I’m back after a few days off. This week was go go go leaving not much time to hang for tea with you all.. I do have something to report to you though. Earlier in the week I had a discussion with some folks on the difference between escaping and being in flow. You may be wondering, ugh, is this another discussion about “going with the flow? because if I hear it one more time….” Um no, the theory of flow is a little different, but not unlike, going with the flow. Flow theory was created by Mihaly Clikszentmihalyi. Csikszentmihalyi found that when a person was totally absorbed in an activity it gave them complete single pointed focused motivation. Flow is achieved when the activity a person is performing is one that brings spontaneous joy and exuberance allowing them to be utterly present in the moment. When in this state, all past or future worries/concerns do not exist for that time you are absorbed in this activity. The key is that you MUST be passionate and in love with the activity. Flow is kinda like that feeling of meeting someone new and falling in love. Ahhhh everything and everyone else fades into the wall paper. Only people left are you and that perfect someone. LOL It is also what happens when a dancer hits the dance floor only feeling the beats, their body and breath. The para-sympathetic nervous system turns on thereby igniting the relaxation response. You feel that right? Nothing can ruffle your feathers when you are grooving to your jam in the car as if trying out for American Idol? Or maybe that is just me:) (someday I will get caught)
Escapism, is..well we know this one right? We got it down pat It also takes us to an altered state. You probably have your favorite way to escape. Maybe you have a drink, a smoke, eat some good comfort food, turn the TV on for hours, sleep, eat sugar, etc What if instead of finding “healthier” forms of escape we traded up for some flow joe? We are bombarded with messages daily that we SHOULD shut down as often as we need to, in whatever way we need to. The only time this becomes socially inappropriate is when it people can not control their means of escaping. This is when society puts their nose in the air and judges. I found this to be an interesting topic, because I find myself caught in my own ways of shutting down. It brought to mind that as long as we are trying to get away from something we are trapped and frustrated. If escapism worked, it would have worked already, right? It works short term but not over the long haul. I spoke about this in my post Whyyyyyy? But whyyyyy?
Feelings are not facts, they just are. If we can accept the ebb and flow of them, we will find that need to escape them lessen.
Escaping and being in the flow are two different routes towards seeking relaxation. The difference is that escapism is that route that you find on Google Maps that takes you all around the City and never ends up getting you to your desired destination. Flow is ENGAGING, escaping is DISENGAGING. Brene Brown states in her TED talks http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability.html
that when you shut down unpleasant feelings, you also shut down pleasant ones as well. We experience this right? It may be that your form of escaping also comes with negative consequences. The pleasure, if there, is fleeting and you are left with the crap behind (the hangover from food or alcohol, the debt from shopping, etc.) You also still have to deal with the crap you were trying to escape from when the escape is over. With flow, this simply does not happen. When in flow you are distracting your self from the bad stuff but are completely consumed with joy, excitement, pleasure, and love. You come away having had a release from the bad stuff and loads of pleasure without the pain.. Health and wellness come from flow, hardly ever from escaping. Hmmm some food for thought, that’s for sure.Flow is life force energy. It is all around us all the time. Whether it’s in activities or people you love, nature, sunsets, the ocean. It’s everywhere, all the time. How you will find yourself a cup of flow joe this weekend?