There are some moments in life that remain unforgettable. It is those moments that remain indelible in our personal memory. Better still, they remain indelible in the collective memory, in the form of a work we have created.
We all have moments like that. These are the moments when space and time become one with us. Where the moment extends into the eternal. Where we feel pleasure and satisfaction because what we do or what we make is good and we know it. We know because it took years to find out. Because we are committed to it. We spent years cultivating skills, sharpening senses. We gave time, space, money, knowledge and experience to develop it.
Frustration, tears, fear are part of the process. We may or may not know. I assure you it is part of the process. It takes will, perseverance and persistence. And if we lose our way there is always a way back.
In positive psychology there is a lot of research on creativity. A very important researcher of creativity and a proponent of the science of positive psychology along with Seligman is Mihai Chikszentmihai. He has some great stories to tell about his life. During World War II he spent a long time in an Italian prison camp. There he discovered chess and found that it was an excellent way to distract himself from what was going on around him, which he believes helped him a lot to overcome the difficulties of prison. He was concerned about what it was that made some people overcome tragedy and even become artists and highly creative. He studied psychology until he got a PhD and became an excellent scientist and doctor. In his life he interviewed thousands of participants, who were famous artists, athletes, scientists. From Nobel laureates to everyday people who enjoyed their work or their hobble. Everyone talked about those moments of dedication and extraordinary performance like a flowing river. So he called this phenomenon flow. We can also understand it in Greek through the concept of estrus, which brings remarkable results. A river of inspiration and sustainability.
What is the flow
Let’s take a closer look at the definition: Flow is that phenomenon of absolute absorption in what we do. It is the transcendent state of creativity (Csikszentmihalyi, 1997, 2003, 2009). It refers to those moments in life that are considered to be the best in terms of performance and enjoyment (Csikszentmihalyi, 1997). In relation to work, it reminds us that work was primarily intended for human well-being and well-being. It is that state of mind where consciousness is harmoniously controlled, putting awareness in order when individuals devote themselves to something for the joy of achievement.
These are the moments when the body or the mind reaches its limits in order to expand.
Growing the Flow
For flow there are ways to cultivate it and increase the moments of flow in our daily lives. First we need to practice our focus and attention. Also to empower ourselves and see which activities we enjoy and are motivated by themselves. Without needing external incentives. We still need a good balance of being disciplined and having a kind of internal organisation and structure. Even if to others it seems a chaotic structure, if it brings us a sense of security and creates an appropriate context, it is what we need. At the same time it needs be open and flexible. They are open to innovation and healthy experimentation. In setting new limits to what we already know well. To take it to another level, to answer unanswered questions about art, society, our culture today and always.
Personally I have felt the flow especially when I write poetry. I’ve been writing lyrics since I was a kid. I have gone through many stages of writing. As a student I was part of a group of people who wrote poetry, exchanged reflections and books. Later I entered the two-year creative writing programme for poetry by Takis Sinopoulos through a competition. In the following years I continued to write. Personal reasons deprived me of the flow of writing. But two years ago when I was facing difficult situations, poetry became my lifeboat. It made my then very difficult everyday life pleasant. I confirm from personal experience that creativity and flow are factors that bring prosperity and happiness. Today I am taking my first steps towards publication. And it’s a way that I showcase my personal flourishing.
I will dedicate the closing to Stephen Nachmanovich who, in his book Creativity in Life and Art, writes: ”So what is the seemingly endless flow of music, image, acting or speech that comes out of us whenever we let it? To some extent it is the stream of consciousness, a river of memories, melodies, feelings, emotions, fragrances, anger, old loves, fantasies. But we also sense something else, beyond the personal, from a source that is both very young and very old. The raw material is a river of Heraclitus or the Tao that flows within us. Mysterious penetrates us, without stopping or beginning. It neither increases nor decreases, it is neither polluted nor clean. We can choose with him or not. We can realize that against our will we are connected or disconnected from it. But it will always be there.
Through positive psychology, coaching and all the tools I have, I can help people discover this flow. And to have it in their lives as much as possible, with care and respect for themselves, and others.