While flow at times might feel like some rare magical occurrence we can actually craft both an internal and external work environment that connects more effortlessly to it. I have some observations from my own experiences in the studio, on the court or wherever you might be where focus comes into play. We are flow beings. We have approximately 100,000 miles of veins, arteries and capillaries that run through our bodies. That is about two and a half times around the equator. The purpose of this extensive system is flow, blood to be exact. We exist on flow so we have a natural propensity for it unconsciously.
In my view we are always in flow. Flow exists in degrees and we can be resisting flow or cooperating with it. This is where an internal environment matters. Am I in a state of worry? Am I overthinking? Am I fixated on some problem that focuses all of my attention in a futile manner? These and other things like it resist flow. I mentioned in an earlier blog that I don’t ignore these feelings and issues but what I do to begin the work day is empty myself from them as best I can. I developed ways of just going empty. Meditation, exercise, a walk, cleaning your brushes; many things can trigger this emptying mechanism. In a sense I am creating an internal environment that starts with lessening resistance.
Once I ‘feel’ that I am somewhat ready to go my focus goes to the tools I will be using and ‘the process of making’ however that manifests for each of us. This routine on a good day begins to ratchet up the fluidness of the process to the point of ultimate absorption. Time has disappeared as has my thoughts of my daily day to day issues. My focus is completely on my work and the seamless connection to the tools I am using to express myself. There is no perfect world so accepting that gives me permission to just forget what weighs me down and for a period allows me to escape and flow.
The physical environment I have seen also matters greatly in this process of making and focusing. The studio, workspace, office or whatever place you do what you do can also restrict or facilitate the energy needed to optimize our effort. For some it might mean having the place look like a tornado hit it and for others a meticulously kept space. What matters here is that you rule this environment and anything goes that you want to surround yourself with. Loud music, soft music. Many people, no people. One great big mess or OCD neat. Whatever environment you work in must be YOU. It is critical that you feel you can have it anyway that you want; your space where you are in complete control. Psychologically this matters because the moment you go ‘out there’ to show your work or meet with clients etc, etc you can’t always maintain the kind of control you have in your daily environment and you will need to have your place to celebrate when there is occasion, to regroup when a setback has occurred and to internalize all of the aspects of what living a creative life entails.
This physical environment is also critical to allowing your flow to be a constant in the face of all of the realities you will deal with internally and in your exchanges with the public on all levels. My studio always felt like home to me, the familiar place and was a great source of sanity in those moments of both adversity and accomplishment. There are infinite possibilities for crafting an optimal internal and external working and playing environment for ourselves. Make it all YOU want it to be and you will see that you will have more good days than not and that can only be a good thing for both you and your work.