There have been times in my life when I have felt like I was in the zone. You know the feeling. It’s when everything seems to flow with ease and time has no meaning. The zone is always a fleeting place to be, yet great importance is placed on being there. It is associated with happiness and pleasure. When outside the zone, I seem to lose my perspective, my sense of where I am going. How is it possible to be so on in one moment of my life and so off the next? I used to feel uncomfortable during those “off” periods of time, afraid that I would never find my way again, but I have learned to trust that each moment has meaning, one is not better than the other.
One of my favorite quotes is from the poet Rainer Maria Rilke. It reminds me that being in a place of questioning has great meaning for my life. It goes as follows:
“…so before all beginning, and I want to beg you, as much as I can, dear sir, to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves liked locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
– From Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke
Being in the zone is about being in a place of connection with your true self, your inner spirit. When you are there, you become connected with everything around you. There is no wondering about how things will work out, you know they will. There is no distress, only trust and knowing. You see things clear to the end, as if they have already happened. Everything falls into line, and the work that needs to be done just happens. It’s easy to like being in this place, but it is only a piece of the puzzle.
There’s no denying that being in that place of serendipity feels good. It’s easy to be happy with the world when you’re there. But what about the other times? What do we do when life throws us a curve? A tool I use to help me through each situation is to stop labeling things as good or bad. When a label is placed on a situation, it creates the illusion that something is not as it should be. This experience is described in A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle, “Thinking isolates a situation or event and calls it good or bad, as if it had a separate existence. Through excessive reliance on thinking, reality becomes fragmented. This fragmentation is an illusion, but it seems very real while you are trapped in it. And yet the universe is an indivisible whole in which all things are interconnected, in which nothing exists in isolation.”
How can we learn to treat each moment equally, without judgment? For me, it is about living each moment the best I can by taking care of myself and listening. I listen to what feels right in each moment. I listen to my inner voice. If there is something I need, I give it to myself. I listen to messages coming from other people and other situations. Many times I’ve learned something from just paying attention to my surroundings. Awareness is the key to learning.
I won’t deny that being in the zone is hard not to label as good, but I will endeavor to keep it in perspective when it arrives. Each moment is the only moment I have. Each moment is part of the whole. None is more important than the other. I am, once again, reminded of a quote from Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings, “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.” It is about taking each moment as it comes and bringing our best into it.
I’d love to hear your stories of being in (and out) of the zone. Tell me what you’ve learned from being in each of them. How has labeling them affected your feelings? Would things feel different without the labels? We all have something to learn from each moment in our lives. Remove the labels and love them all.
Yours in transformation,