Friday, 4 November 2011

Find your 'Flow'

This is my childhood encapsulated in a frame.  They are a selection of the 'crayola' crayon set I had which contained about fifty in total but these are the ones I have left.  I remember being so intrigued by the rather exotic (or they seemed exotic to my 8 year old self) sounding names such as 'raw sienna', 'midnight blue', 'periwinkle' and 'sepia'.  I loved the names of the colours as much as using the crayons themselves, which I did, probably every day until one day I remember crying because I had finally coloured in every colouring book and used up every piece of paper I owned.  'Lavender', 'magenta', 'aquamarine', and 'mulberry' were redundant until I could persuade my older sister to give me some of her paper.

I look at these fond souvenirs from my childhood and wonder why was it I loved to colour and draw so much?  I didn't know it at the time but when I was happily occupied with my crayons I was in a state of 'flow'.  This term I have found so intriguing since I first came across it some years ago.  It was coined by a psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (don't ask me to pronounce it).  I understand it to mean when one is in a state of  such concentration, when the world melts away, time doesn't exist, nor do any woes or thoughts.  There is just you absorbed in your chosen activity, completely connected to it.  This was me as a child with my crayons, as an adult I find 'Flow' when I read and write, I could do both all day long and not notice the time or how hungry I was.  University life was bliss for me.

For me 'Flow' could be seen as a spiritual experience or a meditation when one transcends our earthly cares.  It could also be seen, quite simply, as something which everyone should try to find so that they can have some peace and contentment in their lives.  So that the enjoyable task, whether it is baking, golf, singing, whatever, nourishes the soul and makes you feel more complete.  I know how I can achieve 'Flow' I only wish that everyone could and I already observe my daughters and encourage them to pursue their passions for that is how they will become truly happy and nourished, I'm not sure I can think of a better life lesson I could pass on to them.  Find your flow.

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