The Creative Soul Dialogues: Life surfing and affirmations



Travis Thomas of 30 Days of Yes and I are engaged in The Creative Soul Dialogues. I will be excerpting segments from time to time. Here is the first:

We’re talking the great divide I see in contemporary spiritual thought as it relates to desire. Do we flow with what is? Or do we consciously create what we want?

This morning I had breakfast with the irrepressible John Marshall. He’s the exuberant soul living in his camper on our property. We were there to talk Joe Dispenza of  ‘Create Your Day’ fame from the movie What The Bleep Do We Know?! The ever-joyful John Marshall had just read Dispenza’s book Evolve Your Brain for the second time . . . and I wanted to get his take on it.

Long after we’d dispensed with Dispenza (wordplay pathetically intended) we were talking about the power of writing. 

I related a story from my life where I discovered many years later that a goal I’d written down on a sheet of paper 20 times a day for some weeks . . . had come to pass. I’d forgotten about the original process by the time I’d achieved the goal. It was only finding the sheets of paper that reminded me.

I also told the magnificent John Marshall about Scott Adams and affirmations. In his recent book Adams, the creator of Dilbert, goes on at length about the extraordinary effects of affirmations, both written and spoken. 

Adams is emphatically a materialist. He is not a woo-woo thinker, and in fact takes great pains throughout his book to explain his points logically, scientifically. When it comes to his use of affirmations, however, he is forced to leave us open to the mystery of why affirmations work. 
In his case, he has used written and spoken affirmations at critical junctures in his life — including becoming a renowned cartoonist. 

I, Scott Adams, will be a famous cartoonist.

Though he can only partially explain the efficacy of affirmations as a focusing agent, he admits that circumstances far beyond his control also came together in fortuitous ways to make his affirmations come true.

That’s when the effervescent John Marshall broke in and exclaimed: “Yes! It’s all about focus and repetition! It’s true. It’s true.”

This was quickly followed by, “But what the hell am I focusing on?”

That’s when it struck me, the ever-infectious John Marshall is a life surfer

He surfs the waves of energy all around him. He groks the energy and is enthralled by it. His primary focus has been to live an independent flow-surfer lifestyle and he’s achieved it magnificently! He’s ever engaged by the surf and the churn and the backflows that he’s riding . . . .

In that same instant I was also struck by this insight: While John prefers surfing the great energy flow, others like me prefer sailing the flow. 

What I mean is flow sailors have destinations in mind

Flow surfers and flow sailors simply engage the great energy flow differently. Both — when attuned — experience the Flow in profound ways. 

Flow sailors tack back and forth, against headwinds even, to arrive at a far destination. Then they set a new target and sail forth in that direction. They love the sailing as much as the destination. The destination may even change en route, but flow sailors are immensely fulfilled when there is a destination calling them forward.

Flow surfers are ecstatically fulfilled riding the waves at their particular beach. The tides may bring them to other beaches — they may even hop rides to other shores but in general they are happiest when surfing the flow.

Great advancements are often brought about by flow sailors. Technology, conquering diseases, diplomacy, eco-sustainable living, conscious business, human rights advancement, inventions that benefit humankind — these are all engaged in by flow sailors. They have set their sails for destinations beyond.


Great insights are often had by flow surfers. Philosophically, spiritually, playfully.

In truth we are all a mix of flow surfers and flow sailors. Yet if I were forced to live a primarily flow surfing lifestyle — living only for the now — I’d be missing out on what I love so much in life — experiencing the Great Flow through destination traveling. 

For someone like the ever-happy John Marshall, to force him to always be sailing out far beyond the horizon would be a crime against nature, his nature. Every single person who encounters the John Marshall experience is enlivened because of his flow surfing ways.

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