by Cricket Desmarais
Now consider the life force of that thing, the patterning of its energy & how it ebbs & flows over time. Rarely is it consistently full force, nor is it forever slumped in a state of stasis.
Unless you’re the sun or a rock, chances are your energy follows suit. But as humans, we tend to want to dominate these forces, to tame them into behaving in a manner that suits us & the visions we have for ourselves.
Harnessing our energy for our maximum potential is a beautiful thing. It’s where we shine & give our specific gifts to the world. It’s what we’re meant to do, I think.
The problem isn’t that we harness our energy, but HOW we go about doing so.
Force vs. Flow.
Most of us know that some amount of force is required to generate flow. There’s a reason they call it “life force,” after all.
We can also agree that too much force typically equates to trouble. It takes some serious inquiry to figure out where your personal edges are.
This is where the inner bullshitter lurks oh so well.
Take, for example, my desire to lose the pounds I’ve put on since November. (I was pretending to be a rock all winter). My life with two littles does not currently afford me the option of doing my yoga practice when my energy’s momentum is at its best (late morning to mid afternoon). My choices include waking at 5:30 a.m. to do a home practice, or to go to an evening class after dinner.
My inner bullshitter protests both loudly. More sleep! It says in retort to the early morning movement. Too exhausted! It hollers in regards to the evening class, also not wanting to expend the energy to pack up my kidlets & bring them along to the care center while there.
Interestingly enough, because I teach an evening class one day a week, I MUST go, usually resulting in the best experience of the week, with my energy elevated, my girls cheerful for an outing & a lovely walk home through one of the most beautiful parks I’ve ever been in.
But, my winter wool stays with me, & will until I can pipe down the inner voice that sabotages my plan of going more often on those other days when I am not teaching.
As you may well know, the voice of self sabotage can wiggle its way in & appear to be on your team, too.
Have you ever felt compelled to spend countless hours on a project, riding what you thought was a fluid high, only to realize you hadn’t attended to the other personal needs that help you feel whole? Eating, sleeping, moving your body through time & space, changing the environs somehow- these things are beyond biological needs & ought to be accounted for, no matter how involved you are in your project. Keep this behavior up long enough & your “flow” will come to a crashing halt.
I’ve been there, lately, with mad fits & bursts of focused (frenzied) energy around a business idea that integrates multimedia forms & allows me to integrate my life as both a creative & a mother. It is now in the technical building stages, requiring much time on the computer, & intense focus to go with it. It is slowly taking shape, & for this I’m both grateful & hopeful.
I am also exhausted, stiff, bored from the technical execution & hungry for more creativity & something other than my repetitive lame “meals” of carrots, hummus & cucumbers. I want to revolt, take the day to play with my girls, turn off the computer & just let the momentum of who I am flow freely without much form or focus (which I plan on doing today).
THIS is the impetus for this blog- how to find that perfect flow within a form that fits.
My process has always been on one side of the fence or the other- Too much force or tremendous flow. (The physical inertia is a relatively new experience for me, triggered by my first New England winter in over 15 years & allergies that lead to repetitive infections).
When we study our behaviors with honesty & objectivity like a scientist (& leave the inner bullshitter behind), we can come to some conclusions that will support us in our process & help the flow move forward freely.
I think it’s also important not to judge ourselves within it. The inner critic is just as bad, if not worse, than the inner bullshitter, & immediately needs to be told to pipe down. Flow does not happen when we are feeling poorly about ourselves.
Some things to consider in studying your own behaviors of force vs. flow…. Get out a pen & some paper & give yourself the five minutes to answer these questions now. It will reveal a lot about your flow/force energy & your process in general, & likely give you insights on how to shift what isn’t working for you into something more functional.
*what time of day do you feel most energized?
*Do you allow yourself regular breaks, even if you are flying forward at lightening speed?
*Do you get regular sleep? How is your diet? Do you participate in some form of physical exercise? How much water do you drink throughout the day?
*What ways do you call in PLAY other than the art form you currently work with? Can that be integrated into your work somehow?
*What do you do when you feel stuck? How does it help shift you out of that rut?
*Do you ever give yourself a chance to reflect & celebrate your previous successes?
*Do you ever collaborate with others? Or at least dialogue? How do you interact with your community?
*Recall some of the moments in your life when you’ve felt most energized, alive & connected to that amazing power of flow within. What was going on for you?
When we consider our energy as a whole & remember that our art-making comes from that same source, we begin to acknowledge & answer the call to the “other” parts of ourselves that need attention, too.
I’m going to go flow into the kitchen now, & make some fabulous food to help me find my flow. & maybe I’ll do some yoga with my kids in that beautiful park I mentioned…..