The Flow

"In positive psychology, flow, also known as the zone, is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energised focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterised by complete absorption in what one does."

Throughout the years I met this expression many times in many forms. And it happens to me more and more frequently since I started drawing regularly again. As I wrote about it before, when I'm drawing, my perception of time changes in a very strange way. It's almost like I could stop it, because it passes by unnoticeably. 

My son is drawing a lot lately. I never forced him to draw, and he didn't even seem to like it in the beginning. I was a little bit sad (mostly because I didn't draw either), but I always thought he'd be good at something else. Then one day I noticed that drawing calms him down in a millisecond in the middle of a temper tantrum, when I asked him suddenly to draw me something specific. This was a last desperate try to calm him down in the morning, when I was supposed to get ready to work, and he was angry and upset because of something I couldn't figure out. I'd tried this before, but never with a specific thing. But this time I asked him to draw me an octopus if I remember correctly. "Could you draw me an octopus Aron? What do you think?" And he could. He stopped his tantrum, looked at me excitedly, ran for paper and pencils and showed me he could.

From that day drawing is our main tool to keep his feelings under control. And I realised that drawing is my main tool as well. Drawing makes me happy. As simple as it is. Only one other thing can clear my busy mind as well as drawing, and that's exercise, I thought. But then I thought about it a little more, and I knew, that every other thing I enjoy doing with hyper-focus makes me feel the same way. Cooking and baking (when I'm alone with that jazz list of mine in my ears), solving an interesting problem at work, learning how to do cross country skiing properly (this goes under exercising though). So I figured out, that the emphasis is on joy and focus. Then I remembered the flow experience I first heard about when I was in high school I think. Beautiful thing in the story is that it was named by a Hungarian man, Mihály Csíkszentmihályi.

The more I read about it, the more I'm fascinated with it. It's such a simple way to happiness. It proves that simplicity is a key to many things. And it's so wonderful to see things click together around and inside me, because it feels like the flow waves out of the person who experiences it, and resonates with others, spreading the feeling almost unconsciously in its environment. I'd like to be able to experience it every day, and also encourage my kids to find their passions and feel the flow as much as they can, so they seek it consciously later on.