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The Flow of Goofing Off

A lot of us are unsatisfied and seeking something higher for ourselves. Could be enlightenment. Or maybe being more at ease socially. Having deeper connections. Confidence. Inspiration. Productivity. Creativity. Happiness. Or it could be any of countless other attractive ways of being. Though we all vary, what it boils down to, I think, is that we’re all aiming for a kind of sweet spot. We want to get to that place where we forget ourselves and things just flow.

(And even if you’re not actively seeking a state like this, you probably realize that being in flow can help you reach whatever goals you have set for yourself, whether it’s being more successful in your business, getting clearer about your purpose, having great dates, or whatever.)

So, when I’m in this flow state it feels kind of like things are happening through me. An example — Years ago I’m playing volleyball at a neighborhood bar (cool place, they had sand courts and also Frisbee golf). I get a set off the net and I jump up to try and spike it, and even though I’m not all that good at volleyball, this time for some reason the ball looks like it’s just floating there in space above me. And I have this feeling of incredible certainty that I’m going to smack the hell out of it and drive it hard straight down into the opponents’ court. And then it happens, just like I knew it would! That was a fucking great feeling! I know a lot of you are bloggers, and I bet most of you have slipped into this kind of flow while writing, where the words feel as though they’re flowing out of you from some pre-existing source. Amazing feeling, IMO.

A helpful and heartening thing to remember (and the point of this post) is that our own natural everyday—some would say mundane—experience can actually be a surprising and incredible resource for getting familiar with this sweet spot. For me, just hanging out with my wife or my closest friends often brings me into it. I find myself laughing, cracking jokes, and just feeling good. Many would consider that just goofing off. But look at it: I’m relaxed, creative, at ease, confident, inspired, happy. Unlike the volleyball-spiking feeling, this actually doesn’t feel like that big a deal. And I think that’s why these everyday experiences can get overlooked, because it just feels like nothing.

A lot of times we struggle to find this kind of ease in the areas of life that feel most urgent to us. Thing is, it’s exactly because of the urgency that the sweet spot eludes us. We look so hard for the answers, we study, we model ourselves after our idols and mentors, and we pay attention to a lot of detailed advice. But sometimes it’s like that Chinese fingercuff thing. You need to let go and relax a bit. Bottom-line, the sweet spot is about a natural feeling that comes from inside you when you allow yourself to relax and open to the moment. And the operative word there is feeling. THINKING about it only helps insofar as it points you to some kind of experiential exercise that you can go and DO.

So here’s what do to do: Notice when, in your daily life, you naturally feel at ease and open and appreciative of whatever is happening around you, even (espeically) if it doesn’t feel like that big a deal. Remember what it feels like. And later, when you’re doing something that’s important to you, just remember how it felt to be in flow. Your body and mind will most likely naturally relax and you’ll stop forcing things so much and just let it all happen through you.

Jason Cabassi hosts The Walking Dead ‘Cast, a podcast dedicated to AMC’s hit show The Walking Dead. Raarrrrrr!

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