Letting go is often simply an acceptance of what is. We often often struggle with the realities around us and choose to hold on to illusions, emotions, and perspectives in the belief that they keep us safe, comforted, and in control. The story above shows how the minds resistance can be strong when faced with unwanted fears. As soon as my father accepted the reality that the ball would land where it would land, and that the judgement of failure embedded in his head that had served him handsomely for a time was no longer necessary, he let go. When he hit the ball with no judgement of the outcome, he was released from his resistance and was in flow with what was simply happening. often the hardest things to let go of are the things that have served us well over the years, but as we all know, life moves on and what was needed in the past is not always needed in the now.
Our resistance to change, the new, and accepting what is, is ever present in the conscious mind. The conscious mind often seeks an illusion of control, and embeds itself in the form of the ego. So the process of letting go is often an act of rebellion against the ego. As we dispel the myth of control the ego looses power and sinks its claws in deeper to keep existence. The more we become present, accepting and living in the now, the more the ego and conscious mind seize to exist and alter our behaviour. As we choose to embrace the moment and not our consciously decoded perceptions of what we experience, the closer we become to being in flow. So to let go it to let flow.
As performers we face this challenge at every corner. Do we hold on to the mistake we just made and beat ourselves up? What do we do with the doubt we feel when are performance is below par? How do we focus on our performance in the middle of a personal crisis? The list is never ending. It is never ending because the act of performance itself forces us to let go, which ignites these struggles and resistance of the conscious mind. If the challenge inherent within the performance is equal to or above our skill level, then we need to be in a performance state of flow to some degree to successfully complete the performance task. In order to be in flow, we need to let go. So it is only natural that these situations where we struggle to let go, pop up continuously. What is important is how we deal with them. We can choose to cling on to our minds predicaments, creating a spiralling conflict within, or we can choose to accept what is and let go, let flow.
This process happens with surface conflicts and deep routed conflicts. Throughout life we pick up behaviours, conflicts, and even beliefs that do not serve our purpose to being in flow. Although they seem harder and more ingrained, the process of letting go is the same. As performers we can reach moments of flow even with great internal conflict existing beneath the surface, however flow cannot survive where there are blocks of resistance and conflict. The more conflict there is inside, the higher the chance our flow will be iinterrupted As Eminem put it, sometimes we have no 'clean out the closet' to set ourselves free. If freedom and congruency allow our flow to flourish, then surely the cleaner our closet is the higher our chances are for sustained periods of flow.
For more info please get in touch or purchase our book on flow.