At 7:45 a.m. Nikki will be at my house. I sit down at the computer to write. It's 7:05.
I have plenty of time, even though I'm still in my red flannel pajamas, and I haven't brushed my hair nor teeth.
At 7:44, my eye catches the digital clock at the top of my screen. EEEK!
I am completely bewildered as to how 40 minutes escaped my grasp.
I dash to throw on pants, shirt. I peer through the window--sure enough Nikki is waiting in the driveway.
At 7:47, I'm opening her car door.
There's no need to hide the truth from her. She'll just laugh.
"You were in the flow," she does laugh, because she totally respects the blissful state.
"Yes, the flow," I answer with respect to our topic.
The flow is magnificent.
It's the unmistakeable total engagement in a task. It happens to Nikki on a long run. It happens to both of us while immersed in a good book, or when I sit down to write in the early afternoon, and when I stand up, the sun has set. We forget hunger, the laundry, and that we are under the auspices of time.
The flow is the best place to be--ever.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi couldn't agree more. The psychologist is the author of Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, which introduces and analyzes the state of heightened focus and immersion in activities such as art, play and work, which Csikszentmihalyi coined as the flow.
This state is what helps us realize what makes a life worth living. The very things that joyfully possess our focus, are the things that make us happy.
I spot it in children immersed in a sandbox; I see it in students during writing time---and it's absolutely magical when the bell rings and they don't flinch or make a move--they're unmistakably in the flow.
The flow can be a communal effort- a discussion when questions are asked and the answers bring truth. It can be a brainstorming session when new ideas are groundbreaking. The flow can bring epiphany, and expressions of "Oh I get it," or "Ah ha."
When it does happen, it refuses the conformity of having been planned. Its origins are organic--it----just---happens. It's unmistakeable.
It's unmistakeable because the flow is magnificent, and very few things are magnificent.