BY KELLEY WOLF
You may think, “I have heard this all before,” and you have. The information in this book is some of the oldest advice on earth, if we choose love over fear, we can live more joyfully, but you’ve never heard it like this.
About The Book
You can read this book in an afternoon with a cup of tea and then use it to keep your teacup from leaving a ring on your table. Actually, that may be a perfect metaphor for FLOW—Finding Love Over Worry. What if you could do a few simple things so the worry of life doesn’t leave a mark?
Kelley Wolf had a stack of beloved, life-changing books on her side table, but found herself weighed down by the size and scope of their to-do lists. She craved something simpler, more accessible … A recipe for feeling more flow in her life.
She created the easy-to-follow FLOW technique after a decade of working with her individual and corporate coaching clients. In the process, she used FLOW to survive postpartum depression and to ease her own chronic health crisis and the worry of everyday life.
With tools like the 3M’s and The Circles of Service—and maybe even a perfect cookie recipe—you will quickly see how easily you can move into a life of FLOW.
This is a life recipe
Throw in a little bit of this and a little bit of that and watch your life shift. Have you ever made a cookie recipe? It is a pile of random individual ingredients until you mix them together and something magical happens.
FLOW will guide you on your path to inner peace
The FLOW practice uses simple, doable techniques like the 3 M’s and the Circles of Service, to shift your mindset until one day…flow.
The definition of worry is: give way to anxiety or unease; allow one's mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles
Did you read that? “Give way”…YOU have a choice in the matter. Worry is a thought pattern that is rooted in a choice. You can choose not to worry. I know…just read the book.
We know you have heard these before and for some reason they go in one ear and out the other
FLOW will keep them inside your ears where they belong. In FLOW you learn, your brain is plastic and by repeating this simple recipe, you will shift everything in your life.
As individuals it is our duty to offer love
As a collective, living in love, we chan shift the future of our world. If more of us choose to FLOW, if more of us choose to love, we can impact the world around us and do our part to leave this planet better than we found it.
The world feels more unsettled than ever, that may or may not be true but we are all feeling disconnected
FLOW offers advice to challenge the divisiveness in our world and get us back to a place of peace.
This book has actual recipes
You heard that right. And if you don’t cook or you hate to cook, skip them. They are only here as a reminder. Do you know what sweeps you off your feet and into flow? Is it cooking, hiking, reading or writing? FLOW will help get you back to your passions.
Worry is the thief of all joy
Not trauma, not suffering, but worry. Worry is when we get trapped on a loop thought based on a negative outcome. Nope. Not anymore.
The Flow Foundation: The 3M’s
No house will stand for long without a strong foundation built on stable land. Yet when buying or building a home, most of us want to leave the foundation to others and get straight to picking out the new lighting fixtures.
I get it! Lighting and throw cushions are way more fun than concrete.
However, when our aim is building a peaceful life, we must prioritize lasting change, with real power behind it. We want to be the house on the hill, not the mansion on a sinking swamp.
Before we get into the four pillars of FLOW, we must first es¬tablish our foundation, which I call the 3M’s.
Munch, Move and Meditate.
You will be tempted to skip ahead. Don’t. The reason so many of us shortchange ourselves is because this stuff seems obvious. We know we need to do it, and we will. If we have time.
Does this sound familiar?
Yet unless you are nourished, have felt your bones move under your skin today, and have a way to separate yourself from your thoughts, it can be almost impossible to reach a state of flow.
We get cranky, right? We snap and undermine the trust in our relationships by lashing out.
In Alcoholics Anonymous, there is a maxim known as HALT: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. People in recovery are taught that their sobriety depends on checking themselves for these states whenever they feel the intolerable discontent that can otherwise lead them back to drinking. Once these unmet needs are identified, the cure is usually simple. Feed yourself nourishing food. Allow yourself to feel your anger and ask it what it is trying to tell you about what you need to change in your life or what you value most. Check in with a friend, even if it is just a single text. If you’re tired, have a nap. If you can’t, give yourself a break—you cannot fix the world or yourself right now, but you can make it to bedtime.
In other words, these needs are basic, but they are also the foundation on which everything else rests. Making time to take care of them (and you) each day will make your life immeasur-ably better.
I am going to assume you are a human. Yes? Then there are a few things you need to survive. One of those things is food. I
know, isn’t this blowing your mind?
The truth is, so many people suffer through a big part of their day feeling frustrated and short-fused before they remember they haven’t eaten. Then they grab whatever is nearest and easiest, which can make us feel even worse.
It is a cycle we must confront if we are to have FLOW become your default.
Let me put it this way. If you have not eaten and your partner leaves their shoes in the hallway and you trip on them, you will have a harder time Finding Love in your heart.
Eat. That is paramount.
A little while ago, one of my best friends accidentally put die¬sel fuel into her standard fuel car. She had to have a tow truck come to the gas station. A few weeks later, she was told the car may never work again. That was a big and very unfortunate snafu.
Our bodies are more adaptable, which is why we often treat them so carelessly. But if we want to live well, to live in flow, we need good fuel. And we need it before the tank is empty. We can¬not expect to operate at our fullest potential if we put junky fuel into our Maserati body or try to run on empty.
Each meal and snack is another opportunity to give yourself love. In fact, let me offer you a challenge: The next time you eat, sit down. Take the time to taste your food, give thanks and savor the gift of nourishment. The whole universe is conspiring to keep you alive and healthy, and it only needs your cooperation.
Thank you for this meal. Thank you to the seed, the water and the sun. Thank you to the farmer, the driver and the store for bringing it to my table. Thank you for this body to receive and enjoy such beautiful nourishment.
This might sound almost religious, but it doesn’t have to be. You can thank whatever and whoever you want. The goal is to return to a state of gratitude and remember that eating is a divine, sacred communion with the rest of the universe.
I must come clean about something. I am not a workout person. For many years, I even thought I didn’t sweat because I didn’t push hard enough to get to the sweating stage.
I was on the track team for a brief moment in high school, and if my competitor really wanted to win or their family was in the stands, I was happy to let them roll on by. I have very little com¬petitive spirit around fitness-related endeavors.
A friend once told me she looks for someone she can “beat” to ride next to when she goes to a spin class because it motivates her. I am more inclined to want to out-bake you, but that is for another day.
We all have different ways to get our bodies moving, and mine has never been about competition or weight loss. My motivation came the hard way—through a devastating medical diagnosis.
Before I go into the diagnosis, I want to say that I believe the diagnosis, but not the prognosis. Remember this as we walk together: no one knows you better than you. When you listen, your body will talk to you. Your spirit will talk to you. As much as I would love to eavesdrop, you and only you will know your truths. This applies when we are diagnosed with any ailment.
Believe the diagnosis but trust yourself, in communion with your medical advisors, when it comes to the prognosis.
I was diagnosed with something called Ehlers Danlos Syn¬drome, or EDS. It is a hyper-mobility disorder that presents in joint dislocations, hyper-flexibility and chronic pain. You are welcome to research more about it on your own, but for our purposes, I will just tell you that living in chronic pain is as devastating as you might imagine.
I went through all the stages of grief.
When you are told you may not be able to walk later in your life and that you will have to rely on a revolving door of doctors and interventions just to pick up your kids, it can take you out at the knees. I was terrified. Heartbroken. I felt defeated.
After I processed my feelings, I began to commit to small amounts of movement each day. I had once been strong and ac¬tive, and I knew I could find my way back.
The most I could do some days was raise one hand at a time, up and down on the bed. Other days, I could walk around the block. I slowly added distance, being careful not to push my body to a breaking point. (Or, in my case, a bending point.) I had to learn to ask my friends to slow down for me. Mostly, they were kind and willing, but I often walked alone.
Ah, the poetry in that.
Over time, I have come to crave my solitary morning walk. I don’t feel whole without it. And the beauty of a morning walk is that I can do it almost anywhere.
Most days, I drag myself to the trail. Typically, the pain is toughest in the morning and I am far from peppy. Yet once I begin walking, my body responds and shows up with the energy I need to make the trek. I rely on habit to get me going; eventual¬ly my body picks up the call and carries me through.
It is not always easy. People are often shocked when I tell them how my body feels on the inside. My daily movement is a lifeline. You may not feel this level of intensity around movement, but we all need to move. Movement heals.
Humans are more sedentary than ever before, and not coinci¬dentally, we report more physical and emotional pain than at any time in history. There is a proven correlation between our lack of movement and our lack of joy.
I know I can feel my thoughts shift when I move. Stress is lowered. Love is heightened.
If you want more flow in your life, commit to movement each day. Notice how you feel before and after, even if you start by just lifting your arms off your bed as I did.
Over time, you may wish to increase the time you devote to this practice but give yourself permission to start small. If you told me when I started that I would hike mountains every single day without struggle, I would have laughed.
I am proof of the power of putting one foot in from of the other and—starting.
I know. If someone suggests you try meditation just one more time!
I hear you.
Before you move on, though, we should probably both admit that we know that meditation comes highly recommended be¬cause it makes life better for almost everyone who does it. Even more importantly, I am here to tell you that you do not have to find time you don’t have, sit on the floor and torture yourself. Incorporating meditation into your life can be easy and conve-nient.
Yes, I said it, and I’m about to prove it.
When my oldest son was six months old, I decided to train in transcendental meditation. The cornerstones of TM are meditat¬ing twice a day for twenty minutes, using a mantra given to you by your teacher.
Nothing felt harder.
I argued with my teacher about the difficulty of doing this with an infant. I felt my alone time was the most precious asset I had and should be spent watching TV, of course.
His only response was, “I have five kids.”
I finished the course and came to a place where I appreciated the benefits of TM’s approach. However, I have made some adap¬tations over the years. I now have three kids, two dogs, a podcast and a thriving career. The little alone time I had back then has become non-existent.
I could recommend waking up early, staying up late or just doing the practice while chaos happens around you, but those methods didn’t work for me.
What worked for me was what I started calling “Wash the Face.”
I named tasks I was doing as I was doing them: Wash the dishes, pack the lunches, walk the dogs.
When I repeated the description of the task I was doing in my head, my mind wandered into Clutterville less. It became a form of mindfulness meditation.
Once I mastered the “wash the face” method of meditation, I started integrating repetition of my TM mantra into moments throughout my day. If I could grab two minutes to sit, I would take them, repeating my mantra and taking deep breaths. If I add up all the times I now do this in a day, it often equals the forty minutes that conventional TM protocol requires. But unlike the TM protocol, it’s possible to do even in a life that’s already beau¬tifully full.
Meditation doesn’t have to be complicated. We may need to re-brand it as Quiet Time or Sitting Time. The goal is just to qui¬et your mind, to prevent being captured by looped thoughts or tripping over mental clutter. Remember, the benefits start as soon as you see your thoughts as separate from yourself. All you really must do is practice managing your attention for a few minutes today and then again tomorrow. And then the day after that. You can’t do this wrong if you do it.
For me, it is a bit like having a sink full of dirty pots and pans. I can leave it like that, but I feel so much better when I take a few minutes to wash them.
The same goes for our minds. Cleaning out the clutter does not mean more clutter won’t come. It means you get in a rhythm, taking care of your mind just as you take care of your kitchen.
And that means more room to breathe—more room to flow.
NUT BUTTER BALLS RECIPE
I chose this recipe for this chapter because I keep these in my fridge all the time. When I am in a hurry, when I have forgotten to eat, when I need a little pick-me-up, these are the perfect remedy.
You could do the “wash the hair” meditation while you make this … scoop the peanut butter, turn on the mixer. Or you can just make them! That is an option too. Enjoy!
- 1 cup oats
- 2/3 cup shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup nut butter of your choice (I love peanut butter)
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries (or any dried fruit)
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (or other seeds)
- Chocolate chips (optional)
Mix all ingredients together using a high-speed blender if you have one, or your hands if you don’t. Add or subtract ingredients to your taste.
Roll into balls and keep in the fridge for easy grab-and-go nourishment.
"Kelley has helped guide me through several "love vs. worry" moments, and damn is she GOOD! She does it effortlessly, with the forcefield of the love ninja she is. This book is a treasure map to a happier, more fulfilling life. I know this from my own experience— it works!"
Libby Moore, Executive Coach, Speaker and former Chief of Staff to Oprah Winfrey
I always wondered if Kelley married me for my last name—now I know for sure! FLOW is WOLF spelled backwards.
Scott Wolf, Husband, Father, Golden Globe-winning actor
Kelley’s work is heart-centered and deep down in there. Kelley has ways of framing questions or teachings to me that allow me to arrive at my own wisdom when I am ready. She is the embodiment of her own motto: flow. She is kind, funny, soulful, and above all else deeply intuitive.
Jill Zimmerman, Grief Coach
About the author.
Kelley Wolf is a certified life coach who holds a degree in Clinical Psychology from Westminster College. She has had a thriving private practice for over a decade and worked with hundreds of individuals and companies to challenge thoughts and use FLOW to change the patterns of their behavior.
She is an avid traveler and has lived around the globe. She began her career in television and continues to work for major outlets like Viacom CBS and Paramount Plus. Kelley grew up in the beautiful hills of Northwest Arkansas and has moved more than twenty times. She currently resides in Vancouver, British Columbia, with her husband and three kids, where she is committed to munching, moving, and meditating each day.
When cooking, we use a recipe to get the outcome we are hoping for. We throw out what doesn’t work and we repeat what does. As we get more comfortable with our skill, we learn to trust our instincts and add a dash of this or a dash of that. The same is true in life. There are recipes for peace and FLOW is one of them.
I hope this is the recipe with all the stains on the pages because it means you have fallen in love the same way I have. It also means you are in on the joke, once we understand that love is the answer, we can relax, we can laugh, we can learn to let go and let FLOW. Enjoy this book and really, try the lemon bars.