In the flow 24-7

A week or so ago, I found a series of podcasts over on Prince Songs that had me spellbound. Zach Hoskins (who runs the PrinceSongs site) and the amazing writer Jane Clare Jones spent hours discussing the meaning behind the man, music and more. All told, it’s about six hours of conversation broken into four separate podcasts. I know more than a few of you are die-hard fans so if you’re into a fascinating discussion by two fans who knew him well, this is for you.

What really jumped out at me, though, is their discussion about flow.

You know that creative space we chase after where whatever brings you alive just seems to appear and you jump into the pool? Books write themselves, pictures appear and it all just comes together as if by magic. It’s elusive, that’s for sure.

Hoskins and Jones make the case that Prince lived in flow 24/7 and I can’t see any fault with their thesis. This was why, they said, time had little relevance to him. (Ever been in the flow and completely lost track of time?) He didn’t completely get why others had to take breaks to, you know, have a normal life. Music and performing consumed his every waking moment.

Thing is, though, living in the flow 24/7 makes it really difficult to live a ‘normal’ life. When music and inspiration is pouring through you, why waste it cleaning the cat box? 

And when flow is all you know, when real life is beating you down (like, maybe, losing your child 5 days after his birth), there’s no space to process and heal. All he knew was to sublimate his pain into music and performing. It’s what he had done his whole life.

It’s why he is considered one of the greatest songwriter/musicians of all time. It’s why he has an entire vault of music, movies, screenplays and much more that have never seen the light of day.  He just downloaded what it was, brought it into form, shelved it and kept moving.

I pondered all this for a while and it put into perspective how important the ebb and flow is in a life. The ebb is there to sweeten the flow. All flow, all the time creates no space to integrate the lessons and change course, if needed.

Hoskins and Jones point out (correctly and with some sadness) that this is what truly led to his early transition from the physical. When he found himself in an untenable position with pain meds, he knew of no other way than to sublimate it through music and work. He had not gained the skills to allow him to be vulnerable and ask for help. He was too caught in the flow as his only way to be.

Let me share with you his comment about this:

“I chose to live this way, in the flow at all times, to see what that was like. To see what I could create at my very peak. I did sacrifice many things to do that, as you can look at my life and clearly see. Yet, this was my choice. Had I chosen any other way, it would have been so. Your lesson from this? Lisa would like you to take away the importance of balance (she IS a Libra, after all!) and I won’t disagree.

But I also want to add in that all of this was by design and choice. Your life is the same – design and choice.  But none of that is set in stone and you can make a different choice at any time. As I could have. As I did not. What I did served me and my intention for this lifetime. I’ll ask you: is what you are doing serving yours? If you don’t know what your intentions are for this lifetime, look around you. What do you see? There’s your answer. Do you like it? If not, make a different choice.”

Jane Clare Jones wrote this stunning piece called “Water Baby: A Eulogy for our Departed Prince” – I read it right after he passed away and was stunned by how she pulled so many pieces together. I am pretty much in love with her, just sayin’.

If you enjoy podcasts, I highly, highly recommend this one. (All of them can be found at this link – start from the beginning. You’ll be glad you did.)