Do you ever get so engrossed in what you’re doing that every part of you, mentally, physically and probably spiritually, is engaged and time ceases to have any meaning? Everything is falling into place, your ideas are coming together seamlessly and your productivity, (though you’re probably barely aware of this until later) soars. The house could start to burn down around you and you’d still “just finish this bit”. If you do, you know the true meaning of “flow”.
If this doesn’t resonate with you, watch a child play by himself. Immersed in his imagination, his whole body will be involved in what he is doing. We tend to lose such intense focus as we move out of childhood. So the child who could spend days at a time in a fantasy world of her own making will gradually lose the ability to escape the mundane, and the necessary skill of being in the here and now subjugates the need to dream.
One day in the Spring, I was “in flow”. It was one of those wonderful “I love my life” days. It started, as most do, with a walk in the beautiful countryside that surrounds me. Full of sunshine and fresh air, I came home feeling inspired and was soon in that glorious state where one idea triggers another which leads to another and, rather than disappear into the ether as so often they are wont to do, they all found their way onto paper. People I needed to contact to progress these ideas were all in when I messaged or called, everyone I spoke to was available and willing to get on board, Husband of my Heart was playing cricket, so the house was quiet and, because I knew he had dinner planned, I was able to survive the day by foraging through his chocolate store (I mean, who leaves half-eaten chocolate bars lying around in drawers?)
Imagine my distress, then, when the doorbell went. On a Sunday. It was the fish man, wanting to restock our freezer.
“I’ll have a box of mixed white fish,” I said immediately, remembering that’s what we’d had before.
“I’ve got some lovely sea bass on board, fresh as you like, beautiful it is – come and have a look.”
Bearing in mind I’d already taken off my glasses, which had interrupted my flow (who can flow out of focus, I ask you?) I obliged by shoving my bare feet into my slippers and grabbing a coat. It was bloody freezing outside, more so when I stood by the open doors of the refrigerated van. The fish man started to unload his stock, box by box onto a trolley.
“We’ve got some smashing prawns – look at these. Fresh from Icelandic waters.”
“Very nice, thanks, but I’ll just have the mixed box.” Hurry up, I wanted to say, I need to get back to my desk.
“How about some Norwegian salmon – line caught, no farmed stuff. They eat their own droppings in those pens, you know.” They did look good and we do eat a lot of salmon, droppings and all.
“We do chicken now, pre-prepared…”
I could feel my flow ebbing away. “Thanks, but I’ll just have the fish.”
“These are seasoned with -” could have been nettle needles wafted with witch’s breath for all I know, I’d stopped listening, desperately trying to hold on to my previous train of thought.
He went on and on and on…and on. He’s a very nice man and I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. But nor did I want him to unpack his entire load and show me the contents of virtually every box as he worked his way to the elusive box of mixed white fish, right at the back, at the bottom.
Allow me to cut what has already been a very long story short(er). I ended up buying four boxes of fish instead of the one. Roughly fifty pieces of mixed white, sea bass, tuna and salmon. I filled in a pre-signed cheque that I happened to have in a drawer that Neil left me a year or so or go that I never used. I vaguely heard the phrase “discount for bulk” but my mind was already back indoors, in the warm, on my project.
I was still “flowing” when Husband of my heart came in from cricket. “I bought some fish,” I told him happily, “hope that’s OK. It was £190.” The penny dropped as I said it aloud. OMG. I had spent £190. One. Hundred. and Ninety. Pounds. On fish.
He looked at me. I looked at him, dismayed. Without a word, (bless him for his restraint) he went off to cook chicken for tea. I have a feeling that’s the last time we’ll be having meat in this house for a while…
Have a good week. I hope you get to “go with flow” – flow is good. Just learn from me and don’t make any buying decisions while you’re in it!
Taken from my new book, “Oh Crap – I’m 50! A Journey from Fearful to Fabulous (Sometimes)” available now on Amazon
© Jo Blackwell
Cover Photo Credit: sergey-pesterev-221915-unsplash