Tag Archives: Writing

Flow

This quote reminded of the term “flow”, described by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (How do we even pronounce that) as:

“A state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience is so enjoyable that people will continue to do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it.”

And these are the 8 characteristics of flow:

  1. Complete concentration on the task
  2. Clarity of goals and reward in mind and immediate feedback
  3. Transformation of time (speeding up/slowing down of time)
  4. The experience is intrinsically rewarding
  5. Effortlessness and ease
  6. There is a balance between challenge and skills
  7. Actions and awareness are merged, losing self-conscious rumination
  8. There is a feeling of control over the task

Source

 

This prompted me to reflect and examine the frequency with which I currently experience this state of flow in my job (because that’s important to me!).

Yes, when I conduct sessions, I can see how being “in the zone”, having my skills and the challenge at hand being equally matched, seeing the natural and connected engagement with the children, creates the circumstances for flow to take place, which contributes to my perception of meaning and joy.

I suppose it is when we are unable to experience this state of flow in what we do, that the tasks and job may become more tedious and arduous. How do you feel flow in a session with the little boy who is screaming his head off, or with the one who is scratching his peers and everyone is just trying to stop him but making things worse, or with the little girl who is crying because she wants her favourite snack and the teacher is refusing to give in to her?

I think that’s when being able to be in the moment and taking the stance of an observer can really help a lot. Thinking “Wow, this is a difficult situation” instead of “I AM in a difficult situation” can really make a lot of difference in how we react and/or respond to the challenges. It certainly takes practice, and I’m still working on it 🙂

It’s Only Temporary

Does transience render all things meaningless?

I sometimes ask myself that.

But that would be the fatalist way to live, and I’m not inclined to think that way either.

So I make a choice.

I choose to see change and impermanence as pre-requisites for growth, for discovery, for connection. For meaning. Far from meaningless.

And because there are days and moments when it may be harder to remember this choice, to remember that impermanence is not cruel but can be beautiful, that change is not overwhelming but can be growth-inducing –  that’s when writing posts like these help.

A Little Thing

It’s a usual music therapy practice to greet each person in the group individually at the start of the session, and to say goodbye to each individual. It is a way to invite each individual into the group setting, and at the end, to thank them for their contribution to the group.

Well yesterday, I forgot to say bye to each individual kid after a session.

After the group goodbye song, the boys were transited to go toileting, then to go for their outdoor activity.

But one of the little boys decided otherwise – he apparently pulled his teacher back to the classroom, where I was still packing and clearing the area after their session.

I had turned around and there he stood, looking at me, somewhat bashfully.

Unaware of his agenda, I asked “A, what is it?” Not that he could verbalise a reply, but I knew he was capable of communicating through gestures and vocalisations.

When a few more moments had passed without him initiating anything, I looked at the teacher standing at the entrance of the classroom.

“Do you know what he wants?” I asked.

“He wants to say bye.”

BOOM.

It hit me then. Of course. I had forgotten to give each kid their individual goodbye after the session, perhaps unconsciously assuming that the goodbye song was good enough and that it wouldn’t make a difference to them anyway… Apparently it does!

Squatting to his eye level, I said “Bye bye A!” and held out my palm for a high-5. He returned the high-5 immediately, smiled and turned to walk back to his teacher.

Heart melts.

The little things do matter. A lot.

Healing Conversations

Meeting up with a long-time friend last night after a period of hiatus offered me some new insights and perspectives on being in this world.

I told her that our meetup was very healing for me, for reasons I couldn’t quite articulate in the moment myself. “I don’t know… It just felt healing… on a deeper level.” I replied when she asked how was it healing.

It was only after some reflection and processing this afternoon that I think I came to some sort of explanation…

See, in my relationship with myself, I think I am at the stage where I can comfortably switch between roles, act them out accordingly, and give myself time and space to recharge, thereby reconnecting with myself, and maintaining authenticity and a relatively authentic relationship with myself. I may not always want to be outgoing and spontaneous, but if my job requires it I am able to tell myself that there is meaning in doing this, so let’s do it, and most of the time I am able to make peace with the different roles I have to play in daily life.

But, in my relationship with the world, I don’t think I always have this harmony or peace. In fact, there may be times when I might actually resent and blame the world for all my painful, conflicting emotions, my struggles with unworthiness and inferiority and inadequacy. While I can forgive myself for having to act inauthentically at times, I may not always forgive the world, that which has forced me to act in this way and which has imposed these struggles upon me (at least that’s how I see it).

And thus, having friends who represent a facet of that world, showing me that it is possible for at least a small part of that external world to understand, to not judge, to really LISTEN, to validate and see me for who I am, without expecting me to change to meet their expectations…

This longtime friend was just that, and I think that’s why and where I found healing.

Thank you 🙂

Never-Ending Business

Every once in a while, I go back to some old journals, and never fail to be amazed by what I find.

Did I really think that way? Did I really write these things?

It’s always a useful glimpse into the past, present, and even the future. Because I am then reminded that even this “mind”, which we think is our constant, this “me” that we think has always been consistent…

Are far from it.

And the journey of knowing and changing continues.