Before We Flow

Inspiration

“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable. Every step towards the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering and struggle”.  ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Motivation

Have we been so seduced by perfection that we have forgotten the beauty of struggle?


Before We Flow

Over the past ten years, there has been a group of Neurologists that have been studding the science and biology of flow states. That mystical state of being where you lose time, where you are in the “zone”, where everything has a new beat, a perfect rhythm, where it all flows. Flow is deep creative expression. Flow is inspiration. Flow is pure focus. Transcendence.

It’s truly a fascinating space, like a sneak peak into a part of humanity that we have all known, but never quite understood. One of the most interesting discoveries is that flow has stages. Four stages in fact. There is a preparation (like an education), there is the struggle (turning what you have learnt into a practical reality, taking risk) there is a the flow (where the meeting of what you know and what you do are greater than their individual parts and you transcend your perception of your own ability) and then there is a stage of recalibration, like a resting.

I want to talk a little about the struggle.

When thinking about the impacts that social media has on our lives, the newly found access to one another’s lives that the Internet has opened for us in recent time has confronted us with the overt proliferation of fake news. Not the fake news/ alternative facts from the actual news corporations (that’s a totally different topic) but the fake life stories that flood our news feeds and make up the majority of all social platforms, the ones that come from everyday people.

I’m talking about the touched up selfie (#iwokeuplikethis), the manufactured shots, the product placement that fills peoples lives with things that are not even theirs, that they pretend are (#ad the least used hashtag on the internet!), the overly groomed, best view, polished, exciting, social, adventurous dream lives that flicker into view daily.

It got me to thinking about what potential deeper impacts this is having on us culturally. Obviously, as a million articles already published will tell you, it’s probably hurting our relationship with ourselves, and reality, but I’m not so sure this is the worst of it.

The age of FOMO has turned into the age of FAKE. It is fake, not because of the impossible image of perfection it portrays but because this mass misrepresentations of life denies the existence of any struggle to get it.

As cliché as it is, good things take time, energy and effort to create. Good lives, take time energy and effort, loss, mistakes, misunderstanding, wasted time, messy endings and hurt to create.

I should preface, I am not anti social media. I actually love the power and potential that social media has to offer the world. If ever there was a time in history that we could say “power to the people” it most certainly is now. I marvel that I live in a time where all the “people” are actually connected on a freely available truly democratic interconnected energetic link.

But let’s be real here, socially speaking, things are not going so great in the world. Globally, more than eight hundred thousand people commit suicide every single year. This is an epidemic. How can so many people be ending life at their own choice on the very (scarily) common notion of “I’m not good enough”. Do you stop to ask, “good enough compared to what?” What are they comparing themselves to?

People are comparing themselves to what they see most.

The most powerful tool ever created for positive social change has turned into the most powerful tool for the inciting of crazy misperceptions of how reality is and more so the kind of reality we should be striving for.

It is causing so many people to feel that because they struggle to meet this perfection, they are somehow unworthy of life.

When reality for many people is not even close to this image they strive for. Reality for so many is figuring out how to simply survive day to day. Faced with this stark disparity day in day out, people end up believing that they are doing life wrong. That the inability to meet this impossible standard translates to not being worthy of life.

If you deny the struggle you deny the flow. If the very act of struggling is banished to the dark corners of life, in private places, where it can’t be seen or acknowledged, then life will never meet flow. Life without flow is depressed, repressed and unexpressed.

If this were the end of the story, it would be kind of easy. Easy to find a solution, but no, as this topic suggests nothing about this is easy.

The problem with suppressing the struggle is you become a victim of it. As soon as you fail to acknowledge that the act of struggling has real purpose in both public and private life, you begin to suffer.

Suffering is expressed in many ways, but more commonly as martyrdom. It is expressed as trolls, lies, victimization, abuse, addiction, aggression and destructive vindictive behavior. Suffering has become the hash tag to modern life. The seduction of suffering is the drama. Drama generates attention, a behavior that is reinforced daily in our news feeds. Seeking attention through drama is the misappropriation of a real human need. The need to be truly seen, as you are by others. The need to be vulnerable as a human and connect with other humans means countless interpersonal struggles, drama and suffering is the empty ended shortcut to this need.

There is a difference between suffering and struggling. I think we all know this. I think we understand as beings, that suffering is when we are denied the basic means to survive. Everything else, every other uncomfortable experience is a struggle, in the name of learning, in the name of progression or in the pursuit of passion and love.

Could we start looking at struggling as a gateway to flow? Could we start seeing the beauty in the mess? Could it be that if we embrace the difficult, messy, imperfect path we take to growth with open arms, open minds and open hearts ready to work for our own kind of bliss, we will set a new benchmark for beauty?

Martin Luther King Jnr once said “Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom.” My favorite line of this quote is “And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom.”

We work for our freedom each time we struggle for our flow.

 


For more info on flow states & the science of flow check out this page.

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In Culture We Trust

Inspiration –  

Listening to Terence McKenna talk about trust. Why it’s so hard to trust ourselves and the world as a whole. Felt relevant given the ongoing status of “fake news” & ever growing acceptance of ballshit as a socially acceptable form of communication.

Mindset – 

Why is it so dam hard for me to fit into the way the world works? Why does it bother me so much?


In Culture We Trust

Terence McKenna once said, “culture is not reality, it’s just mass accepted hallucination”. I think about this a lot.

I have always struggled with the cultural way of the world. It’s never ever made sense to me. The way cultural rules seem to decide huge directional decisions in our lives… and how people just accept this. The social status decided when you are an adult, the course of who & how we should love & what is “legitimate” within love, how we should speak, what success is, what is cool.. it goes on.

Don’t think for yourself, just wait for the green light.

Then you add the most frightening layer – when culture is made into law & dictates whom we can legally persecute.

If you stop to think just how many laws fit into this category right now, it’s actually frightening. I would like to blame this misuse of law making power for my underlying anarchist tendencies, but it would leave me with little grounding since so much of the way society works is wrapt up in abiding to this social norm.

What it really makes me wonder is what ever happened to respecting our ability to understand and know, what we feel, what we need, and how we want to exist in the world?

What ever happened to our divine gift to actually choose our own individual experience? If we had complete ability in the use of this gift of choice, would we still choose what society and culture has enforced on us? Do I even trust myself enough, to exist free of the constructs of culture? Is it even possible to do so?

This topic always leaves me with far more questions than answers, humbled by how little I know of myself and the basis of my own actions. It shows me just how much more I need to dig through the way I am, to uncover that which is inherently me, separate to that which has been enforced upon me and implanted in me though exposure to a construct of cultural norm that I never actually chose to make my own in the first place.

If you would like to listen to Terence speak on this topic click here.