Flow: is the mental state of operation in which a person in an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity... flow is completely focused motivation. It is a single-minded immersion and represents perhaps the ultimate in harnessing the emotions in the service of performing and learning. In flow, the emotions are not just contained and channeled, but positive, energized, and aligned with the task at hand. To be caught in the ennui of depression or the agitation of anxiety is to be barred from flow. The hallmark of flow is a feeling of spontaneous joy, even rapture, while performing a task, although flow is also described as a deep focus on nothing but the activity- not even oneself or one's emotions.
This definition pretty much sums up my week. I'm feeling so good. I feel like this week's purpose and activity have put me in a good place. A very good place. In "the zone", if you will.
I've especially felt that in my running. Ran three days this week, running close to 5-6 miles each time. Thursday's and yesterday's runs were unbelievable. I still can't get over how strong I felt. About halfway in the run, I felt like I caught fire. My legs were just a churnin'. I allowed them to do their thing, and I was amazed at how fast I was able to go and how I was made capable of sustaining that speed for a large amount of time. All this without feeling exhaustion, or losing my breath; even though I could feel my heart rate increasing. Beautiful, pure endurance. It wasn't like I was sprinting at the end. This was happening for miles and miles. It was like I wasn't even there, but like I was in sensory- overload.
One of the interesting things I've noticed in the last month or so, specifically when I talk about this idea of sensory-overload, is how my vision is deepened and so much more intense, almost to the point where my eyes are a little achy. Like everything is becoming so much clearer. I experience that when I'm running, especially when I was in that state of "flow". (I'm sure it's from all the vitamin A I'm getting.)
One of the biggest factors in this feel good week has been my involvement in this workshop:
I wanted to take this month to learn about incorporating more whole foods in my diet. To see what it would be like to totally remove animal proteins, to eliminate refined sugar, to detox, if you will. To set my intention on self care. I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed this experience. I've been a fan of Heather's blog Beauty That Moves for quite some time, and so when I saw that she put this workshop together, I was intrigued. She's done such a wonderful job in making this so enjoyable, practical, and motivating. I appreciate the way she's using real, wholesome food that most people can easily incorporate in their lives. She posts recipes, inspiration, print outs, ideas and challenges not only in regards to healthy eating, but lots of focus on nurturing oneself; almost like having a spa retreat. I love it and look forward to more inspiration in the days to come.
One of the things she emphasized was having lemon water made available throughout the day. Yeah. This is kind of a no brainer, but just filling up a decanter and having it sit on the table to remind myself to drink has been so helpful. I'm drinking so much more now. I think that I may have been dehydrated without knowing it. I also believe that my body has freed up so much energy from having to do the work of digesting animal products, meat especially. Doing so has allowed to me add so many more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains to my diet. I'm feeling so alive and light, my thoughts are clearer, and I just feel happy and at peace.
I'm eating so good. I spend time preparing a lot of things to have at stand by. Green smoothies full of dark leafy greens and fruits, homemade granola, warmed leftovers from the previous night's dinner--all these satisfy me in the morning. I look forward to my lunch of salads, dips and raw veggies, or bowls of grains and gently cooked vegetables. Since we've incorporated many of our meals to be meatless, it hasn't been hard for my family. If people want meat, I cook some to have on the side.
It's been so rewarding and fun to spend time in the kitchen, creating all this goodness. Last night I made a "rise and shine breakfast bread" that we'll enjoy this morning. All vegan yumminess.
Here's some other things from this week that have helped put me in a good zone:
I found it very satisfying to take two meals on two different days to a neighbor who hurt her knee and will need surgery and also a meal to a new mother. Serving others makes me happy.
I was able to attend the temple with my dad, Keith, and my sister and brother-in-law this week. Making time for this part of my spirituality is so grounding and edifying.
I was able to spend time with my friend in a creative pursuit. I've already told you how fun it was to work on that sewing project. I loved being able to do that. Creating something with my hands (plus the added bonus of friend time) was so uplifting to my spirit.
Got my hair trimmed yesterday. More movement, more fun, more layers, more ear showing. Fresh.
I spent some one- on- one time this weekend with Keith. We went out for dinner (I was happy and satisfied with my tofu Thai peanut noodle bowl) and a stop at the library. I spend a happy afternoon yesterday out with Eliza shopping for a new dress and out to lunch. Building relationships and spending focused time with my loved ones adds to my joy.
Set an intention at Yoga Nidra last night of having more lovingkindess and patience with my children. Especially when I'm tired and impatient after a long day. That has been my challenge lately. I found that even when I wasn't even consciously thinking about it, I was given times yesterday, before and after Yoga Nidra (a class focused on guided relaxation and visualization that promotes quieting of the mind), I found opportunities placed before me to feel closeness and love toward some of my children. The girls and I were left home when Keith took the boys to my dad's house to watch a college basketball game. We had such a nice, quiet evening together, me cooking and listening; them opening up and talking to me and each other. A very warm and loving environment was created. Then, after I came home from yoga, Sam quietly came up to me and hugged me and asked if I could give him a massage. I was able to have my heart opened to loving him. Doing this gentle service for him brought us both to a spirit of love, unity, and harmony.
Realizing and being mindful all the good that is dropping into my lap and my children's laps. Gratitude is a blessing. Jane got a tutoring job (possibly two more, as well) and Sam was offered to do yard work on Saturday mornings for an elderly neighbor couple down the street. This couldn't have come at a better time, as they both are in need of funds. Learning to work (for others) is something I've wanted for them both.
Yes, I see that I'm using the word "happy" a lot here in this post.
I feel balanced and whole. More than I've felt in a long time.
I guess I'm in the zone.