THE FLOW LOVES A CONTAINER.
I resisted “systems” for a long time. “Don’t fence me in.” “Don’t mess with my prolific, unbounded divinely flowing genius.” But I realized that, ahem, I can be easily distracted. BECAUSE…. I’m flowing all the time with ideas! and love! and I’m like, sincerely interested in a LOT of people and situations! (And BTW, I rarely use exclamation points! But that’s how flow-loving I am!)
And… I adore a good structure. Total creative turn on. Give me a direction with an intention and I can flow at maximum volume.
THE FLOW LOVES A CONTAINER. Flow without direction is a flood. You have to harness energy to get momentum.
Flow = The Feminine Principle. Creative life force.
Container = The Masculine Principle. A vision, a finish line, structure.
Together, they thrive.
WHAT IS “THE FLOW”?
The flow is… Love. It is prana, it is life force, it’s the stuff of the morphogenic field. The flow is The Feminine Principle. It is ever-generating—there is always more where that came from. When we say, “We’re going with the flow,” what we’re really declaring is that we’re in sync The Divine Creative Principle. They didn’t teach you that in art school––or business school, did they?
GOING WITH THE FLOW IS RESPONSIVE, NOT PASSIVE.
It’s not New Age chillaxin’. It’s not about being a bystander—it’s very responsive. Flow is alert relaxation. You’re responding to cues from Life. And the more conscious you are, the more subtle those cues can be, you don’t need a wake up call to get the signal, you don’t need to get waaay off course. You trust. And you listen and the Flow takes you riiiight where you’re meant to be.
TO FLOW, TAP THE STILLNESS.
This is what I call the Stillness Sandwich: Before we begin something (the day, a retreat, a gig), we start with reflection. There’s so much in the stillness: we can hear ourselves think, tune into our feelings, access our memories. Then you use all that interior information to move you forward, through the day (the middle of the sandwich). At the end, tap back into the stillness so that you can harvest your wisdom. How was I? How did I show up? What did I feel? What did I experience? That’s how you get stronger.
WE EACH HAVE A SIGNATURE FLOW.
Are you Zeppelin, or are you Cash? Johnny Cash finished 96 records in his career. He just kept… making.
Led Zeppelin: nine complex albums. They made fewer things, more slowly, selling it wide over time.
Both ways of making and delivering can be soulful and profitable. Exclusive or the masses, deep or wide… Your flow is your flow.
FLOW STIRS UP YOUR SH*T.
So many of us have designed our lives around staying in control. The metrics, the FitBits, the schedulers… But flow is the opposite of control. It’s counter-culture to everything addictive-obsessive in our society. When we first step into the flow, we may feel off-kilter, until we learn that flow is actually our natural state.
Flow is our most empowered way of being. The more you practice listening to the stillness, following your heart—the more you’ll expand and be able to make your entire life a container for the flow.
EGO F*CKS UP YOUR FLOW.
When you care TOO much about how you look, if you’re stuck in your glory days, or overly curated… you’re out of the flow. Comparison = no flow. Overly competitive = less creative. The ego doesn’t like to evolve. It likes to stay fixed, it loves to be right, and it certainly doesn’t want to risk looking less than. The ego doesn’t want anyone to think that it has things to learn. You have to be willing to evolve in public.
HONOUR THE EBB BETWEEN THE FLOW.
We’re not built to be in a constant state of passion. When the ideas aren’t there, decide to rest. Fallow time is part of the flow of creation.
THE BODY LONGS FOR FLOW.
You have to be in your body to access higher creativity and grace. Embodied flow. How do you embody the flow? You breathe—fully and from your heart. Breath returns you to clarity. Breath is being present with the flow.
FLOW ONLY MOVES FORWARD.
“Only forward” is one of our core operating values on Team D. Mistakes, departures, crises… the team processes it and we move on. And not just because we’re kind and loving… we have better things to do than talk sh*t about what happened in the past. If you want to see the signs that Life is giving you, you’ve got to face the future, not the past. We are all going to fail. We’re going to be heart-broken. We’re all going to die… so why not go for it?
LEADERS RIDE THE FLOW.
So we are all teaching, all of the time. The question is, “What are you teaching?” I think our job as teacher-leaders is to be attuned to what’s really happening in the culture, the market, your community, the family, on your team. It is our job to be awake enough to to feel what’s emerging, tap the flow, and lead the vision. So to be a fully conscious leader, we need practices that help us trust what we’re sensing—breath, stillness, contemplation, embodiment exercises, prayer, engaged listening.
THE FLOW IS GENEROUS.
Here are the flow killers: Metrics. Obsessive goal-setting. Hacking. “Disruption” for the sake of being disruptive (because it’s mostly just divisive). These are the opposite of life-giving.
Flow is generous. Flow is generative. Flow is love. For instance, turn your attention to Mother Earth—to the soil, to the waters, to the air, to all living creatures, and everything that keeps us alive. Mother Earth, the Divine Feminine Principle embodied as this planet, is always giving, even when we betray her. We can tap into that power. We can be ever-generating love, radiance, beauty, wisdom, truth, joy, balance, and harmony. We harness that, we change the world.
Here’s what fosters the flow: Love. Responsiveness. Inclusiveness. And by “inclusiveness” I mean looking around you to attune to the needs of everyone you serve. And looking even further to see who else you can be serving. When we step into the flow (the life force, The Divine Feminine), we are living and leading from our hearts… and our visions of “success” will naturally include other people. That’s the only way now—to create from this inclusive state of love.
FLOW IS WHO WE ARE WHEN WE ARE UNITED WITH OUR SOUL.
Flow is intentionally giving our lives to higher principles. Let me bring this back to the everyday… make from your heart. Make what you are longing for and then extend that to the world generously. That’s the flow of the flow.
Mentioned in this episode…
Danielle LaPorte is an invited member of Oprah’s SuperSoul 100, a group who, in Oprah Winfrey’s words, “is uniquely connecting the world together with a spiritual energy that matters.” She is author of White Hot Truth: Clarity for keeping it real on your spiritual path—from one seeker to another. The Fire Starter Sessions, and The Desire Map: A Guide To Creating Goals With Soul—the book that has been translated into 8 languages, evolved into a yearly day planner system, a top 10 iTunes app, and an international workshop program with licensed facilitators in 15 countries. Named one of the “Top 100 Websites for Women” by Forbes, millions of visitors go to DanielleLaPorte.com every month for her daily #Truthbombs and what’s been called “the best place online for kickass spirituality.” A speaker, a poet, a painter, and a former business strategist and Washington-DC think tank exec, Entrepreneur Magazine calls Danielle, “equal parts poet and entrepreneurial badass…edgy, contrarian…loving and inspired.” Her charities of choice are Eve Ensler’s VDay: a global movement to end violence against women and girls, and charity: water, setting out to bring safe drinking water to everyone in the world. She lives in Vancouver, BC with her favourite philosopher, her son. You can find her @daniellelaporte and just about everywhere on social media.