A while ago I started saying “jacking the flow.” I don’t know why I came up with that, maybe because “jack my style” was being thrown around a lot. I often used it to describe people and situations that I felt were jacking my flow. Keeping me from feeling in the flow – alive, in the moment, present, absorbed and engaged by the task at hand. You know the flow, where all good things abide. I could be in the flow while sweeping or doing dishes or meditating or reading or writing. But, then someone, a flowjacker, comes along and stops it up like a Hoover Dam. It could be someone rude, angry, anxious, negative, upset, jealous, petty. (Someone like me? Sometimes.)
Oh these people, jacking my flow. But guess what? I’m my number one flowjacker, and you are yours. No crying, teething baby, insecure boyfriend, shitty work situation, overdrawn checking account, or insane Chris Christie traffic jam can jack your flow better and faster than you! In fact, it’s damn near impossible for anyone else to take you out of the moment without your permission. Kind of like Eleanor Roosevelt said, to clumsily paraphrase, no one can take advantage of you without your permission. I add to that, “no one can jack your flow without your consent.”
These other people, these supposed “flowjackers,” aren’t really our concern, because we’re the ones that jack the flow. Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, author of Flow, says the mental state of flow is “being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.” The very definition of “being in the flow” means it can’t be jacked. If you’re in the flow, you’re in the flow, and then nobody can take you out of it. Except you, of course. I love learning from athletes, performers, and artists. Because if you’re an elite athlete or performer, using your skills to the utmost, completely involved in the task at hand, would someone or something be allowed to break that flow? Probably not. That’s why you’re getting paid the big bucks, and that’s when you know to lean in, going deeper into the flow, into the present moment. Because the flow only exists in this moment, right now.
How do we jack our own flow?
Wishing things to be different. If you’re in a snowstorm, at home, bored, wishing you were in Aruba drinking a banana daiquiri, you’re not in the flow. And, by wanting things to be different, you’re actually taking yourself out of the moment. When you’re in the moment, not wishing for something to be different, a wish that brings suffering, you will have no expectation and no price to pay. If you’re in yet another snowstorm, stuck at home, find a way to accept it and be grateful for something… heat, wifi, hot coffee, friends, down comforters… for everything! Gratitude keeps you in the flow.
The other way to jack your flow is to complain. Put yourself on a no-complaining diet. I do this diet all the time. Because I am a huge complainer, and it’s a great way for me to bring awareness to my thoughts and words. I catch myself complaining and the very catching makes me stop. Complaining is flow jacking. Stop it. Observe but don’t judge. If you’re stuck in traffic or your plane is delayed another 2 hours, observe, be present, something magical could present itself. Go with the flow. It’s all happening for a reason (cheesy, but true). And if you need to talk to some gate agent about missed connections, skipping the complaining part makes you more appealing and your case that much more powerful.
Taking what comes and accepting it joyfully is the best way to stay in the flow. Accepting things as they come means you’re open to the gifts of the universe. And, being open, being in the flow, means so many wonderful blessings coming your way, all the time.
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About the Author: Tania Van Pelt is the creator of Happiness Series. She is a writer and content creator, working in film, tv, and online. She wrote the popular lifestyle book "Ageless Diet," published in late 2015. And she is currently working on her next book. She also developed a sitcom pilot set in the restaurant business called "Employees Only TV" and is developing another web series comedy about Denver.