Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Flow


Happy New Year! I believe you can wish people a happy new year for all of January, don't you think? Definitely the first time you see them in the new year. I still have a handful of New Year's cards unsent. When I sat down to order my Christmas cards this year, I realized they'd better be New Year's cards, and that was the right call. It's taking a little time because I'm writing personal notes on all 60 of them. I only mention that to shame you.

LOL jk not really! Not really about the shame that is. I really am writing the notes because what else do I have to do?

Anyway. I thought about you guys yesterday morning after I played a tennis match. My partner and I got beat, but I was driving away from the match feeling fine, thinking about my day, my friends, my kids, people I know who are sick, people who are grieving, my own health, just all the things that I think about. And it came to my mind to tell you how, back when I first started playing tennis in earnest, two years ago, being on the court was the only time that I didn't think about breast cancer. In those days I was worried all the time. Cancer dread was a constant background noise to all of my other thoughts. God, exhausting.

That dread is not gone. It has just changed from being uncontrolled and omnipresent to being a familiar part of my mental furniture. I see it every day, but it has a place and I keep it there and try to ignore it. I think this gets easier over time, the not feeling afraid. And also, you know what? Fuck it.

We're diving deep into the mind of Becky today, looks like.

So yeah, when I'm playing tennis, I don't think about any of that. I don't think about my kids. Yesterday I realized that when I'm playing, I don't remember that I even HAVE kids. And I'm not even very good! I marvel at how pleasurable and restful the sport must be for people who have real skills. I think this is the concept of flow, of like, being so immersed in an activity that you aren't even aware of your own self or of the passage of time.

I remember once Laura told me how she feels at swim practice sometimes. She said, "It's like I'm asleep, but I'm awake and my body is working." I think that's flow.

I think being in flow is good for us. I just wanted to poke my head in and ask you, what activities do you have or do that make you feel that way? We're supposed to start the year the way we mean to go on, so let's get flowing, shall we?

Back soon with a holiday update, etc. Yes my Christmas tree is still up, in keeping with our tradition of leaving it up long enough to honor Dr. King. xoxoxo

20 comments:

Lisa Lilienthal said...

Most definitely fuck cancer. I'm glad you found your flow! I, too, am still addressing my New Year's cards. Phew, glad I'm not the only one!

Beth said...

You know, you are really lucky to have that activity, and to have found it. Laura is, too! I don't know that I have something that consistently makes me flow. I wonder, do you think that the timing of starting your hobby has anything to do with its flow capacity? I mean, since you started playing when you were in the midst of the whole boob thing, do you think it somehow gave you more flow or something? I dunno, I'm spitballing.

Yah, fuck cancer.

Michele said...

Painting tends to put me into a "flow" state of mind. I only wish it would burn the same calories as tennis.

I delegate all Christmas/New Year card writing to the estimable husband. I will compose a pithy letter some years but I try not to make it a habit.

I agree with Lisa and Beth, fuck cancer. I'm especially pissed because another friend is going into surgery next week. So it is very much on my mind right now.

Erika W said...

The other day Devin asked why I said Happy New Year to someone when it was well after the first. I said what you said, 'When you see someone for the first, you can say it." He thought that sounded okay.

Yoga is usually my flow and sometimes reading (especially your blog !) does it or cooking.

Elle said...

Yk, on the one hand, I am conflicted to report this, but on the other, I have no shame: when I am out in the world working on the people to do what needs to be done, getting extra, getting noticed, getting over, it's like -- I can't describe it.


Every circumstance is different, but I know exactly whom to approach and what words to use & how to graciously & gracefully extricate myelf to move on with my goods. And everyone always leaves every encounter happy, so idk. It's really like tuning into a frequency or stepping into the light. I dunno. But yes.

Amy said...

Amen! Maybe I should take up tennis.

I'm not sure if I have anything where I "flow". Preaching, maybe. Does that sound weird? Lol

Are weeee getting a New Yr card??

AlGalMom said...

lots of good stuff, here--this is one to print out & tape on the bathroom mirror :) the other night my husband and I were having fun on a website that had a bunch of little rounds (you know, like "row row your boat") mostly from the renaissance, and we were just singing through them one after the other. it was so life-giving, that singing together. sometimes when we sing, the sound we make kind of exists as a thing by itself, and I can almost look at it as an observer instead of a participant (there is a particular arrangement of the Agnus Dei by Schubert we sometimes sing in church that is like that). I'm not sure it is quite the same flow found during aerobic activity, but it feels good for me in the same way :)

Kate said...

I flow when I swim and run. I couldn't survive without either. My head is usually a mess of worry and anxiety. And I know what you mean about the cancer. I set an alarm take synthroid every morning at 4 or 5 am, as I will for the rest of my life. It's my new reality.

Aimee said...

Flow when reading a good fiction book, does that count? Like, when you lose yourself completely in the story?

Rowing, to a certain extent, but it's so difficult and often painful, it's not quite the same... but yeah, I forget about the kids and bills and PTSA paperwork while I row.

Fuck cancer, indeed. Wish you could come out and do Relay with us sometime... would be a blast! Only not so helpful on making it forgettable furniture, eh?

Pam said...

I am with you on fucking that fucking cancer. My daughter is 2 years healthy now, but still lots of reminders. I have two flows - gardening outside and quilting indoors. one day I was out in the garden, my neighbor had to grab my arm to get my attention. She asked me what I thought about when I was gardening... and the answer is nothing, just dirt. So glad you are healthy, and such an entertaining blogger. If I was a writer, I'd want to be like you. :)

michiganme said...

For me, it's that state of un-self-consciousness I get when take my power walks. It's not that walking fast requires my undivided attention, it's that thinking comes so easy when I walk so that after awhile I 'finish' thinking and go to another place in my mind.

Mrs. C said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amy Cassady said...

I found CrossFit. That hour every day is the only time that I don't think about anxiety, or how anxiety is taking over my mind, or if I'll be able to sleep because of my anxiety. I have to concentrate on my lifts and exercises to do them properly and am always surprised at the end of class that I haven't thought about anxiety once. (Then I get anxious that I haven't been thinking about it- just kidding.) It's so freeing and addicting!

Allison said...

Hiking on rocky trails in Tucson gives me the flow. To avoid breaking an ankle while walking as fast as I can, attention must be paid to where the feet are placed. It's all consuming, it's good.

Mary McMullen-Light, WAC Coordinator said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elizabeth said...

Flow -- definitely writing. Sometimes it feels like I'm channeling something or someone.

And all hail to the Fuck Cancer refrain.

Life on The Rowland Ranch said...

I think I get in the flow when I read your blog. I go to my little happy place and forget everything else. I laugh out loud and my husband asks me why, but I'm too much in the flow to take the time to explain.

Life on The Rowland Ranch said...

Oh. And cancer is dumb.

Justine said...

I just wanted to come back here and tell you I have thought about flow so much since you wrote this post. I started pilates around the new year, and it was so damn hard it was like Aimee said about rowing, like I dunno if it counts as flow because of how difficult and painful it was. Just the worst, with older ladies doing amazing things I couldn't dream of, and the teacher constantly poking my midsection and telling me to breathe with my rib cage and put my abs in places I didn't think they could go. I left feeling frustrated and despondent, and then I actually said out loud (I never talk to myself), "Fuck it." And I kept going back every week, and now I have flow! I am just one with the instructor, and I'm still the biggest screw-up in the room and she spends half her time correcting only me, but I'm not thinking about anything and just doing the poses. So yeah, flow.

Keely said...

Are you going to blog again ever?

Running is Flow for me. Which may explain why I keep trying to do it despite the fact that I hate running.