I will admit it was not until recently I had heard this term “FLOW STATE” while visiting with a good friend and talking about photography. My friend Kieth Sprouse mentioned it while working on editing some photographs he had taken. This term intriqued me as a light bulb came on, that I knew what it was and had experienced it myself, but never knew it had a name for me it was just a wonderful state of being.
I asked Kieth what he meant by flow state? He was certain that when he told me I would have experienced it. It is when you get so involved in what you are doing, it seems as though minutes have passed by, yet in reality hours, had passed by. Bingo I had a name for it now, before for myself it was just a “Beautiful State of Being”
It was in this state of being that I had done some of my most beautiful weaving! For me it generally involved classical music, as in classical music for myself there always seemed to be an underlying current, a current that you could not quite put your finger on. It was not the tempo, it was like the steady flow of a gently flowing stream or babbling brook, constant. It was like the storm raging above the brook, (tempo) but the stream did not change its flow, it was steady. Like you were tapping into an unseen part of the music.
For myself, my hands were doing the work (weaving the ribbed basket), independently of where your mind was. Either I would see pictures of new designs in baskets (in my mind) or just come into a state of “Knowing” which cannot be explaind. I remember once having all the ribs in a basket where you just stared weaving the body, while listening to the complete Vivaldi’s Four Seasons” one afternoon I remember it was around 4pm when I started. I had compiled music that I loved hearing which would run for hours; when suddenly I snapped out of it The body of the basket was completed, I looked out the window, thinking I don’t remember any part of the weaving process, and What?? It is dark outside!!! I looked at the clock and it was 11pm, I had been weaving for 7 hours, yet I was stupified! It felt like no more than 30 minutes had passed by!! “FLOW STATE”
Finally the experience had a name thanks to Kieth! All my life this happened with studying Piano, drawing, painting, most any form of art. It is just a wonderful and beautiful experience,for which there are no word to describe, when it is over you are energized, as if you had done no work at all. With what most people would term the mundane, agonizingly boring thing in piano, that there is, your practice of scales, inversions, candences and arpegios. These are the rudiments of music which must be learned and memorized so that you can call on them at anytime in music, when needed. This is how I practiced piano 2 1/2 hours in morning and again in evening (5 hours per day total) I thought it was normal and that everyone did it, and could not understand why people hated it so! I just followed the “flow” you kind of got into it, Mrs. MacEnderfer, (my teacher) always commented on the flow of scales, into inversions, into cadences, into arpegios, as if all were one piece of music in and of itself. I said I don’t know I just feel like I become the music, believe me 2 1/2 hours, twice a day just seemed like minutes
When I had a name to put with an action, state of being, I realized in most artistic endeavors, it is like I become the music, I become the art, I become whatever I am doing, I am the music, I am the art, “I AM” everything just seems to come from within. I am not seperate from, but it all comes from within! How? Don’t Ask, I don’t know! It just Is.
Believe me when I tell you, I still have to work at what I do, to learn these things, however when this “Flow State” starts coming it is like a dam bursts and knowledge just is there. However it does still take work in the begining. With painting just as with music, there are the rudiments to be learned, color, light, dark, texture, many things to be learned in the begining, some of which I know since I have dabbled in watecolor from the 70’s, perhaps one day I will be able to get a keyboard and pick up where I left off in piano. One thing at a time.