Writing From the Body: Find Your Flow Sate
Thank you so much for coming to Writing From the Body: Find Your Flow State. I hope you found the approach helpful. As promised, here is a short course you can use to consolidate the ideas we covered and develop them further.
Send me an email to let me know how the mini-course went for you and if you have any questions.
Find Your Poised Center
The core of the practice is bringing yourself to a place of relaxed alertness from which creative inspiration can flow, what I think of as your poised center. There are four simple steps to bringing yourself to that state:
- Find Comfort
- Balance Your Awareness
- Listen Deeply
- Return to Center
In this workshop we focused on the second and third steps: balancing your awareness and listening deeply. These were the three key skills we explored as foundations for these steps:
- Reverie: letting your mind wander both as a way to rest and recharge your mind, and as a way to disconnect from reductive analytical thinking and embrace wholistic creative thinking.
- Expanding Awareness: using your field of awareness as a way to calm your mind and access creative thinking.
- Holding the Work: holding the subject of your writing in your mind to savor it so that your non-conscious, creative faculties can explore it.
In the practices that follow, you will have the opportunity to explore the ideas and incorporate what works into your writing practice.
Begin By Relaxing
I recommend doing the opening meditations lying down somewhere comfortable where you feel safe. If lying down isn’t possible, be sure to sit in a comfortable chair or couch where you can let your body go. Physical relaxation is a powerful way to free up your creative self.
Each practice includes a meditation and a writing prompt. Take each meditation for as long as you like. I recommend at least five minutes to let your body start the process of relaxing, but you could take fifteen to twenty minutes or more if that feels good to you.
Practice 1: Disconnect and Recharge
In this first practice you will explore letting your mind wander without settling on any point of focus.
Before you settle, spend a few minutes checking in with yourself and noting down how you feel:
- Physically: where are you relaxed, where are you tight or held?
- Energetically: are you energized, calm, or fatigued?
- Mentally: are you alert, focused, scattered, sleepy?
- Emotionally: what underlying emotions are you feeling?
In your relaxation position guide yourself through the following steps:
- Close your eyes and turn your attention to the sensations of your body as a way of disconnecting from the world around you. The sensation of weight can be a good place to start.
- Notice the movement of your breath. Let that movement be soft and easy. Watch the flow of air in and out and the expansion and release of your body as you breathe.
- With the sensations of your body and breath as a background, let your mind wander. Let whatever impressions emerge from your subconscious flow through you. Observe them and discard them without attachment.
- Remain like this for several minutes before opening your eyes and sitting up to write.
Take a moment to quickly jot down, as you did before, how you feel after your moment of quiet.
What came up for you as your mind wandered? You could describe the images or the experience as a whole. If one of the impressions caught your interest, write about that.
Practice 2: Reverie
In this practice you will allow your wandering mind to have a seed of inspiration.
Once again, take a brief assessment of how you feel. It need be no more than a quick general impression, just enough to give you a baseline.
Below are three pictures. Choose one as the focus of your reverie. Spend a few moment familiarizing yourself with it. Click on an image to enlarge it.
- Settle yourself in your comfortable relaxation position and give yourself a few moments to connect to the sensations of your body as you did in Practice 1.
- Think about the image you chose and let your mind wander around it to add detail and meaning to the picture.
At the end of your reverie, check in with yourself and notice how you feel as a result of the practice.
Write about the impressions you came up with.
Practice 3: Expand Your Awareness
By expanding your awareness as described in the practice you are effectively changing the way think, shifting from detailed and analytical thinking to inclusive and creative thinking, the perfect frame of mind for writing.
Start with a brief assessment of how you feel, then settle into your relaxation position with your eyes closed.
- Connect to the sensations of your body and the movement of your breath. Stay with this awareness for several minutes to give your mind and body an opportunity to relax and reset.
- With your eyes closed, open your awareness to include the room around you. What do your skin, your hearing, and your sense of space tell you?
- Gently open your eyes and notice what this does to your sense of self.
- Remain here for several minutes letting your awareness flow between your sense of yourself and of the room around you. Let neither you nor your environment have more importance.
Spend a moment checking in once again with how you feel.
The things you miss when you only look up close.
Practice 4: The Use of Your Eyes
Our visual sense is our most dominant. Using your eyes in this way will help you connect to wholistic. creative thinking while also helping you be alert and focused.
Take a brief assessment of how you feel.
In your relaxation position:
- With your eyes closed, spend a minute or two settling into the sensations of your body.
- With your eyes still closed, open your attention to include the room around you.
- Gently open your eyes.
- Let the muscles around your eyes soften, let your eyes move around freely, and let yourself blink as needed.
- Soften your gaze so that you are as aware of the periphery of your vision as what is directly in front of you.
- After a minute or two of using your eyes this way, gently begin to constrain their movement, first by confining it to straight in front of you and above in your field of vision. This will help keep you alert.
- Let your eyes only move around within a small frame, not going to far to either side. This will help your mind focus.
- Remain like this for a minute or two.
At the end of your meditation period, check in and notice how you feel.
A detective observes a crime scene and mentally assembles the clues to understand what happened.
Practice 5: Hold the Work
This practice brings together the different techniques you have explored above to create the optimal conditions that will allow ideas to flow.
Before you begin, choose what you will work on. You may use one of the prompts given above or something else.
Take a brief assessment of how you feel.
- Spend time connecting to the sensations of your body.
- When you’re ready, open your eyes and expand your awareness to include yourself and the room around you.
- Let your gaze be soft and your eyes move freely in the upper half of your field of vision and within a narrow frame as you include an awareness of your peripheral vision.
- Think about what you have chosen as your subject. Hold it in your mind as another sphere of awareness that is as important as your awareness of yourself and your environment, but allow your attention to flow freely between each sphere.
- Let your mind wander for a few minutes around the subject you’ve chosen. Notice if you find yourself focusing in on the words you might write. If you do, let that go and stay with the meditation.
After a few minutes of holding the work in this way, check in with how you feel.
Write about your chosen subject. As you write, maintain a peripheral awareness of yourself and your environment to support your mind’s ability to access creative thought.
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