Updated: May 13
“Life is a wild ride…” This phrase, often heard but rarely deeply contemplated, is a potent truth that we all share. It's a journey of peaks and valleys, of breathtaking moments of beauty juxtaposed with times that are challenging, perplexing, and even heart-wrenching.
We navigate through life to the best of our abilities, but the question we often neglect to ask ourselves is, do we really know our abilities? For a significant part of my life, I was living in a state of constant reactivity. Something would happen, I would react, and the cycle would repeat endlessly.
However, a life-altering experience at a Buddhist monastery in Thailand introduced me to the power of observation. This practice slowed my reactions, and I found myself able to see and understand situations before taking action. Through this process, I discovered that observation through stillness is our superpower.
This superpower is what allows athletes to conquer their competition, and peak performers to excel in their fields. It's often referred to as the 'Flow State' or 'Being Fully Present'.
But what does it really mean to be in this state of flow?
The Power of Flow State
The concept of flow state, pioneered by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, is described as a mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, complete involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. It is characterized by complete absorption in what one does and a resulting transformation in one's sense of time.
In a flow state, we can observe life’s curveballs more objectively. Instead of swinging at every pitch, we can choose to swing only at those we know we can knock out of the park. But how do we step into this superpower of observation and subsequently, the flow state?
Tools to Cultivate Observation and Flow
Here are a few accessible tools that can help you harness your ability to observe, and, in the process, foster your flow state. Remember, not every tool will resonate with everyone, and that’s perfectly okay. The key is to find what works for you and commit to it.
Meditation: Perhaps one of the most powerful tools for cultivating observation is meditation. It trains the mind to focus and return to that focus when unwanted thoughts intrude.
Mindful Breathing: Our breath is a barometer of our emotional and physiological state. By tuning into our breath, we can gain insight into our current state of being, and bring our attention back to the present moment.
Floatation Therapy: Also known as sensory deprivation therapy, floatation therapy provides an environment that allows the mind to enter a deeply relaxed state, fostering increased awareness and mental clarity.
Nature Walks: Walking outside, especially in green spaces, can have a meditative effect and help reduce stress and increase focus.
Calming Music: Certain types of music, particularly classical, can help reduce stress and anxiety, and promote a state of mindfulness.
Plant Medicine: Used mindfully and responsibly, plant medicine can provide profound experiences of self-discovery and healing.
Mindful Eating: This practice involves paying attention to the taste, sight, and textures of your food, as well as the process of eating. It's about savoring every moment of your meals and recognizing your responses to food without judgment.
Fasting: Fasting has been shown to have numerous health benefits, including improved mental clarity and concentration, and can also promote a greater sense of mindfulness.
I implore you to try a few of these tools. Test them out to see which ones resonate with you. Remember, not every tool is for everyone. It's essential to find what fits your unique needs and preferences.
The Role of Journaling and Commitment
One way to track your progress and evaluate the effectiveness of these tools is through journaling. Document your experiences, thoughts, and feelings as you explore these different practices. Not only does this provide valuable feedback for your journey, but it also aids in developing self-awareness and understanding patterns.
However, the crucial factor is commitment. To truly tap into your power and see the changes these practices can manifest, a disciplined commitment of at least 30 days is recommended. This duration allows you to move beyond initial resistance or discomfort that can come with trying new practices and helps establish new habits.
Embracing the Peaks and Valleys
Life, with its intricate tapestry of experiences, will always be filled with peaks and valleys. It's part of the human experience. However, it's through our ability to navigate these with mindfulness and observation that we can transform our experiences.
Observation allows us to understand that the peaks are moments to savor, cherish, and draw inspiration from, while the valleys are opportunities for growth, learning, and self-discovery. Both are equally important in shaping us and our journey.
The Power is Yours
Ultimately, the power to navigate life with grace, resilience, and wisdom is within you. It is about owning your power and taking control of your life journey. These tools and practices are not magic pills but aids to help you tap into your innate abilities.
So, embrace the wild ride of life. Celebrate the peaks, learn from the valleys, and remember, in every moment, you have the power to choose how you navigate your journey. The beauty of life lies not in its predictability, but in its capacity to surprise, challenge, and transform us. In this journey, remember to observe, to stay present, and most importantly, to enjoy the ride.
Discover how you can navigate life's peaks and valleys through the power of observation. Learn about tools like meditation, floatation therapy, and mindful breathing that can help you tap into your inherent abilities and transform your life experience.
As always with much love & buoyancy