefully access Flow – an incredible hack for next-level performance – you can achieve more, feel better, and leave a bigger impact in the world. Isn’t that what we’re all after in this life?
The issue with Flow is that most of us know the feeling and have found it before, but then find it difficult to tap into on-demand. Many experience Flow almost by accident. But as I study it more, I find that Flow is all about accessing deep, present-state awareness – a practice that I help clients achieve in our work together.
When we’re in a deep, present state – the state of Flow – it not only feels incredible, it’s where transformative potential happens. Our minds often serve as a major roadblock to change (inner critic anyone?) and Flow is a great way to turn off that part of our day-to-day experience by literally altering our consciousness so we can create massive change in our lives.
That’s why Hakomi works.
That’s also why Rolfing, meditation, yoga and other state-changing activities can work too.
When done well, these types of activities can help you overcome places where you perpetually get stuck, or where you can’t quite break out to your next level – with your health, on a project, or as a way to innovate beyond your known limits.
So it makes sense why regularly tapping into a state of Flow – the leading-edge topic that corporate leaders, entrepreneurs, extreme athletes, and high-performance teams like the Navy SEALs are all trying to crack the code for to enhance performance and results – aids in transformation, too.
One of the ways I use Flow in my practice is by helping my clients access the “deep now” of their bodies during Somatic Re-Engineering sessions (my unique take on Rolfing and Mindful Movement).
I regularly have clients come in with chronic neck and shoulder pain that they’ve tried for years to unlock – often through a variety of methods including physical therapy, steroid shots, chiropractic, massage, or acupuncture.
Often what’s happening for these folks is that some stressor (work, family, relationship, money, etc.) is triggering constant tension and elevation of the shoulders. You’ve all seen or personally experienced that pattern before; it looks and feels like your shoulders are up in your ears.
Over time, that pattern begins to bind the neck, shoulders, and ribcage together, and the body loses its ability to differentiate those parts of the body in its internal mapping scheme. If you’ve heard the term “what fires together wires together,” that’s what we’re talking about here. Your nervous system, which you can think of as your operating software, begins to view those individual parts of you as “neckshoulderribs” – one unit. You literally lose the ability to relax them into ease and individuated movement.
This locked-in regional tension pattern will then trigger constant messaging – pain – that something’s off in your system.
Guiding these clients into deep-state awareness of these parts of the body as individual units – using touch, verbal guidance into a mindful state of awareness, and precise movement to individuate that region back into related “parts” – drops them into the “deep now” (Flow!). This is the place where the nervous system can recreate healthier maps and long-term transformation for this chronically painful area of the body.
Flow science is giving us a tremendous set of tools for accessing these deep and often euphoric states of being. Thanks to the researchers studying and reporting on the neuroscience of high-performance states, it’s becoming easier for everyone to find their unique access point(s) to the juice that we often only associate with the lives of extreme athletes.
And it can be incredibly seductive to constantly seek these states; to just aim at the bliss as the goal. I see that all over the place these days.
It’s key to remember that Flow, while it feels incredible, is the way to achieve remarkable transformation – in your body, in your life, in the world. So when playing with Flow, remember to ask yourself this question:
“And now what?”
Channel the clarity, focus, and elevated energy of your Flow state into effective action for your life.
Do something with it.
If you want to find out how my work can help you access Flow and create transformational change in your life, schedule your free Exploratory Call today.