Most days when I am working in my studio, I am completely lost in my my art-making. My hands get into their own rhythm as I cut, shape, glue, manipulate and stitch leather. The hours seem to fly by and before I realize it, it is time for me to stop for the day. Another of my  favorite books explores flow; that experience and state of being that is best described as total engagement. Add this to your must-read list: Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention by Mihaly Csikszentmihali

Csikszentmihali describes flow as having the following characteristics:

“1) There are clear goals every step of the way … in flow we always know what needs to be done.

2) There is immediate feedback to one’s actions … in a flow experience we know how well we are doing.

3) There is a balance between challenges and skills … in flow, we feel that our abilities are well matched to the opportunities for action.

4) Action and awareness are merged … in flow, our concentration is focused on what we do.

5) Distractions are excluded from consciousness … Flow is the result of intense concentration on the present,  which reliees us of the usual fears that cause depression and anxiety in everyday life.

6) There is no worry of failure. While in flow, we are too involved to be concerned with failure.

7) Self-consciousness disappears. In flow, we are too involved in what we are doing to care about protecting the ego.

8. The sense of time becomes distorted. Generally in flow we forget time, and hour may pass by in what seem like a few minutes.

9) The activity becomes autotelic. . . . something that is an end in itself.  There is no reason for doing them except to feel the experience they provide. ” (p. 111-113)

May we always be so fortunate to find flow in our lives!