The more I blog, the more I find myself “in the zone.” Some call it “flow” or being on your best game. You know, that feeling you get when you are deeply engaged in something you love. You lose all sense of time. You are completely, energetically focused. No mental wanderings or stressful strategizing about how to accomplish the million items on your “To Do” or “Should Do” or “Should Have Done” lists. All that falls into the backdrop.
If you were filming life in the zone, the frames would move in slow motion — deliberate, intentional, creatively efficient time allowing you to delve deeply into what you are doing. And even though what you are doing might be so challenging each time you return to the activity that you sometimes wonder if the zone will forever elude you, you find yourself back in it.
And when I miss posting a blog? I definitely find myself outside of the zone. Anxious, worrying about what to write, how to make up for the missing post. Like that feeling you get when you haven’t worked out for a few days. Sluggish, yucky. Like I felt a few moments ago. But then I begin again, trying to keep up the practice so that I’ll find my way back.
It’s been difficult some days to sit down and write these posts, but once I get going, I find great joy and a wonderful sense of accomplishment in dedicating myself daily to a reflective, intellectual, and creative practice that I find essential. I experience this feeling of flow also when I’m reading a book or playing with my children.
Most times, my world moves so quickly that I forget that the zone is out there waiting for me to find it again. I do, however, experience the thrill everyday of watching my own children exist in their preferred zones. Being in the zone is, indeed, the essence of being a child. Logan repeatedly finds herself (rather than “loses herself”) in the zone moments after picking up a book. She is so focused that she doesn’t hear us calling her. She absolutely detests the moments when we ask her to put her book down to focus on other, equally important things like eating. Lucas loves to build. He’ll work for long periods of time creating structures with his Legos, and has a hard time walking away from his projects before he’s finished with them. Sometimes we have to carry him away.
It’s difficult for any of us to step away from what we love, even if it is to do things that perhaps we don’t mind doing but are lower on our list of enjoyments. As a parent, it’s also hard in the moment to deal with the kids when they resist transitioning to meals or bedtime or school time because they’d rather read or build or draw or play with each other.
Admittedly, though, there’s a part of me that hopes that they always resist. That they find themselves so passionate about something creative, energizing, and enjoyably challenging that they work against being pulled away from it. And that, when they have responsibilities that do require them to take time away from their passions, they learn to still find ways to embrace those things that they love. That they, ultimately, always remember to embrace themselves.
What, for you, is being “in the zone”? When you find yourself “in the zone,” what are you usually doing?