A huge part of setting intentions and creating rituals is meditating. Yes, I know. Meditating is hard and it’s not for everyone! Have you ever read through instructions or sat through a guided meditation and they ask you to take 10 breaths and concentrate on your inhale and exhale? I have never made it past the 3rd breath before my mind is racing somewhere else.
The Flow State
I get it, meditating is not for everyone, so how do you ground yourself so you can really set the space (mentally, physically and emotionally) to set those intentions? I like to think of this grounded state of relaxation as the flow state. You might have heard this term floating around before. Flow is that state you get into when you forget all time and all worries, all that exists is you and the action you are doing.
This flow state is different for everyone. For my “day job” I’m a designer and professional musician. I often practice for hours a day when I have big gigs on the calendar. And when I practice, I always keep a notebook by my music stand because making music is where I easily go into flow. When I play my clarinet, often my concentration becomes hyper focused, and ideas and answers to unsolved problems flood my mind. Not in a manic monkey mind way, but in an effortless and calm way, like I have a direct link to my higher self. And before you know it, I’ve practiced for over an hour, I feel refreshed and it only feels like 5 minutes have passed. I review my notebook and I have solutions to unsolved problems and loads of great ideas to explore.
Grounding – Root to Rise
Before you go into the flow state, it really helps if you plant your feet on the ground and feel your connection to the earth. Imagine your feet rooting to the center of the earth. This rooting and connection helps you manifest your desires into the physical world. I like to also connect upwards, to my higher self. From the crown of my head, I imagine a ray of light reaching up towards the heavens. I imagine my physical body as a conduit between heaven and earth. A favorite yoga teacher who teaches in Hawaii reminds us in class, “root to rise.”
10 ideas to flow when you hate to meditate
After you root to rise, here are some ideas to get into that flow state when meditating won’t cut it.
- Dance: Dance like no one is watching. Take off your shoes, feel the floor under your toes. Put on the music you love and have a solo dance party. Dance it out. Feel your feet and rhythm on the ground. Who cares what you look like. All that matters is what you feel like.
- Journal: Write it out. Take a pen or pencil to paper. Nothing fancy, you don’t have to know what you’re going to write, you don’t need a mission, you don’t need a statement. Just ink to paper and write. Jot down the chatter in your mind, get it all out. You don’t know what to write? Write down “I don’t know what to write, what shall I write about? What do you want me to know?” Feel your pen glide across the paper as it forms letters. Go from there.
- Make or listen music: If you are an instrumentalist, vamp or do something repetitive that clears your mind. If you’re a singer, chant an easy tune over and over. If you can’t carry a tune but love music, que up your favorite playlist and put your noise cancelling earphones on and listen. Listen to the tone, the timber, the harmonies… the music that fills in the spaces. Feel the music fill your body.
- Go on a walk: This is great if you can walk in nature somewhere. And even better if you have no where specific to go. And super charged if you can walk barefooted. Feel the ground beneath your feet. Look up at the sky as you walk, look down at the ground as you walk. Pour your thoughts out through your feet. Take deep breaths of fresh air to clear your mind, body and soul.
- Stare at a fire: Ever get lost in the glow of a campfire, fireplace or even a candle? This is an easy way to zone out and get in the flow. Notice the smell of the flame, does it have a distinct scent? Notice the sound of the flicker, even a small candle’s light gives off the most delicate sound. Let the flames inspire you to flow.
- Take a long shower: Many ideas come flooding to me while I take my daily shower. The solitude and warmth of the water make me utterly relaxed. Listen to the steady flow, feel the warmth, smell your soaps and let the water wash all worries away.
- Exercise: A good sweat or stretch is a great way to clear your mind. Go for a quick run and run as quickly as you can for a sprint, let your breath get away. Or try a hot yoga class to sweat and stretch. I know my mind is always much clearer after any type of yoga class or vigorous exercise.
- Bake: Yep! Baking, the mixing, the kneading, the rolling out little balls for cookies. These repetitive tasks are a perfect way to clear your mind and get into that flow state. Smell the sweetness, feel the ooey gooey of the dough, and when you’re done, you have a reward of a yummy treat.
- Knit or Crochet: I hear that this is an excellent way of getting in the flow. The rhythm and repetition and the movement of nimble hands are a great way to center, clear your mind, and flow!
- Breathe: And of course, this might be the most obvious. Just 3 intentional breaths are a perfect way to flow. If you need to “do” more, a good exercise is to breathe in for 4 slow counts, and exhale for 8 slow counts. You can even super charge this exercise by breathing in things for which you are grateful and exhaling things you want to release. Something like, I breath in patience, grace, love, and peace, and I exhale fear, anxiety, impatience and constraint. It’s funny how this simple task has a way of resetting our nervous system and getting us into the flow state.
I hope that some of these ideas help you get into the flow state when meditating isn’t your thing.
If you have a tip or another favorite way you flow, please share with us in the comments below!