The flow state is a term from positive Psychology originally studied by Csikszentmihalyi and widely used these days. It is actually a very simple concept that means being 'in the zone', 'tuned in', fully present, whichever term you prefer to describe being here and now, enjoying something so much you get fully absorbed in it. It is commonly known between artists, writers, dancers and yogis.
On trying so hard to discover myself, I ended up losing who I was. Life was not that good.
It was the year of 2016 in London and I had a prosperous career ahead of myself. I was working as a creative strategist for an independent agency in East London, crafting strategies for Lurpak on a local and global level and helping to shape the internal culture of the company, working directly with the CEO on a brand evolution project. In the same month, I was awarded employer of the month, getting my so coveted Shoreditch House membership -yay. Back then, I already had a daily yoga practise, enough money to buy posh coffee every morning, and I lived relatively close to the office, cycling every day. I was also in a long term relationship and had a stable group of friends. Life was good.
At the same time, I started to add one sleepless night to the other, regular back pain and extreme anxiety episodes that would build up during the day. There was this one time I was walking along Kingsland Road and a friend bumped into me. I didn't recognise her, as I was so overwhelmed by my workday I couldn't even breathe. That was day one after a month in Rishikesh, India, where I've trained to be a Yoga and Meditation teacher. Long story short, it was what I think now is a panic attack - even though it was never diagnosed. Like a good millennial myself, I kept going, not allowing myself to pause. Till I was burnet out.
We are now in 2017, Lisbon. I am back to my hometown after nearly 8 years living abroad, a break-up and a failed sabbatical in India and Sri Lanka, where sipping coconuts under palm trees were replaced by 14+hours workdays learning and teaching Yoga in one of those overpriced-paradise-schools-that-will-make-you-discover-who-you-really-are. I was then heartbroken, living from my savings and had lost enough kilos for people to think I was anorectic. I've never felt that lonely and lost. On trying so hard to discover myself, I ended up losing who I was. Life was not that good.
Still, I kept my daily Yoga practise and started to share my journey on Instagram, posting my green vegan smoothies with homemade gluten-free granola, the progress of my poses that would become more circus-like daily and, of course, my thoughts. Actually, that was what made my page unique: my raw writing, with not so many filters. Even though it was not a very glamorous page, I've started to grow my followers base organically and I saw it as an opportunity to create my own brand.
Even though I had cut nearly all the connections with 'my past life', since I know myself that I love brands and pop art, hence I knew I would go back to it at some point. One morning, after a self-practise, the name finally came up: Pause and Flow. 'It is perfect', I thought.
The flow state is a term from positive Psychology originally studied by Csikszentmihalyi and widely used these days. It is actually a very simple concept that means being 'in the zone', 'tuned in', fully present, whichever term you prefer to describe being here and now, enjoying something so much you get fully absorbed in it. It is commonly known between artists, writers, dancers and yogis. Ultimately, all of us. Think of reading a book, trimming the plants, kissing your lover, watching the sunset. You know, those moments that fly by, you don't even know how much time you've spent there.
This is a beautiful state. However, like all beauty, it is not a continuous thing, we're not always there. The flow is actually the perfect balance between effort and ease, engagement and letting go, leading and being led by life. On the other hand, we have the Pause, the word of the day at the Corona era. Now that we're locked-down in our homes, whatever that means to us, we were all forced to pause. Our works, our relationships, our dreams, our plans.
However, a pause is a pause. Like the flow state, it is not permanent, and life keeps going and doing her magic. Also, we need one to get to the other. This was actually what I've felt when this name came to my mind, after that yoga self-practice where I was clearly pushing myself too hard. Funny how this name was never this relevant: Pause and Flow. You can read it everywhere. Taking regular breaks, like what we do with technology, allows us to recharge and re-set, both physical and mentally. The same is happening on a collective level when the whole world is forced to pause, recalibrate and reinvent itself.
Looking back, the 'losing it all' was a much-needed process to get to where I am today. I now own Pause and Flow, which aims to bring more wellbeing to real beings -meaning all of us in a real-life context, both curating events and talks and delivering mindful brand consultancy for brands that want to be more purposeful. As purpose starts within. This is why I keep a positive mindset during these rough times. I feel we are all planting important seeds now. We simply need to be patient for them to blossom and see what comes out.
What comes next. I am not sure yet, but I am sure it will be epic.
In the meantime, if things get a bit cloudy for your brand or business, please do not hesitate on contacting me. In the era of online collaboration, supporting each other was never this real.