Day 4: Find Your Flow
I hope everyone enjoyed wandering yesterday. Personally, I found it hard to motivate to get out and wander finding myself thinking "well I already know what exists in those areas" but let me tell you how wrong I ended up being!
The thing about wandering is that if you try too hard, you lose it. It's almost more about not trying. I noticed myself actively "trying" to play and wander yesterday, striving for a very carefree laissez-faire attitude but continually encountering roadblocks. I found myself getting frustrated that it felt more tedious than usual, that documentation of my play is awkward and hard, and that man just what am I expecting to FIND anyway?! I took a quick personal inventory and noted that 1. I was tired and 2. had spent all day working on responsible non-play type things.
I let myself realize what a beautiful sunny day out it was, started with one small decision - I pick my bike as my play tool for Kinesthete day 4 - and then decided to pick an area of the city that I haven't been for awhile, so felt a little more likely to have things going on that I hadn't seen in the past 6 months. Downtown! I won't tell you much more - instead I'll show you my instagram story from the wander.
You see - what I ALLOWED myself in WANDER, ultimately brought me to a place of FLOW. Heyyyyy play property #3! As a refresher or for anyone just joining in - we are now 3/4 in our learning about authentic properties of Play aka how to know you're really playing.
What is a Flow State?
Simply put, being in a state of flow means that you are experiencing freedom from the sense of time along with a diminished consciousness of self. You know that feeling where you come out of an experience and are like "WOW what time even is it? I feel like I was just "somewhere else" I was having so much fun" - well that's FLOW! According to Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi - author of FLOW: The Psychology of Optimal Experience,
"Flow is the way people describe their state of mind when consciousness is harmoniously ordered, and they want to pursue whatever they are doing for its own sake...The self becomes complex, as a result of experiencing flow. Paradoxically, it is when we act freely, for the sake of the action itself rather than for ulterior motives, that we learn to become more than what we were. When we choose a goal and invest ourselves in it to the limits of our concentration, whatever we do will be enjoyable. And once we have tasted this joy, we will redouble our efforts to taste it again. This is the way the self grows." (42)
How Do We Find Our Flow?
This is where our wandering tool from yesterday comes in. In order to find our flow, we have to intend to wander - but not TOO hard - or else you'll fall in to that trap I described experiencing myself, where I was maybe trying too hard to find my own expectation of an experience. Once I was able to get into a playful mindset and release my expectations of how play would work - look at all that I found! I ended up biking 15 miles over the course of 3 hours because I was having so much fun. Everyone has a unique way of accessing their FLOW space and it's all about knowing what does it for you.
Today - pick a play prop. A play prop is an object that helps facilitate your play, but does not dictate how you use it. This will help you to wander with playful intent in a certain direction in search of FLOW. And if you don't find it, THAT'S OK! FLOW is not always easily accessed so make sure you are not being too hard on yourself. We are only 4 days in, and look how much more you know about your Play than on Day 1! By the end of this #playyourwaychallenge I would be willing to bet that you have discovered multiple ways of FLOWING with your fine self.
Need some new PLAY RESOURCES ? I'm starting a community list that everyone can contribute to! Just jump in and drop a comment for me to include your favorite links, or take a peek to find something new for yourself.
Check out the panels below for questions to get each Play Personality thinking, and as always be sure to tag me @eastonsmith on IG so I can see what you're all up to in your stories!