I have the luxury of a few days of staycation, playing with the cat, unwinding several balls of yarn and just readjusting my head space for 2014,Without realising how, I managed to rediscover my groove or “Flow”.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, wrote a book in the 90’s about Flow titled appropriately “Finding Flow”, he was also featured in a Ted talk about “What makes a life worth living?”, the link is here. Flow is essentially:
complete immersion in an experience could occur while you are singing in a choir, dancing, playing bridge, or reading a good book…Moments such as these provide flashes of intense living against the dull background of everyday life.
What’s interesting for me is this part:
Flow tends to occur when a person faces a clear set of goals that require appropriate responses. It is easy to enter flow in games such as chess, tennis, or poker, because they have goals and rules that make it possible for the player to act without questioning what should be done, and how. For the duration of the game the player lives in a self-contained universe where everything is black and white. The same clarity of goals is present if you perform a religious ritual, play a musical piece, weave a rug, write a computer program, climb a mountain, or perform surgery. In contrast to normal life, these “flow activities” allow a person to focus on goals that are clear and compatible, and provide immediate feedback.
Flow also happens when a person’s skills are fully involved in overcoming a challenge that is just about manageable, so it acts as a magnet for learning new skills and increasing challenges. If challenges are too low, one gets back to flow by increasing them. If challenges are too great, one can return to the flow state by learning new skills.
This clarity of action and simply being in the moment was lacking for me in 2013. I arrived home more often than not in a complete state of exhaustion and plonked myself in front of the TV to wash the day’s away. It’s not surprising that I haven’t placed myself in a state where flow can happen, leaving a sense that something is missing last year.
So this summer, I dusted off boxes of yarn and half finished projects and made a concentrated effort to try and finish them before I return back to work. I finally finished Kate Davies’s owl sweater that had been lying in a pile for a couple of years and realised it doesn’t take that much effort to leave some time and wait for flow to happen.
Knitted using the now discontinued Sublime Yarns Organic Merino Wool DK, it knitted very easily and quickly with the addition of some clever usage of darts to keep things interesting. Knit wise it took me around 2 months, but it took me almost two year to sew on the eyes. During this period, I carried this piece around during three different house moves and misplaced the buttons in miscellaneous boxes. Overall I am very happy with the result, the gauge was spot on and as it is a pretty close fitting piece it is flattering and incredibly warm. Can’t wait to wear it out properly when the weather turns just a little cooler.
And yes, being in flow is quietly awesome. And as there are many roads to achieve flow, I am planning on rediscovering them all this year.