In my discussion of flow last week I mentioned that there were things that restricted flow and things that enhanced flow. I can only talk about my own experience over the years but I have seen specific elements that have helped me as well as hindered me.
Flow is never the goal. Flow is facilitating the path of least resistance or put another way the path of most allowing. Beginning your day of work is the first trigger in stepping into flow. All artists, especially as they become more proficient and adept at expressing themselves, begin to tap into the creative pool as their focus sharpens and outside distractions subside. The distractions are still present but when your attention shifts to the work process and the ‘moment’, the connection to flow kicks in unconsciously.
If we look at this experience we can see that if we remain locked into worries, day to day concerns and even performance anxiety it automatically keeps that energy at bay. Our focus expands the thing we are magnifying for good or for bad. One routine I came upon was I typically took some time to ‘empty’ myself once I went to the studio. I knew in general what I would be working on that day but I have seen that if there was something that I was worried or concerned about and it was stuck in my mind I tended to not have one of my better days. So I consciously took some time to just set aside the obstruction and just go ‘empty’. I didn’t even want to focus on what I ‘thought’ I would be doing that day I just wanted to get empty.
Once I felt a sense of weightlessness, if we can describe it that way, I began work. My tools would trigger the confidence mechanism and as I got into the ‘process’ of making something then good things would start to kick in. My focus on executing my idea was then accentuated by new discovery through the process as well as thoughts and feelings that were sparked as the day went along. Before I knew it I was back into the flow. But what was key for me was just setting aside those distractions and points of focus that diminished my capacity to express and materialize my ideas. One thing I know is that it worked for me and I naturally structured a daily practice that supported my personality with all of its complexities.
It is key that we get honest about ourselves, not in a judgmental way, but in a supportive way to enhance our strengths and accept our weaknesses as all part of the great adventure. I reached a point where flow was never a problem but my ability to keep up with it was and not a bad problem to have. There does come a point in a career where there is an ease and confidence that I will label as mastery .It’s the moment when you finally ‘know’ how to ride the bike. It happens in a moment. You tried and tried and you just kept falling but this one day you got it. It is the same with your work.That moment might be a day, a month or even a year. It then becomes a life skill. Automatic. All the ingredients are now there.It is now just a question of what am I going to do next as one thing leads to another and another. It is a marriage between idea, expression and this energy we all have within and without us that ultimately kisses us with approval and new life. Next week I will continue some thoughts on the subject and introduce some new ideas on the work environment itself.