when left to our own devices, we fall victim to "entropy" or disorganization and angst. We are happiest when we are challenged and have some means to measure our progress towards a meaningful goal. It organizes our psyche and keeps the chaos at bay. The "flow" state is when we lose sense of ourselves, totally immersed in an activity that fully engages us. Flow activities can be challenging physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, cognitively. . . . We have all (at least I hope so!) experienced flow. For me, it has been in physical challenges/competition, in my work with children and families and in learning.
Several things have really stood out for me in reading this book this weekend: 1. that research shows that most people experience a flow state more frequently at work than they do at leisure though most people will say that they'd like more leisure! So what do you make of that? Are we culturally set up to believe that work is "bad" and that leisure is "good" even when leisure is often not as fulfilling and rewarding. Perhaps the problem is with how we spend our leisure. The book makes the excellent point that leisure spent in spectator activities (think media) leave people feeling slightly depressed and restless. It is certainly true for me. There is no challenge, no meaning-making, no potential for growth in a great deal of our down time activities. 2. we need human connection and to experience "flow" in our relationships, we need to invest time, energy and value in them. We need to share common goals/challenges and find meaning in how we pursue them.
It's all still percolating for me and I do still have a few concluding chapters to get through. But I have some resolutions to try out with you. This week, my hubby and I have decided to turn off the TV and instead fill our bits and pieces of leisure with more challenging pursuits. Perhaps that will result in increased blog entries:) We'll see how it goes. TV in the evenings has been my drug of choice for quite some time. Especially at the end of a work day and there doesn't seem to be anything left to give. I just numb out for an hour or two and then crawl to bed. But I don't feel rested from my viewing time and my beloved stacks of books, well, they're still stacked! My second resolution is to institute Flow Friday -- I want to dedicate whatever entries happen to show up on here on Fridays to pondering the practical ways I can turn my attention to parenting and living in a meaningful way.