The simplest definition of flow is how you feel when your skill and the challenge you are facing are increasing at the same pace.
The simplest definition of stress is how you feel when you do not have the skills or resources to meet the challenge you are facing or when the challenge itself has unclear or impossible expectations.
The simplest definition of boredom is how you feel when your skill set is stronger then your challenge. When we are bored, we look for quick fixes that put our minds and hearts on pause. We look for things to entertain or preoccupy our time. We sometimes create our own stress just to make us feel something.
“Flow is natural because we personally do nothing to cause it to exist. Whether or not we give it our conscious attention, it just is. Sometimes we may hardly know it’s there: when obscured by our fear or anger it can run underground like a river. But when we move into greater awareness and trust, it emerges in all its strength and power.” (From The Understanding Flow by Charlene Belitz and Meg Lundstrom.)
Obscured by fear or anger: As I have written many times before, so much of my reality was constructed on fear and anger. It’s fair, there is so much to fear and so much to be angry about. When we are operating under the laws of fear and anger, we are knotted up in stress that oppresses us, chips away at our immune system and steals our joy. That stress blinds us to seeing where our skills can be sharpened and when it is time to let go.
Strength and power: The challenges we face are not going away, but we access the skill to face them when we are able to accept that fear is a part of being alive and of being in love, and that our anger is giving us clues all of the time about the passion that runs deeply through us.
According to Linda Caldwell in TimeWise: Taking Charge of Leisure Time (pictured above), Flow involves:
*Intense levels of concentration and focus
*Being one with the activity; being totally absorbed
*Not being worried about the outcome of the activity
*Not feeling bored or wondering when you can do something else
*Being mindful of the activity and of your body and mind in connection with the activity