There is a distinct feeling that comes when you are In Flow. Doesn't matter what you're doing - the feeling's the same. It's a sense of ease, and rightness; things occur effortlessly.
Ditto when you're Not In Flow, except it's a lot more frustrating. Several efforts yield no results. Everything is an uphill battle. Supplies go missing; things randomly break.
I had a potent experience with each state of Flow over the past few days.
About five days ago, I sat down to finalize a necklace design based off my Talismana Bracelets. I was 100% In Flow. Everything went so smoothly. My careful measurements were spot on the first time. My color combinations were perfect. The necklace even looked good on me. I felt a deep sense of elation, like an invisible friend was looking out for me and paving my way. Life was good.
Yesterday, I sat down to weave a necklace, using the exact same design. Except everything was Not In Flow. I couldn't locate my measurements, which was maddening; I worked so hard on them! I overturned the room trying to find them, but I was too impatient to focus. So I decided to wing it, and the first necklace I made was too small and unwearable. Frustration creeped in, but I decided to try again. Second necklace: too small. My materials were a messy jumble. I was tired and frustrated. How could it be so hard today, when it was so easy the time before?
The fact is, sometimes we're In Flow, and sometimes we're Not. There are a myriad of factors, from blood sugar to overall mood to random happenstance of the universe. The trick is knowing when to press forward, and when to stop and wait for a better opportunity.
When you are In Flow - when everything has a golden shine and seems effortless - it's time to give it your all. Stay in that energy as long as you are able, because what you create in that time will be downright magical.
When you are Not In Flow - when everything goes wrong and leaves you frustrated and drained - it's time to stop working. No matter how difficult that feels. Trying to create in a Not Flow energy is like trying to swim upstream against a swift-moving current. You might make some progress, but you'll exhaust yourself, and you won't enjoy the process.
When I sat down to create yesterday, feeling pressured to meet a self-imposed deadline, and couldn't locate my written measurements, I should have stopped. Taken a break. Found some fresh air. Instead I pressed forward, worked in a maddening state for a few hours, and had to cry off with no progress to show for it.
And then, this morning? As I was watching a wonderful video on partnering with intuition? My elbow bumped something. It was the post-it notepad with my perfect measurements written right on top. How did I miss them yesterday? Thanks, Not Flow.
There's lots of scientific evidence to support the habit of taking a break when you're frustrated or feeling challenged. Removing yourself from Not Flow - climbing out of the river that's set against you - gives you the chance to come back to neutral, which is where Flow can find you.