Whether you’re a high-level athlete, an office worker, or a retiree, chronic pain is so commonplace that many people have succumbed to the belief that nothing can be done. They’ve tried seeing doctors, osteopaths, massage therapists - nothing has cured the niggling issues. The truth is that there is no one-fix cure, but I believe that many of these underlying physical aches and pains can be reduced or eliminated.
The secret is consistent practice. As humans, we need to be maintaining ourselves every day, striving for progress and laying the foundations for transformation. I live by the maxim that the secret to happiness is progress. Without the belief that we are on a journey of constant growth, how can we find meaning in life?
It is faith in the process that makes the difference between healing yourself and joining the worldwide complaints of back pain, dodgey knees, stiff shoulders, anxiety and depression. The challenge now is to discover what daily practices get you incrementally closer to those goals; practices that make you stronger, lighter and happier on the good days, and buffer you with resilience and faith on the bad days.
My belief is that whatever our individual stories look like, what we are all searching for is flow. More and more research is being done on the ‘flow state’, that experience of being ‘in the zone’ of timelessness, ease, clarity and dissolved inhibition. The foremost thinker on the subject, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, speaks about how a state of flow is achieved when we engage in an activity that provides a balance between challenge and current skill level. He elaborates:
"The best moments in our lives are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times… The best moments usually occur if a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile."
I think of it as resistance training for your life. If we allow ourselves to consistently lean into that threshold of comfort, we can start to work through obstacles that block the overall flow of our life, be they in the body or the mind.
That doesn’t mean we all need to commit to 6am spin classes every day of the week (though some people may get flowing that way...). Rather, we can commit to daily practices that take us maybe just 1% out of our comfort zone. Sustainable change and transformation is a battle of attrition. Determining the value of that incremental challenge is your gut’s job - only you can sense what you're ready and willing to give to your practice. Pour in the energy you have now, and watch that vitality grow exponentially. The cumulative result of a 1% daily change is an incredible shift over a year, a decade, a lifetime. The only requirement is showing up.
I am in the process of finding my flow through yoga, movement and meditation. So this is what I have chosen to share with the world, in whatever modest way I can. I want to work with people who align with this philosophy, and are keen to progress on their journey to find flow in their life. Success will require patience, humility, resilience, and PRACTICE. Daily we grease the groove, lay foundations, and any day can entail spontaneous transformations. Small epiphanies or trajectory-shifting realisations, we’ll welcome them day by day along with the inevitable setbacks.
Flow, as with a river or a fire, by its nature needs direction, movement and stoking to survive. It will meet obstacles - unpredictable things that prohibit its freedom to flow, that challenge its ability to blaze brightly. I resonate with the insight from Stoic philosopher, Marcus Aurelius, that "what stands in the way becomes the way". I therefore believe that it is our responsibility to seek out and lean into challenge, in order to facilitate evermore vibrant flow in our lives.
If you share this inspiration, I’d love to join you on your journey. Whether your goal is to improve your sporting performance, reduce pain, alleviate anxiety, or achieve an arm balance for the sheer fun of it, get in touch to discuss devising a programme to get you onto your path.