Are you in The Flow?
To which you might reply: Um, what on Earth do you mean, Lynn? Well, think of The Flow as similar to another more widely-used phrase, “Being in the zone.”
Check Wikipedia, and you’ll read that Flow is “the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, Flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does.”
The Flow can often be evasive. We WANT it, especially when we have something that needs to get done. But even beyond the practical benefits of this sought-after state of mind, we also desire it because it feels so good. When was the last time you were so into something that you lost all track of time? When you enjoyed pure, unadulterated attention and delight with something. When your cares and stress melted away.
Maybe it’s where the adage “Time flies when you’re having fun” comes from. Fun might be part of the equation.
But too often, this concept gets hijacked by something else much less enjoyable. You see, “complete absorption” takes on a whole new meaning when that thing absorbing you is caregiving. Serving as a family caregiver to a loved one living with Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia can, quite literally, take over your entire life. Allow it to, and you can kiss that preferred version of The Flow goodbye. In fact, you’re lucky if you find time to focus on yourself for a few fleeting minutes.
So, for those of us in demanding caregiving roles, how do we swing the “Flow Pendulum” from one extreme to the other? How do we go from being inescapably entrenched in navigating the choppy waters of memory loss, to actually giving ourselves the time and space to enjoy this gift of The Flow?
First, we need to re-capture an awareness of the things we love – those things that bring us personal joy. It may have been so long that we’ve actually forgotten about these things! Then, we need to create a support team around ourselves so that we can hit the Eject Button from time to time and go partake of those joyful things. Also, we need to dial up our self-care so that when we actually do have some time for ourselves, we have the capacity to let go, ease ourselves into the river’s current, and surrender to joy of The Flow.
Sound like a dream? Unachievable? Chasing a unicorn? I understand. It’s hard to see beyond your own nose when you’re feeling trapped in the caregiver box.
Come talk to us. We have resources. We know some tricks. And we know how you’re feeling.
As said in Field of Dreams, “There comes a time when all the cosmic tumblers have clicked into place and the universe opens itself up a few seconds to show you what’s possible.” A conversation with The Ivey might be that last cosmic tumbler, waiting to click into place just for you, opening you up to your life as it’s meant to be lived. With ease. In The Flow.
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