February 22, 2017

How I Found my Own Flow—in Life & Art.

A little over three years ago, I lost my job as a high school English teacher.

I felt like I had lost a part of my identity and I was really struggling to find a path for myself.

That year I started dabbling in hula hooping and spun fire for the first time. I hadn’t planned on lighting an enormous six-wick hoop on fire, but soon, there I was: surrounded by fire and praying I wouldn’t burn myself. I was hooked immediately; I couldn’t wait to spin fire again and learn more.

I soon discovered that I could find what is known as flow through hula hooping. I started off clumsy yet inspired by all the flow artists around me.

For my birthday, my new “flow friends” took me to a festival called Fire Drums. At Fire Drums, the best flow artists from around the world gather to teach and showcase their own form of flow.

During the day, we attended five to six different workshops and afterward, we would drill, drill and drill the new techniques we had learned. At night, the fire circle came alive with the premiere fire spinners from all parts of the globe.

There are spinners from every walk of life who can handle every prop imaginable: poi,  hoops, fans, and even fire umbrellas and whips. The beautiful concept behind the Fire Drums is that the festival is based on community volunteering—and it is a totally sober event. I made the best friends hauling firewood to the fire circle and bonding over our shared passion.

I was overwhelmed that yearbut at the same time, I was excited to keep working on finding my flow.

Flow has taken me amazing places in the past few years.

I’m humbled to have the honor to spin alongside such talented flow artists at places like Burning Man, major music festivals, and private events. Teaching flow through hooping has been the most rewarding experience, especially when I see people’s faces light up the moment they get their first trick down.

Just recently, I began running my own fire troupe here in Tahoe called Tahoe Fire Dancers, passed down from our wonderful “fire mama,” Andrea Creo. I feel honored to be part of the flow community.

As my journey of flow has progressed, I have become a happier, calmer, and more connected individual. I no longer experience panic attacks and when I feel shy, I go flow with my hula hoops.

I am never afraid to speak with my hoop and develop that relationship. I have found new tools to help me on my journey of the soul, including fans and, most recently, the dragon staff. Spinning has taught me to be completely present in my mind, body, and breath, much in the same way yoga has taught me to develop drishti, the art of single-pointed focus and awareness. Now my new point of focus is connecting yoga with my flow arts.

Many of us have experienced those rare moments where everything starts to flow easily and effortlessly. Maybe it has happened during one of those great yoga classes, running, or reading our favorite book.

Sometimes we can get so caught up in embracing our creativity that we become completely present and everything seems to happen naturally. Flow occurs when we are so concentrated on a single activity that we are able to tap into that state of unity and everything else melts away.

Clarity is the quality of coherence and lucidity. Moments of clarity are fleeting, while we are privy to what is known as the flow state. In this state, we become completely absorbed in one activity and nothing else matters except that awakened consciousness in that very moment.

We are filled with what seems like infinite energy and able to perform to our highest potential. My suggestion for finding your flow is, to search for a hobby that you look forward to doing. It can be anything from photography to writing to hiking! Find something you love to do and dive into it with reckless abandon.

To become completely lost in an art form is a blessing. Of course, we still will have moments where our heads get ahead of our hearts, but the flow is almost meditation.

Now is the time to let go of our feelings of inadequacy and let the magic of flow show us our true identity.

I’m grateful to the universe for showing me how much light and love can be possible. The light in me sees the light in you. May this poem be of benefit to many and help us find our own path:


Flow is our yoga. It unites us with the infinite.

Flow gives us a glimpse at our greatest potential.

When clarity flows, it unlocks a magic that we thought we lost as children.

When clarity flows, it rises likes the tides and envelops our state of consciousness until all that remains is a single lucid dream.

When clarity flows, it rushes like waterfalls into rivers, lakes, and infinite oceans.  

When clarity flows, it ebbs and glides like the murmuration of a flock of birds moving in unison as one infinitely connected soul.

When clarity finally flows, it transmutes the internal voice that tells us we aren’t worthy of greatness.

Now is the time to find our own flow.

Find something we love to do so much that we are completely absorbed in the moment.

For a moment, our ego is lost and all that remains is a purity, a oneness, a sense of connection so profound that all that is left is a feeling of unity with all living beings.

When clarity flows, we experience unconditional love.

When clarity flows, we get a glimpse of the divine.

When clarity flows, we are keenly aware.

When clarity flows, we awaken.

When clarity flows, we feel alive.

When clarity flows, we become one with the universe forgetting that we ever felt disconnected and unloved. 


Author: Claire Nightingale

Image: Kevin Levezu 

Editor: Sara Kärpänen

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