When we feel flow it is usually a time when everything around us seems to stop and our ability to be with our goal is all we have in front of us. But what is it like to flow in relationships? What is it like to find satisfaction and ease in our relationships? Working on the ability to prioritize our connection and move towards intimacy can be one of the key ways we develop flow.
In understanding the state of flow we must first describe it. Flow is state of consciousness where we are challenging ourselves enough to grow. If it is too challenging we will be overwhelmed and if it is not challenging enough we will get bored. Here are four components of flow:
1. Flow involves conscious attentions. We need to be able to bring our attention deeply into the activity we are involved in.
2. When you are in flow your completely aware of your actions.
3. Flow involves not losing yourself in needless self-conscious concerns (“am I doing this right?”, “why am I such screwup?”)
4. When you are flowing you believe that you have control over what is happening.
So let’s see if we can apply this to committed partnerships.
1. In being with our partners we need to first and foremost show up. This means being present with our loved one. We need to shut off our phone or other distractions and focus completely on our wife, husband or life partner. This means really hearing what they are saying and listening with our whole bodies. Being present means feeling an empathic connection and being in their experience with them.
2. When you are flowing you are aware of each action you take. For someone rock-climbing it is being fully aware of each hold and the stability of the rock. In relationships you are aware of your words and body movements. You are noticing impulses to get defensive or show aggression. You are able to notice these impulses but not give into them.
3. Often times when we are with someone we love we are second-guessing ourselves or second-guessing them. In the state of flow this self-conscious thinking part of ourselves gets quiet and possibly drops away. It really means letting go of any stories that come up. There may be a story you have about yourself in relationships: “I’m such a terrible communicator, I’ll never get this right.” You may have a story about the other person’s motives: “she doesn’t care about me, she only cares about herself.” When we are in the flow with someone we are able to let go of these stories and see the actual person in front of us.
4. When you flow in relationship you can see that you are responsible for what his happening. There is no need to blame the other or to find fault in your poor upbringing. In the moment you are fully seeing that you are the one who is control of what happens. You can choose to make decisions that are harmful for the relationship or make decisions that create more connection.
I want to make it clear that flowing in relationship is not easy. In my own life I have had to learn and relearn how to be fully present to my wife. I get pulled into the business of my life when she is asking for a few minutes of my focused attention.
The big breakthrough for me was when I started prioritizing the connection I have with my wife. When I notice us not in connection I do whatever I can to get us back there. The connection may not be working because I’m having a bad day or because my wife is upset about something I did. We can stay in disconnection for hours, even days. In the past, I would avoid these difficult topics by skirting around the edge of what is actually happening.
These days my focus is to move past whatever is happening that may be bothering one of us. I listen when she is upset with me and I authentically apologize for how my actions upset her. I do this even if, what I did, was not intentional. Then I get clear about what is going on with me and let her know that I’m having a hard day or I’m stressed about something. I try and clear up anything that is in the way of us feeling connected and ultimately getting us to a more flowing place.
My intention is to do it this way. I fail most of the time. Ultimately my goal is not to succeed but to get better a little bit each day, month and year. As my wife and I get into more flow it becomes easier to find this state. She learns how to express to me in ways that help me stay present with her. I learn words that trigger her and she lets me know about my body posture and non-verbal cues that are upsetting.
I imagine it takes a lifetime to get this figured out. However, we can get to a place where we are flowing more often. It starts with wanting to create this with your partner.
If you are looking for some support on how to create more flow in your relationships please contact me.
Wishing You The Day You Need To Have!