We see the flow of life, like a river – as one great flowing journey. The essential flow of life is achieved when we understand the concept of flow and can integrate into everything we do.
As part of a regular series, we are asking people we know, people we have discovered and people we are inspired by, to share with us some insights into their life, their work and what flow means to them.
Tell us about yourself and what you do …
My name is Melinda Barlow and I am a freelance writer, editor and content strategist. I currently have a home base in Melbourne Australia but spend about 3 months of each year travelling and living elsewhere. I help people who don’t write professionally to communicate what they want to, in ways that make sense to them.
In some cases, I write for them and in others I play editor. They give me their ideas or desires to turn into stories, or they write freely from their heart and mind, without the restraints of worry about ‘good’ grammar or language to hold them back. I ‘make it shiny’ for them, so that what the reader sees in the end is clear and meaningful.
I also work with businesses to create simple plans that allow them to create connections with their community or audience and promote their services, ideas or philosophies. I love to write most about travel and the human experience.
Why do you do this profession?
I have always loved to write and been passionate about how we communicate. I have worked in a traditional ‘9 to 5’ office environment and I was never as productive as I knew I could be. I also never got to express myself creatively in the ways I needed to. I felt trapped on many levels.
I decided almost a decade ago that I needed more fluidity – what I now realise is flow – in my life. I wanted to have a fulfilling career that had creative aspects to it and that helped people. I also wanted to be self-sufficient and financially independent. The only way I could see that working was by creating my own job that gave me the flexibility to work from where I wanted, on the time frames that suited me.
So, the main reason I do this profession is because it provides the foundations for the lifestyle I want – to be self-motivated, to reap the rewards of hard work, to be able to use the hours in my week in authentic ways and to be able to live globally and connect to the broader experiences of people, rather than only living in my world view.
What does being in flow mean to you?
I have a personal mantra I have followed for many years. It is “every decision you make, determines what happens next”. It might seem obvious, but to me this is the essence of flow. From deciding to stay in, over going outside, deciding whether to live in Australia or Europe, or deciding whether to fight for something or let it go.
Flow to me is about understanding outcomes and consequences. If we can think through the outcomes of a decision and they seem manageable to us, then the decision comes more naturally. If we can connect our own wisdom about ourselves and what we think we can handle, to our decisions, then we can make those decisions more confidently and more freely.
Being in flow to me means interacting with the word in a tangible way. Making choices that I can consciously see will lead me to being somewhere new, learning something new, or giving something new to a situation. It’s a REALLY challenging way to live because it means not having the structures or routines that lots of other people have, or that society tells us we should have, which can be isolating.
But even the sense of isolation, of being different, of not doing what everyone else is doing and of regularly not meeting the personal expectations of others has taught me so much.
You can learn more about Melinda here on her website.
What does being in flow mean to you?