Sometimes we get confused looking for the mystical experience called flow.
Its easy to get carried away chasing that illusive Flow State, that is more and more frequently talked about now.
Recently it has been talked about mostly in reference to Peak Performance of Elite Athletes. At least that is how I have seen it in my field of vision.
I consider myself athletic person, I love to workout, swim, hike and maintain a healthy lifestyle, so for me the association of flow and sports was a very interesting subject.
And so I started looking for signs of flow in my life that resembled those of athletes.
As I continued on my journey - a number of things became apparent as the time went on.
Because I was aligning myself with my inner Artist, I was separating further away from the concepts and words such as “Competition”, “Winning”, “Performance”, “Grind”, “Comparing”, “Pushing”, “Striving”, “Accomplishments”, “Achievements”, “Elite Performance”, “Number one in the world” etc.
There is nothing wrong with those concepts, but I was no longer willing to hustle away my creativity.
Because I realized that I was going after wrong kind of Flow for me.
If there is a person who really loves baseball, or hockey, or football, or swimming, or figure skating or any other sport and they know how to play the game, and they are good at it and that is what they do and that is where they get that flow state - then they should keep doing it and if they call themselves a Peak Performer, or someone else does, in that context - then its all perfectly fine.
But for an Artist of any kind, to be trying to get their Optimal State the same way as athletic sports person would - will never work.
Creative Flow is a different kind of animal, and easily spooked. It can be hard to identify exactly what is your own personal way to experience Flow State as an Artist.
For me the clarity came when I stepped away from the Warrior archetype, which has served me well and provided stability for my ego. As I stepped away from that, I got acquainted with my Magician archetype.
Creation with the Magician is not the same as with the Warrior. Its much lighter with a lot less grind and hustle.
There are also archetypes of Lover and Sovereign, and they help us in equal amounts also. Lover connects us with that which we love to do and Sovereign is a visionary. All 4 are important.
So if you have ever found yourself in a place where you have been acting from the need to survive, where you must and should do things and you have been lacking the creativity needed for your Art, I invite you to consider switching out of that harsh mode of living.
Its exhausting and it doesn’t mean you are doing your own thing just because you are grinding and hustling every day.
In summary, if you are chasing a state of creative inspiration and you are not finding it, consider doing the following adjustments:
1) Identify where you are hustling hard and grinding
2) Recognize there there are different aspects, roles and archetypes that you have
3) Consider what version of you would find Art effortless, opposite of exhausting work you are doing now
Have fun creating!
Pauline Dougald is a Creativity Coach and an Artist, who lives in the space of a possibility. She writes about different aspects of Flow State as it applies to creative people.