The river flows even if the top is still. It can be a turbulent or enjoyable ride. But the question then becomes: are we riding the river or are we the river?
We have all heard the phrase “Go with the flow” oftentimes referring to taking things in stride with everything that happens around us. I always felt this type of mentality is a sure way to always stay in a creative rut, especially if you cannot relax because your mind and body are always buzzing. Recently, it was brought to my attention that the phrase never truly meant standing back from stress and joining in the festivities, but rather, going with the current of a motion instead of fighting it. While working with WeBook Publishing, I was introduced to Drica Lobo’s book Decoding the Flow, and it challenged my perception of the concept of Flow altogether.
Let me put it this way, if Flow was a riptide, the first thing you do is fight against it when in the ocean because of panic. The more you work against it the more tired you get, and you feel like giving up entirely. When you do give up, that riptide takes your exhausted body out into the ocean until the current ends. Where that is? It’s hard to tell. It can be the world's longest water slide with no exit, or it’ll take you a few feet down the beach with no problem. Either way, you are at the will of the water with no direction of what you want in a negative way. That’s what I thought of the phrase “going with the flow.”. I would end up just ‘going along for the ride’ when my friends wanted to do something reckless or something in their definition of ‘fun.’ It sounds like I would be terrible to hang out with, but I was in college, and a lot of the time, I had to decide between getting drunk or studying for midterms. Education always won, so maybe I was boring.
In the same sense, if you swim with the riptide at a diagonal you end up out of it. Are you swimming against the flow? No, you happen to be using it to your advantage to help usher yourself out of an undesirable situation. You go at a diagonal with the speed of the current to waste less energy to get from where you started to where you want without the fear of being pulled under. In some ways, it is exhilarating. In others, you notice how easy it is to get out of the space you were in at the beginning. You become the master of your own fate and determine if you get carried out to sea or move back to shore. But that doesn’t sound like you are letting go and joining the flow, does it? That’s just because such a thing is misunderstood.
The way Lobo put it was that the Flow is the optimal moment of using the pressures and power of the flow to build a desirable outcome with direction while getting lost in it. In today’s concepts, we might consider this getting in ‘The Zone.’ Where one hour turns into mere seconds of daydreaming and suddenly, you have a masterpiece on the canvas before you. It's that sweet spot between loss for inspiration and having a vision of what you really want to achieve. Flow is a space of motivational contradiction. What does that even mean? I know, it sounds so odd, but in reality, there are ways to describe it but everything will seem so strange and foreign until the Ah-ha! moment strikes.
You become one with the riptide with all of its power while still maintaining your desired outcome. In a way, you become the current itself and realize pressures and fears melt away as you gain speed and independence from the forces that try to pull you under. It’s a fantastic concept and method I hope others become more aware of as they find their place in niche forms. You can learn more about Decoding the Flow by checking it out on Amazon Kindle or coming to our August 19th event at The Grove to ask Drica Lobo more about what it means to “go with the flow.” Also available on our website for purchase and Barnes & Noble.