Flow is that single-minded immersion in something you love. Proposed by  positive psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, the concept has revolutionized the way I think about life and the people in it.

We all have people in our lives that make us feel like time is suspended. You know you have a flow friend when you pick up where you left off no matter how long it’s been since you saw each other last. Flow friends make time melt away altogether. There is an innate knowing, a comfort level, a deep love and connection that you cannot fabricate. Flow friends are for life. They are for real.

You could say that they are soulmates. As Arielle Ford defines it in her book, The Soulmate Secret, you can have many soulmates of various ages. I am blessed to have deep connections with people in my life who bring flow into every conversation. They enhance my thoughts, feelings and awareness about pretty much everything. We share a laugh, a story, a memory and for a moment in time, we raise each other up just a little higher.

Flow friends are the best. Immerse yourself in a conversation with one of them today. It will be worth your time.

I promise.

The title caught your eye, didn’t it? Not all things that are worthwhile have to come slowly. And although I am dedicated to the power that slow brings, I’m equally committed to human happiness. And I mean for everyone.

You can experience instant joy by doing a few simple things. So in true slow style, I offer you five methods to attain more joy in every day situations.

  1. Traffic jams. Instead of beating yourself over the head that you took the slow lane and are now trapped on the road, take a look at all the other cars in line with you. They want to get to their destination too. Smile at someone you pass. They just might smile back. Joy points: 2+
  2. “I’m late” syndrome. While we all like to be on time, life gets in the way sometimes. So if you are going to be late to an appointment, call or text the person and let them know. Chances are they’ll be equally relieved to have a few minutes to breathe themselves. If you are going to be late for an event, trust that the Universe has your back and is aligning with what is meant to be. And remember: there’s really no such thing as late: you arrive at the right time, every time. Joy points: 1+
  3. The sound of music. Listen to your favorite tunes. A good song can boost your mood in no time. Joy points: 2+
  4. Acceptance. You might find this hard to believe, but accepting that some people in your life aren’t going to change can liberate you to focus on what they can do. While I do not condone abusive behavior (and if you find yourself in that situation, please ask for help), your quirks make you the person you are. This rule applies to everyone. Joy points: 3+
  5. Gratitude. I once thanked a person who said she could never be my friend for teaching me so much about communication. She didn’t get it, but it made me feel better as I left the situation. Gratitude can heal the weirdest of circumstances. Joy points: off the charts!

So now I’m going to tell you a little secret. To unlock your joy, look at your attitude. A good attitude will give you the altitude to stand above anything life throws at you.

I’m feeling a little joy high right now. Are you?

On Savoring

April 22, 2010

According to research in the area of positive psychology, savoring can literally expand our sense of time. It is the scooping up of life moments that gives us meaning.

If you’ve ever watched a show such as American Idol, the winners will tell you it was like being in a state of shock. It is a timeless feeling so overwhelming it cannot be savored. While many of us look for that next ‘kick’, the smaller moments such as breathing the smell of your freshly cut grass or cuddling a pet that keep us grounded and most happy. We cannot live in a constant state of adrenaline. It is, in fact, unhealthy to do so.

Life offers us all kinds of choices. This morning I was faced with a simple one. Either I could take the convenient route and drive my car to a local bakery or I could embrace the power of slow and ride my bike.

Which would be the more savoring activity? A car ride offers protection from the elements while a bike ride allows you to experience so much more: the breeze, the dust, the pavement, the cow dung-strewn fields. The fingers of verdant grass literally beckoned me outdoors.

The air’s chill did not deter me as I swung my leg over the saddle of my mountain bike. I used to ride 26 KM a day to and from University. I felt my younger self rekindled.

“I will have a chocolate croissant!” I exclaimed, giggling ferociously into the wind. It was all downhill on the way. In fact, I made it to my favorite bakery within twenty minutes.

Trying hard not to press my nose to the glass, I scanned the remaining baked goods. It was 9 am for pete’s sake! Not a chocolate croissant in sight. I mocked myself for my false bravery as I pointed to an apple danish.

“I’ll have that one.” I mustered a smile.

The ride back was a little more vigorous, but surprisingly less so than I remember (that indoor spinning class this past winter helped). I clamped the bag under my hand as I pumped my way back up the hill, savoring the anticipation of a nice cup of Joe with my danish.

It made the entire experience so much more enjoyable. The journey is the destination ~with a good baked good tucked into your palm, even better!

How will you savor a moment in your day?

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