Go with the Flow

by Christopher Lovejoy on October 17, 2010 · 4 comments

Have you ever wondered what it means to go with the flow? And not just for a few blessed moments in your life, but for hours, days, perhaps even years or decades on end?

When I was a child in school (I was 6 or 7 years young at the time), I watched a short, quirky film about a man who did everything in his power to uproot and take possession of a flower, but the flower would not budge – no mighty tugs, no clippers, no power saw, no temper tantrums could dislodge it. And then came along a little girl – a sweet little girl who was oblivious to the man’s frustrations and who gently placed her tiny finger and thumb around the stem of the flower and plucked it with infinite ease. Needless to say the man was more than a little flabbergasted by what he saw.

Going with the flow is what happens when we follow the example of this little girl, as we ease ourselves more and more into a natural, spontaneous, effortless flow. Everything we think and feel, believe and desire, intend and expect, say and do, all of this and more announces to this world whether we feel worthy and deserving of going with the flow, and if ever we should meet with resistance of any kind, from any one or any thing, for any reason, we get to be responsible for finding the balance and harmony with this resistance, for growing from what we learn from this resistance.

Let us now explore how this wonderful experience of flow might come to be for us by bringing into focus how our lives are going (and growing) with the flow.

[Note: this preamble was updated on October 15, 2016]

Setting the Context

In my post, The World, Version 2.0, I explored the Ike principle: the world is what you think it is; when you change your thought, you change your experience of the world. When you change your beliefs (or your mind), you change your experience.

In my post, Beyond Our Limits, I explored the Kala principle: there are no limits; anything is possible if you can figure out how to do it – or better yet, when you realize how to bring it about.

Kala implies that we’re all connected with everyone and everything around us. We influence the universe in ways both subtle and gross, and the universe likewise affects us. Nothing is totally and completely separate. We might view separation as a useful illusion, but ultimately, everyone and everything influences everyone and everything else, either directly or indirectly.

In this post, I will explore the principle of Makia: energy flows where attention goes; wherever you direct your attention, your energy flows in that direction.

In light of Ike and Kala, this is good to know.

When you keep your focus on a desired effect, result, or outcome, you invariably attract more of the same kind of energy that flows in the direction of your focus. Whether you do this to heal or help someone, to do research on a subject you know little about, or to manifest a desired set of circumstances, the effect is the same: energy flows where attention goes.

A Cutting-Edge Promise

The energy of your body fluctuates throughout the day (or night). This has been scientifically demonstrated and you have no choice but to accept it.

But with thanks to Makia, you do have a choice about where to put your attention.

The latest cutting-edge research on the brain indicates that your brain also has a rhythm – based largely on your internal clock, your pattern of sleep, your exposure to light, and your genetic makeup.

So what if I told you that you could synchronize your body (its energy) and your brain (its rhythm)? To burn more calories through exercise; to work more efficiently; to concentrate with greater ease; to enjoy ever more satisfying encounters with loved ones; to be inspired more often than not.

And what if I told you that bringing your body and your brain into sync could make you healthier, happier, and more energetic. And more willing and able to go with the flow.

Interested?

I thought so.

Your Energy Template

A template is a pattern of information to guide action toward a desired effect, result, or outcome.

If you’ve ever used a drawing and design program like AutoCAD or Photoshop, you’ll know that it’s useful to have a template to set boundaries and parameters before you start your design.

What I’m about to give you is a template to harness, manage, and direct your energy throughout your day. This template is based on what researchers know about hormone levels and the effects of doing certain things at certain times of the day – like creating, concentrating, eating, collaborating, and relaxing.

This template is useful for those who need structure in their day, for those who benefit from having a daily routine, for those who’d like to bring their lives back into balance, for those who desire a deeper, stronger, more persistent sense of flow, for those who are looking for greater ease in getting things done during the day, for those who seek validation for doing things in certain ways at certain times of the day, and for those who want to be more creative or productive (or both).

The following time sequences assume an 8-hour sleep period, from 10 pm to 6 am.

Please feel free to adjust time frames as necessary or desired to reap the benefits.

6 to 8 am: Best for Intimacy

The key learning here is that levels of the love hormone oxytocin are very high upon waking, making it an ideal time for intimacy of all kinds and to bond with the most important people in your life.

During this time frame, applications might include cuddling or making love; spending time with a loved one; contacting a loved one; telling loved ones how much you love them; being intimate with yourself or God in prayer or meditation, with your diary or journal, or with your surroundings during exercise.

This is the perfect time to stay in touch, or get back in touch, with the heart of your soul.

I personally find this time ideal for pillow talk, yoga, tai chi, and meditation.

8 to 11 am: Best for Creativity

The key takeaway here is that moderate but healthy levels of the stress hormone cortisol are starting to circulate in your brain in this time frame, which at these levels is ideal for helping you to focus and to shift your focus.

During this time, you’re primed to learn and create, to take on tasks that require concentration and analysis. Studies indicate that most people, regardless of age, are sharpest during this time.

This is the perfect time to engage others in discussion about family matters, to write a blog post, to prepare a presentation, to develop an idea, to brainstorm, to have a chat with your doctor.

I personally find this time ideal for reading, writing, and research.

11 to 2 pm: Best for Tough Tasks

The key learning here is that levels of the sleep hormone melatonin having dropped sharply since their early morning peaks. In the middle of your day, your reaction times are highest and your ability to accomplish successive or multiple tasks is at its peak, provided of course you can wait until close to 2 pm to eat your lunch. If you do, you’ll have the energy you need to complete a tough assignment or move quickly through your to-do list, knocking off one item after another with relative ease.

This is the perfect time for taking action and getting things done, and while you might find it necessary to juggle many tasks at once, it’s actually more productive to focus on one thing at a time.

Glide through your emails and voicemails. Make a presentation. Confront a tough problem.

I personally find this time ideal for reading dense subject matter, researching difficult topics, and getting caught up on correspondence.

2 to 3 pm: Best for Breaks

Eating a calorie-dense meal in the middle of the day is beneficial to keep you going, but it comes at a price. To digest your lunch requires your body to draw blood away from your brain to your stomach.

During this time, your body’s biological clock (or circadian rhythm, which regulates sleep and wakefulness) is also entering a phase that is more conducive to rest than anything else.

This is the perfect time to take a break. To go for a stroll to clear your head. To stay clear of work. To browse the Net. To whip out your favorite mobile device. To tweet to your heart’s content.

I personally find this time ideal for taking a quick nap or watching educational videos online.

3 to 6 pm: Best for Collaboration

Your brain is starting to slow down, which doesn’t necessarily mean you’re stressed out. Although not as sharp as you were, you’re likely in a relaxed mood, taking everything nice and easy.

This is the perfect time for a low-pressure meeting.

If you’ve left work during this time, switch gears as soon as you can. Exercise, but be sure to do it before dinner to prevent any residual adrenaline from affecting your sleep later in the evening.

I personally find this time ideal for going for a walk or a jog and soaking up some sun.

6 to 8 pm: Best for Personal Tasks

Within this time frame, the brain enters a phase called Wake Maintenance, when its production of the sleep-friendly hormone melatonin is at an all-time low.

In other words, your chances of getting tired during this time are next to nil. And because of circadian variations in your hormone levels, your tastebuds are especially active at this time.

This is a good time to handle personal tasks. To spend low-key time with loved ones. To take the dog for a walk. To run an errand. To do some cleaning. To prepare and enjoy a delicious meal.

I personally find this time ideal for running errands, shopping, and prepping and eating dinner.

8 to 10 pm: Best for Relaxation

The key takeaway here is that 80% of your serotonin (a neurotransmitter linked to calm alertness) is stimulated by sunlight. Your serotonin during this time is starting to fall and the hormone that induces sleep (melatonin) is starting to rise. The transition between feeling alert to feeling sleepy can feel abrupt.

This is the perfect time to power down, to unwind and relax, to indulge a little in your favorite mindless activity. Watch a funny movie or relax with a low-key, repetitive activity.

I personally find this time ideal for chatting with my sweetheart and watching movies on DVD.

10 pm +: Best for Snoozing

The key learning here is that you need your sleep. This daily energy template depends on it.

Your body knows how much sleep it needs. The scientific consensus for optimal sleep is 6 to 8 hours, but if you know you can get by on less, or if you know you need more, then by all means, make it so.

During sleep, your brain performs an amazing task: it pulls everything together from your day into a coherent picture, resolves inconsistencies, and prepares to inspire you with insights after you wake.

For optimal health and energy, it’s best to follow a consistent sleep routine.

Do whatever it takes to get your shut-eye. It’s that important.

Some Perspective

This is not a template carved in stone. You might need to adjust the time frames or perform tasks or undertake activities at times that don’t fit neatly into these time frames. But then again, you might also find it beneficial to adjust the timing of your tasks and deeds with an organic schedule of your own.

Your energies – physical, sexual, emotional, intellectual, mental, and spiritual – flow where your attention goes. Your energy flows wherever you decide to place your awareness and direct your attention, especially in a sustained manner. Make the most of your biology to do this.

Attention breeds attraction. What I mean by this is that the more you focus on something (obsess over it, for example), the more likely you will be to draw some facsimile of it to you. Of course, this simple law comes with the oft-quoted caveat: “be careful what you wish for; you just might get it”.

Sometimes, you’ll ignore something (or someone) unpleasant that (who) keeps coming back to you, which seems to belie the law of attraction. It’s likely, however, that you’re harbouring something that you’re not yet ready, willing, or able to accept about yourself (i.e., acknowledge and experience).

In other words, what you resist will persist (even from the depths of your soul).

One thing to do is to assume a witness perspective, drop your resistance, face the experience, and release your feelings about it. Patience, fortitude, humility, or forgiveness might be required. Another technique – one that has bore fruit for many – is the ancient Hawaiian practice of ho’oponopono.

Finally, there are those who pride themselves on being spiritually pure, but this might in fact be a source of false pride for them (let us never forget that we all burp, fart, yawn, sneeze, itch, perspire, urinate, and defecate). The intention to purify can create bubbles of reality (or unreality).

It’s possible to arrange everything in your life to suit your needs and desires, but if you care about your growth – about fulfilling your true potential – then you’ll also care about (1) stepping outside of your comfort zone on occasion with conscious intention; and (2) safeguarding your vulnerability so that your heart remains warm and soft enough to stay connected with the rest of humanity.

{ 2 comments }

BriteLite October 18, 2010 at 6:05 pm

Some thought-provoking ideas here. I’d be interested in knowing the sources of your scientific-based claims. Also, I think the intention to purify yourself could be a source of legitimate pride, just so long as you don’t get carried away with it.

Christopher Lovejoy October 19, 2010 at 1:45 pm

Much of the template was inspired by an article that I read at MSN Health. Much of it seems like common sense, but some of it could probably benefit from a little scrutiny. As for your thought on the intention to purify, I agree. By all means purify, but not at the expense of losing your humanity.

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