Flow

In my last blog, I wrote about my newfound search for happiness and I mentioned that I would be getting back to you all and reporting on what I find. I’ve been using several techniques, but the most difference has occurred by my epiphany in my last blog that we are built to be happy, and that it is just and right to seek happiness.

I was sat in bed (my office – as those of you who know me well will know) and was thinking about the days when I am tired – or just after work when I am tired. Or when I have a large amount of time off work, and I feel like I should be resting, but I end up watching so much TV or playing so many computer games that I feel stuck in a rut. There are other times when I feel like a week’s holiday from work is so precious – that I can’t decide what to do with it. There are so many options for me – so much that I really want to achieve in my life, that I feel overwhelmed. I end up worrying that I would be enjoying something else more and so don’t relax into the task or pass – time that I am currently doing.

Does any of this sound familiar?

It doesn’t really sound very present or mindful does it?

There is this thing called “Flow” – I’m sure you’ve experienced it. You’re in the middle of a piece of writing or a consultation with a customer, for example, and time just seems to disappear. It’s as if you lose all traces of self-consciousness and your totally engrossed in the task or project in hand. You forget what day it is, what time it is, the rest of the world, and you feel at peace. Fully in the present moment. You feel great during and after this session – a feeling of satisfaction and then, you’re ready to let it go, and do something else.

“Attention is like energy in that without it no work can be done, and in doing work is dissipated. We create ourselves by how we use this energy. Memories, thoughts and feelings are all shaped by how use it. And it is an energy under control, to do with as we please; hence attention is our most important tool in the task of improving the quality of experience.”
― Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience
Doesn’t this feel like the perfect antidote to my experiences above?

What makes you feel like this? What kind of things bring about this feeling for you? I would like to invite you to write a list of them now. Go on, this blog will still be here when you get back.

There are moments when I’m at work or at home and I feel like I want to work on something, but i can’t quite put my finger on what I want to spend my time doing. Not even necessarily a project, just lacking some inspiration about how to spend my time. I have a feeling it may be because I don’t often get a day or a whole weekend to myself – having two teenagers at home. It’s quite a stuck murky feeling – and these are the times when I end up procrastinating and watching telly all day – but if i’m honest I’m not really enjoying it after the first movie or program, or after the first 45 minutes of gaming.

This morning – I wrote a list like the one I asked you to write above. Now, we are going to take a few moments to think of other projects that are important to us as well, that perhaps we have been putting off, but that we know – once we start them, we’ll get into flow and won’t want to stop. Redecorating anyone? Or how about clearing out that anything and everything draw? Add these to the list too.
It would be good for us as well to add important things like rest, play time, fun, and exercise to this list too.

Is your list ready?

Stick it up somewhere that is easily accessible (don’t worry – you can keep it private if you want to. But make sure you can get to it easily).

In our day-to-day lives, we are going to start connecting to ourselves more. Our emotions, and the physical sensations of our bodies. Are we tired? Hungry? Full of energy? Stressed? I usually pray, but you can do whatever process you feel comfortable using to get in touch with yourself – to find that place of calm in your centre. Ask yourself “what do I really want to do right now?”.
We may find that we get an immediate answer and don’t need to check our list, but if we don’t, we’ll go and look at our list and see which item draws our attention or inspires us, energizes us, the most.

Now we are going to devote at least half an hour to this item.

Don’t worry – if we get so engrossed and in the flow we can keep going with it until it no longer interests us or for up to a full hour.

Notice that I switched to using the word “we”? That was on purpose, because we are in this together. Rising tides lift all boats – not sure who first used that phrase – but it’s true. This is how I experience my flow and joy. What energizes me – inspiring myself and the people around me to live happier, more fulfilled lives,

So what do you think? Are you with me?

As always, I welcome your experiences, thoughts and feedback.

Peace, love and blessings,

Lucy Loizou

 

Happiness

Something has switched in me recently. I am beginning to crave true and lasting change. Too long have I remained attached to my past and the feelings of unworthiness that beset me too regularly from my negative experiences. I thought I had dealt with them all but in the end I feel I may have got stuck in rumination. Have you ever experienced this? Where you feel that you won’t have moved on from something unless you have fully analysed the situation and yourself? It is possible to get stuck in this phase and then it blocks you from truly moving on – rehashing the old wounds and keeping you stuck in a cycle of sadness and grief.

Once the lessons have been learned it is time to move on and actively engage in life again – in the things that bring you joy. As some of you may know, I am an avid reader, and my passion lies in what makes us tick. Why are we here? How are we here? How to make the most of our sojourn on Earth? I have come to realise through my reading sessions that we are here to be happy. We are built to be happy. Happiness isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity and the key to our well being.

In William Bloom’s book – The Endorphin Effect (2011) – he describes how our bodies are built to receive hormones that induce inherent feel – good. Feelings of wellness and joy. indeed, not just us, but even single celled organisms contain these receptors. He goes on to say:

“That tiny single – celled creatures posses endorphins is a profoundly optimistic piece of information. It means that every cell of our multi – celled body is capable of experiencing endorphins and that the propensity to experience happiness and euphoria is biologically built in to each of us. This allows us to put forward an unexpected but exact scientific statement: Happiness and pleasure are built in to the biological foundation of the human body.” (p24, Bloom, 2011).

This, to me, is good news indeed. I have always believed in a higher power, and knowing that there is the built in capacity for joy and happiness leads me to believe that happiness is a natural part of our make up. We are supposed to be happy.

So why is it harder for some of us than for others? Well, many of us are waiting for outside circumstances to change before we allow ourselves to be happy. Many feel we are born with a tendency to low mood and depression. many of us that we have no right to do things that induce happiness until we have completed the many goals and tasks in our life plan, that never seem to get completed. Some of us feel guilty when we feel happy.

Did you know that there is now scientific evidence that proves how our happiness levels are affected? In her book, The How of Happiness (2010), Sonja Lyubomirsky explains how our levels of happiness are made up. 50% of our happiness is controlled by our genetic make up – we each have a built in happiness set point which is controlled by our genes. So if our parents suffered low mood and depression there is an increased likelihood that we will as well. From her research, it was discovered that only 10% of our happiness levels are affected by outside circumstances, such as bereavement, promotion, an increase in wealth etc. This leaves us with 40% being affected by our day to day choices and behaviours. This means we have a whole 40% of control in which happiness is an inside job. In which it is our responsibility and choice to determine how happy we are.

This, to me, is extremely good news and I am currently experimenting with myself as to which behaviours, changes and attitudes I can adopt because I now believe that is it inherently my right to be happy most of the time!
I will be sharing my adventures in happiness, so please stay tuned, and feel free to share with me your views and opinions and any interesting experiences on this topic.

If you feel stuck and could do with a gentle nudge in the right direction from your angels, please feel free to get in touch with me and book a session for an angel card reading. It might just give you the next steps you need to take to find your happiness.
Much love and many blessings,

Lucy Loizou

William Bloom, 2011; The Endorphin Effect; Piatkus; London.

Sonja Lyubomirsky, 2010; The How Of Happiness; Piatkus; London

Stop – Slow – Easy

I wanted to talk today about how important it is to treat yourself with the love and compassion that you give to other people, and that you wish you could receive from others. I have come to realise from my own personal journey of learning that I have been so tough on myself. Expecting myself to constantly be able to give to others, to support them through their times of grief, stress, joy or whatever is going on for them.

But when it’s my turn to go through these things, I somehow start to think I should be able to deal with this, Why am I feeling angry? When will I feel ok again? Why didn’t I get that? How will this situation work out? Or, and I’m pretty sure you’re all familiar with this one – when you’ve spent an hour two or maybe even a whole day just having fun or wasting time watching TV or reading a good book and then you feel guilty for not having achieved anything that day. Sound familiar? I thought so.
I wanted to write about my new mantra that came to me from my Journey work with Ann Winslow.
This is a form of healing work devised my Brandon Bays. Those of you who are interested might like to read her book, The Journey.
I met my two-year old self in this journey, and realised how lonely and neglected she’d been feeling. So I took her up in my arms and gave her the biggest hug possible, and I felt a huge release. When I gave her the hug, I felt the hug within me. That’s when I realised that I hadn’t been giving myself enough love. I’ve been allowing myself to be a critical parent for too long, even though I thought I’d been treating myself with more love than I used to. This is a trap that is easy for us all to fill into.

I also realised through this session that I kept returning to fear during the meditation. I worried that I wouldn’t be able to see or really believe the journey I was being guided on, or that it wasn’t ok what I was seeing, because I was supposed to be seeing something else – the right answer. Or that I wouldn’t see anything at all and that the session would have been a complete waste of money. But I was surrounded by so much love that I noticed a new habit-forming. A voice inside kept telling me to slow down, relax, and let go. Accept whatever I saw and share it with Ann. It was ok to just see what I was seeing, or not see anything at all. And when I couldn’t see anything, Ann shared with me that this was common – sometimes that angels only want to share so much with you. The rest is for later.
So this is how I came across my new mantra for life. Stop! Slow down. Easy.

This is about meeting yourself where you are. Whether that’s excitement, joy, love, fear. Take a moment now to check in. Check in with each area of your body. How does it feel? Is there pain anywhere?

Treat yourself as you would treat a young vulnerable child. Speak to whatever part of your body that speaks to you. Say “I love you, I hear you. I thank you for everything you do for me, but I am in control now. You can relax and let go because I am in charge of this situation.”

Give yourself a big hug. Speak gently to yourself. Then do something that brings you back to your place of joy and happiness.

Write a list of 100 things that bring you joy. That help you to lose yourself in the moment and just be. These can be places, fabrics, colours, tastes. Some of them you will need to do when you are alone in your personal space. You might find however, that there are some that you can do when you are out in public but need to build your strength and joy back when you have lost yourself for a while.
One of my favourite things to do after I have come back to myself is imagine myself surrounded in a cloak of light of my favourite colour – or whatever colour my mind’s eye brings to me at the time. This is something I use at work on a regular basis. It helps to bring me back to my true self.

If you notice that there is some murky feeling all of a sudden, if you’re too tired to work and you feel foggy headed and grumpy, take a deep breath. Check in with each and every part of your body. Don’t fight what you are feeling. You’re feelings are there for a reason. They are probably telling you that some good quality self-care is needed, or some work on your priorities and projects. Accept it. Ok, so I’m feeling tired/grumpy/foggy headed/silly. That’s ok – it’s allowed. Send whatever you are feeling love. It might help to use some form of image. Like a golden light of a syrupy texture, or a light pink, sparkly light that slowly travels around your body to where it is needed.
Notice if anything starts to feel different. Once you have started to accept yourself as you are, where you are, then things will start to change for you anyway. You will be present to yourself and aware if things need to change, and what steps you need to take to bring about this change, or even that you are feeling wonderful, and that it’s a good idea to take a minute and fully embrace this wonderful feeling.

Please take note however, part of accepting yourself where you are is recognising and accepting that you might need a bit of help. We are social creatures and if these tips don’t seem to be helping, you might need some extra support, like talking to a trusted friend, a counsellor or even your doctor. I have probably said this many times but I don’t see any reason why spirituality and self-care can’t be used alongside science and western medicine. The two can work well together.
Especially if you are going through or have been through a fresh trauma or a recently bereaved.
Seeking help is a form of self-care and being your own best friend too.
This is truly the path to becoming you’re own best friend. You’re relationship with yourself is the one that you will be in for the longest time – isn’t worth giving it 100% , 5*treatment?

Those of you who would be interested in a session with Anne can find her at:

http://www.myjourneytherapy.co.uk

Love and Angel Blessings,
Lucy Loizou xxx