My personal and most memorable experience of accessing a state of FLOW was entirely unplanned. It occurred while snow skiing, finding a single focus, through repetitive, harmonious movement, carving left to right, left to right, like a snake down a slope. No resistance. Moving in fear, to move past it. (Fear is after all just our ego (false-self) trying to protect us).
It was Valentine’s Day 2002, I was on a ski trip in the Alps with a boyfriend, but we were in no way having the romantic experience that information might conjure up.
We were staying in the same ski resort in Austria I’d honeymooned at in my early twenties (it was disastrous as honeymoons go and a catalyst for our divorce just 6 months later). But it was here, where I had fallen in love with skiing.
Just a few weeks before this trip, I had chosen to abort a pregnancy. While making this choice very consciously, I was still recovering both physically and emotionally. I was not in love. Our relationship was already over. I still harboured unreconciled feelings for someone else back in South Africa. And on this day, the 14th of February — being the birthday of my childhood sweetheart and soul mate who had died in a car accident at the age of 23, while drinking and driving — to say that I was a walking, breathing emotional volcano, showing tangible signs of erupting, would not be an over dramatisation. The seismic activity in my system was real.
I left my chalet early in the morning, just wanting space, to escape the compounding complexities I had created in my life. At this stage — due to the gift of a near-death experience and awakening when falling out of a tree in a freak accident in 1999 — I was conscious of the fact that I was co-creating my experience. However, I was not aware of exactly how or how I could create something else to escape to. (Later, I would realize that my seeking escape was part of the problem I was perpetuating).
I wanted to be free of it ALL. I found myself at the highest point — accessible by cable car — at the top of the mountain, looking down a steep mogul field of white. I had skied past this ski run every day that week. It point-blank terrified me, I had no intention of attempting it. It was madness. Or so it had seemed, until this moment when it felt I had nothing left to lose, as I stood on its edge. It beckoned me.
It was not courage. It was defiance, that stubborn child that fell off her spirited horse every other week to just get back up. It was “fuck you fear, I will show you”.
I spent the day desiring nothing more than to immerse myself in the mastering of that single mogul field in Austria and to not let my fear of severe injury get the best of me. (I was skiing for the first time since my accident, in which I fractured my neck and severely broke both of my wrists). While focused fully on this one goal, I not only hit “the zone”, I quite unexpectedly hit a state of harmonious unity. I may as well have been the mountain just a few hours after feeling everything to the contrary. My entire person and existence dropped out, or dropped IN to be more accurate… And it was blissful. I was literally ONE with the natural rhythm of life it seemed. I don’t have many visceral words to use to communicate this experience, I have rarely spoken of it. I believed I would sound insane, sure, and sounding insane to others has been a long-time concern of mine, which led to a kind of further repression of my true self but mainly because I had no “known” words available to describe it accurately.
To explain it here; as I neared the end of a session that lasted hours, how many I cannot recall, but by the time I came back up the ski lift for the last time, everyone was already in après ski mode. I cannot tell you exactly how many times that day I came back to the top of this particular run, but I was relentless to master it. At the end of a final run which felt like pure rhythmic perfection, with ease and grace, I noticed tiny pinpricks of light everywhere. Literally everywhere, dancing, moving and clumping and flowing with no gravity. In and out of existence. I was so overcome by what I was feeling and seeing that I dropped to the snow and began crying, in awe and completely humbled. I laughed and laughed and cried again.
I later researched to better understand the physics and/or metaphysics behind it. I discovered through a more eastern philosophy, that in those hours I had been able to see air prana, said to be most often seen by psychics or those with very developed and open third eyes. This can be thought of as the vibration of sunlight; air energy. This air prana is also called life force, or chi/qi, the basic form of energy that pervades everything. It is just that most of us don’t see it often. According to my research, chi/qi can be affected by human thought and intent. We can change it, direct it and we can alter what it does.
I had seen prana before and used to practice seeing it; when you focus on a clear blue sky and squint your eyes on a sunny day, little floating light pricks will appear. But this was not the same experience, it was not only seen in a fleeting glimpse with the blue sky as a backdrop while I squinted and defocused my eyes. It was bouncing off my purple polar fleece. I saw it around my gloved hands, then my ungloved hands. It was floating all over everyone I saw…It danced around the trees! I got so overwhelmed and excited that people began to look at me, I asked them if they could see it too. Things got a bit weird at that point, but luckily most of the people I was trying to communicate with spoke another language and they just laughed and well, so did I.
I went up the chair lift for the final time that day, in a state of pure wonderment and joy.
Still seeing the pinpricks of light dancing everywhere and around people as they were going down the chair lift… I pointed, giggled and screamed with delight, I may as well have been five years old. I could not in that moment imagine that only I could see this phenomenon. And I kept waving my hands in the air as if to direct or harmonise with this symphony of light. I eventually joined the après ski rituals on the mountain, but I was on my own buzz and as they all sipped beers in the late afternoon sun, I watched the sparkles dancing around the outside of their glasses as they lifted them.
To best convey my own experience, I have tried to paint it, to capture its essence and perhaps for me to integrate it. I am still working toward an image on canvas that does, but interestingly, in doing so, it has led me to more experiences of entering this state of being, by surrendering to the moment with no mind, seeking nothing, allowing what comes.
However, I was just recently given a reference by a friend who I shared this with, that would best illustrate this. If you have already watched His Dark Materials, or read Philip Pullman’s; The Book of Dust / His Dark Materials trilogies, you may have already made that connection. Dust features in the multiverse written about in these trilogies and companion books. Dust or “Rusakov Particles” are elementary particles attracted to consciousness and humans are not able to see Dust with the naked eye.
“Dust came into being when living things became conscious of themselves…” The Amber Spyglass, Chapter 34
How we respond to life can shift and transform our authentic experience as we navigate it, by literally choosing a new state of being to step into.
Be here, now, more often, to create the life you choose…by following in flow, the breadcrumb trail to BLISS, taking inspired right action, motivated by the one thing that is right in front of YOU. Allowing others to act on the things to your side, or behind you as it lands in front of them…That’s how this unity thing works. All of the unique notes in FLOW... A grand symphony doth make!
To Be Continued...
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