The Power of Flow:
Practical Ways to Transform Your Life With Meaningful Coincidence
by Charlene Belitz and Meg Lundstrom
(c) All rights reserved
Awakening one morning
in his sunny Austin bedroom, Caylor Wadlington heard himself saying out
loud, "So I’m moving to Denver?" The words were part exclamation, part
question, and they woke him up completely. As surprised as he was, he also
experienced a happy, pleasurable feeling. But by the next day, he had
dismissed the whole thing as just an odd dream. After all, he was cozily
ensconced in Austin, where he had lived eight years, and he knew hardly a
soul in Denver.
Then, out of the blue came a phone call from an
officer of his national professional association, who invited Caylor to
participate in a week-long work meeting — in Denver. Hmmm. . . .maybe
there is something to this, Caylor thought, and without further hesitation
he said yes.
In Denver, after the meeting ended, Caylor was
chatting with another participant, a man who ran a school in the city.
"Caylor, if you ever want to live here, I’d like to hire you to teach for
me," he said. Caylor thanked him calmly, but inside he was stunned:
This is amazing! Walls are coming down to open the way for me to move
To leave Austin, however, would require selling a
professional business that was so specialized he figured it would take at
least a year to find a buyer. Quietly beginning to look around, Caylor
invited a friend to Sunday brunch and, over coffee and pastries, laid out
the prospect. His friend was not interested, but just as he said no, a
colleague of theirs walked in. Caylor had not thought of him as a buyer,
but struck by the timing, he told him his business was for sale. The
colleague was more than interested — he was thrilled. "Don’t tell another
soul!" he said excitedly. "I definitely want it." This seems to be
happening all by itself, mused Caylor. Then he received a letter from
his landlord: Caylor’s condominium was going to be put on the market. A
dream, an opportunity, an offer, the boot—the message was unmistakable.
Caylor willingly closed down his life in charming Austin, and moved to
Caylor wears no wings, sees
no auras. But to him, life works in magical and surprising ways when he’s
connected to a deeper force in the Universe—and he knows he’s connected
because he feels it physically, as a soft, warm feeling inside that links
him to a sweet expansiveness. When he’s in that state, he experiences
meaningful coincidence after meaningful coincidence. "They add magic to my
life, and tell me that the action I’m taking is safe and true and right,"
he says. And they point the way to new opportunities: "Although I loved
Austin, I was starting to feel bored and a little stuck professionally and
personally," he says now. "I thought that Denver might open the way in my
life to some important changes."
Caylor lives in flow — and through it he has come
into a fuller, truer existence. Flow is the natural, effortless unfolding
of our lives in a way that moves us toward wholeness and harmony. When we
are in flow, occurences line up, events fall into place, and obstacles
melt away. Rather than life being a meaningless struggle, it is permeated
with a deep sense of purposefulness and order. Flow has tremendous power
to transform our lives, for it is dynamic and moves us unerringly toward
joy and aliveness.
Most of us have had experiences of being in flow.
In those times, we know we’re in the right place at the right time doing
the right thing. We feel both exhilarated and at peace, somehow connected
to something larger and greater than ourselves. Life is rich with meaning,
magic and purpose. We feel vital, alive, joyful. But for most of us, it
doesn’t happen often enough or for long enough. We feel glimmerings of
flow, and then they fade away.
This doesn’t have to be the case: people like
Caylor have learned to make flow their way of life, the rule rather than
the exception. The way they do it is through synchronicity -- those
meaningful coincidences in which outside events, seemingly disconnected in
time and space, link up with our internal states and connect us with the
When synchronicity happens, people like Caylor
follow the direction it seems to indicate — and then they watch
synchronicity happen more and more. They know they are deeply in flow when
synchronicity is sparking all around them. By using synchronicity for
guidance, confirmation, and validation, their lives become a dance of
energy with the Universe, a give-and-take with their environment that
fills their days with insight and zest.
This way of life requires paying attention
to meaningful coincidence. Caylor, for example, could have disregarded
his dream and turned down the Denver job. But over time he had developed a
strong respect for what he considers signs from the Universe, both subtle
and unmistakable. He has learned that by paying attention to these signs,
he reaches new levels of comprehension about his inner life and his role
in the world.
"Synchronicity is lyrical—a little sprite of a
surprise, a little gift," he says. "It can get so big that everything can
start to talk to you; everything can suggest things. When you enter that
dimension, synchronicity becomes part of your self-definition."
Think of the times
synchronicity has happened in your life. It might be when you thought of
someone and the phone rang with that person on the other end. Maybe you
ran across someone from home in a faraway place when you were feeling
lonely, or the same number repeated itself at significant times, or
unlikely events dramatically converged to save you in a tight spot.
When you experience flow on a daily basis,
synchronicities such as these are as natural to you as breathing. Although
by its very nature, synchronicity cannot be created, controlled, or
planned, when you live a life of flow, you can practically depend on
synchronicity to show up.
Notice the words: it’s when you experience flow —
not if. That’s because the power of flow is absolutely attainable. To
experience it requires first of all that you choose to undertake that
process. Then you must develop the necessary skills, much as you do when
you learn to ride a bike: it takes focus to learn the basics and practice
to make it second nature — but once you know how to do it, you enjoy ease
and smoothness and elation. Flow is a lifelong process that is rich with
rewards all along the way, and this book shows you how to undertake it.
To understand how flow works, we interviewed
fifty "flowmasters" — people highly engaged in the process of flow. They
range in age from seventeen to ninety-six and include lawyers, dancers,
secretaries, students, foundation heads, middle managers, therapists,
professors, consultants, homemakers, teachers, activists, health
professionals, a minister, a rancher, an inventor. We spent absorbing
hours with them, delving into why their lives have purpose, inner ease and
joyfulness. We asked them about their turning points, their beliefs, their
daily practices. We explored why life works so well for them, and what
they do day to day to experience flow consciously and consistently.
The flowmasters did not have only one approach to
life. Some were feisty and engaged in changing the world; some were gentle
and relaxed; some had the exuberance of children; some had thoughtful,
deliberate ways. Looking back over our discussions, commonalities emerged.
The flowmasters were open; they stretched themselves to learn and grow;
they had deep integrity; they constantly felt steadfastly grateful; and
they were dedicated to living by their inner truths. Being with them made
us feel richer, and hours of engrossing conversation passed like minutes.
Valuable information came from two other sources as
well. In response to magazine and newspaper articles, hundreds of people
from all over the country filled out surveys on their experiences and
beliefs. And we organized nine focus groups involving 98 people across the
country who hashed through the topics, processes, and techniques we'd
learned from the flowmasters. The flowmaster interviews, surveys, and
group discussions were transcribed and sorted by subject matter into 241
categories. When printed out — a 12-hour process — the reports filled
nearly 1,600 pages.
Our conclusion from this
research process is that flow is the ultimate feedback machine. Flow
responds directly to our beliefs, behaviors, and actions. We can either
enhance this state of perfect timing and flawless serendipity, or we can
diminish it and even cut it off. When we become open, willing, trusting,
we experience flow as fulfillment and joy, and synchronicities pop up all
over the place. When we become fearful, doubting, controlling, flow
diminishes, our day is filled with blocks and frustrations, and
In this book, we have distilled the major beliefs,
attitudes and behaviors of the flowmasters into the nine attributes that
engage flow: commitment, honesty, courage, passion, immediacy, openness,
receptivity, positivity, and trust. We have offered fourteen practical
techniques for you to deepen those attributes in yourself; you’ll find
them in chapters 7 through 11. We based the techniques on established
psychological and communication theories, and people in the focus groups
tried them out in their lives. Their enthusiastic feedback assured us
that, yes, we all have it within ourselves to expand into meaning,
lightness, and serenity. We don’t have to be yogis chanting mantras in icy
Himalayan caves to live in this state of inner peace. Because
synchronicity is the key — and synchronicity occurs to absolutely
everyone, including you — we all have it within ourselves to live in flow.
In the first part of this book, you’ll see how flow
runs through everyone’s life. You’ll see the power it has to shape and
enrich your days. You’ll read how people have used synchronicity to put
themselves on the right path, ease the details of daily living, have a
good laugh, and answer pressing questions.
You’ll learn from the flowmasters what they do to
continually experience flow in their lives and what steps they take to
make it strong and steady. Among others, you’ll meet John Beal, a Vietnam
veteran who reclaimed his life by singlehandedly reviving a nearly dead
salmon stream and who has a knack for showing up at the exact time and
place that someone is dumping toxins into it. Lloyd Tupper, a minister who
sees himself as "just an oboe in the orchestra," has rised from financial
ruin to become an adviser in multinational merger talks. Carolyn North, a
dancer, organized a food bank delivery service that has relied for a
decade totally on synchronicity, on the right volunteers showing up at the
right time, day after day. These flowmasters have charted the course we
will follow on our journey.
Among the fourteen techniques, you’ll discover
tools to create changes in yourself to further your experience of flow and
thereby enhance synchronicity. You’ll discover how to be true to yourself.
You’ll determine your mission in life and your next step to fulfill it.
You’ll treat yourself gently and compassionately. You’ll enhance your
intuition so that you make better decisions. You’ll stretch yourself and
take risks. You’ll see how gratitude fills your days with overflowing
compassion and how generosity becomes your way of being.
As you take these steps, you will find yourself
moving into harmony, into oneness, into true aliveness. You’ll be living
life the way it is supposed to be: fun, light, purposeful, in concert with
the rhythms of life.
No matter where you are on your path, this approach
works. If you have been pursuing personal and spiritual growth for years,
this approach can provide you with feedback from the Universe that will
lead you to understand yourself even better. If you are just now turning
your attention to life’s deeper questions, it offers you an easy,
immediate means of access into the workings of your consciousness. If your
world is devoid of meaning, here’s a way to find significance in the
commonplace. A bird flying across your path, a book dropped at your feet,
a postcard arriving in the mail — all can improbably but definitively
connect you to deeper currents of existence.
You’re about to embark on a journey that will
transform your life. This book is your guide; synchronicity your compass;
flow your inevitable destination.
Order The Power of Flow