It has a name, that sensation where you are on fire, whether with creativity or logic, that state where everything is firing at once and you feel you are making huge strides in what it is you are working on achieving. Where you are extending your skills, applying all you have to complete something, even where there is no apparent reward. It is called ‘flow’. A state of harmony between all parts of the self where the ultimate gain from all areas is being produced; total absorption involving challenging the self and pushing ourselves to the limit of our ability that results in enjoyment. Such a delight, to have flow at any point in your given life or work week, such a state is highly desirous, pulling the sense of ultimate joy that we all at least once experienced in childhood, into our waking adult lives. It is possible to be a grown up and still have that wonderful sensation we experienced as children, to still have ‘play’ in our adult world. And, indeed it is actually more productive than almost any other state of being.
Reference: Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi / TED talk on Flow
Here are two illustrative examples from ballet, one is from before the curtain raises and two what it feels like once the audiences eyes are upon you… don’t get me wrong here, these are examples of experts in their field, but we ALL experience a sense of flow somewhere in our lives. It might be when we touch type without making mistakes, it might be playing our favourite social sport, online game, in our work, fixing something, when we solve puzzles… flow can be experienced anywhere. Reproducing a sense of flow everywhere we can in our adult world, like when we played freely as children, is the potential acheivement. Can you recall a time as a child, before any darkness touched you and even after, when you had that feeling within your the depth of the world of your play? That almost indescribable sense of belonging and wholeness? A place of knowing, something we all had at some point, regardless of the trauma we encountered. Later, play may have been an escape from pain so it is important to find a memory that was pleasurable but not escapist. If we can reclaim a sense of flow, even a tiny piece of it, then, we are whole, because we are real, because we are in comand of ourselves, even if only briefly. To smooth the edges of that sensation, to bring a sense of flow into all we do… would be to make heaven on earth.
Image courtesy of Allof-I