One day at work I was working on decorating a bulletin board and painting the background with some acrylic paint. I was really focused.
My co-worker came by and said that I don’t have to do this if I would make it a project for clients to do – then I could just take their work and use it on the bulletin board. Since you know, this is another workload for me.
This got me thinking: Is this work for me? I didn’t feel like it.
I was enjoying it actually; just putting some paint on big paper felt good. I wanted to do it myself. It felt delicious.
Effort vs. Flow
If whatever it is that you’re doing is “work” for you, why is it so? Why do you have to work so hard?
If it is effort, wonder – why am I doing this?
Because if it is effort, then it is in some way a sort of resistance, an upstream energy – that is, you’re doing something that you do not want to do (but you feel like you must do it).
In complete acceptance, there is no “work.” Everything comes easily, everything flows.
This is when you feel like you’re in the “flow.” It is when you’re climbing up the stairs, running around, chasing, and doing the monkey bars as a 4-year-old, having the fun of your life although from an adult’s point of view, it is a LOT of workout.
What is this “flow”
It is also when you’re blowing bubbles. You dip your wand into soapy water, you blow it, and repeat it endlessly and don’t even feel your lips and arms getting tired.
It’s when you’re making that yummy casserole from scratch and the kitchen is a mess and you’re sweating but you love it.
You don’t think it’s work. Your actions just flow. It’s not work. It’s fun.
You’re so focused on the one thing you’re doing that everything else falls away.
We experience this occasionally, here and there, but we don’t think much of it because we get caught up in something else soon enough. Something else – that is, things that we have to accomplish through efforting and hard, or grudging work.
Depending on the specific person, anything could make us feel like we’re in the flow.
Reading, talking to friends, designing, doing puzzles, and on and on.
But art-making is something that a lot of people can find fun because most of us have made art as a kid.
We know what it feels like to express yourself fully without limits. To mix and match colors, experiment with lines, explore different textures… it is a language that we are able to use innately.
Humans are supposed to create and express themselves. It is as natural as the sky, and the air we breathe.
And when we access that creative side of us that we all have, it is fun. We feel free, limitless, and joyful – joyful because that’s what we are at our core.
So I wonder, what have you done lately that has given you joy? What makes you feel like you’re in the flow?
Maybe try a little collage, or a painting this week? 🙂