Monday, December 12, 2016

Having flow, I can fake it with the best! (12/12/2016)

Last week I experienced flow again.  It was a crazy couple of days.  I was on the road for six days, two three day stretches, with a Friday and Saturday of relative rest (home chores) in between.  I put over 1000 miles on the vehicle that I got from our motor pool that week (thank goodness it was not my own car).  

When I was a young kid, driving large distances really did not bother me, I remember that day that we drove from just outside Little Rock, Arkansas to Wilmington Delaware (1,100+ miles) in one day, and the next day we went for a large hike.  This last time, I had to drive back at night in the dark in the pouring rain; at times I had zero visibility.  The day after, I was sitting in the office feeling like a zombie; it was an almost completely unproductive day.

You would think that after driving to the location where I teach, followed by a rotten (first) night in a different bed (motel room), I would be out of it.  I might feel like it, but the moment I step into the classroom, it is like a switch is being flipped. 
Ready to start my day of teaching this past Monday 12/5/2016.  Boy, I have never used that many selfies in my blog!  But you can see, I was kind of out of it, not yet ready to get going, but it changed once I opened my mouth. This picture was manipulated with a small program called Prisma; I used the Mosaic option.
I have this ritual when I teach and it really helps me get my stuff together.  I can be in the crappiest mood, or tired; drag myself out of my motel bed and into the room where I will be teaching, but when I get in there, I forget about it all.  I can literally solo teach for six or seven hours; be on; be engaging; feel great; and simply do not let on what’s the matter with me.  I give it my everything!  Oh yes, I can fake it with the best!  But when when the class is done and the last person leaves the room, I am done for, I am exhausted.  As a fellow teacher of mine and I once compared: "Good teaching is like good sex, you are exhausted after that."  Hopefully I am teaching a second day and I can go back to my motel room and go for a nap.  Having to drive back to the office and then back home is tortuous at times.  

No, I am trying to show off or complaining.  I am just sharing my technique; my way of doing it.  I probably take it too far and exhaust myself too much, but I made a promise to myself to never give a boring class.

My morning ritual is really simple.  I get to the room where I teach about a half hour early, set up, put out the sign-in sheet, and then I try to make small talk.  I talk with people (I think) I know.  I ask them about their life, make small talk, and I am personable.  It is a one on one link that I establish with a few that helps me teach, it allows me to search them out later and make eye contact.  Being an introvert, this is my way of drawing me out of my shell, and getting me in that mindset of putting myself out there and teach; of focusing of the task at hand.  I learned this a long time ago; I need to socialize to get the juices flowing.  Even during the breaks I give people; I don’t even get to go to the restroom, but I am in front of the class answering questions and talking to people.  Usually I am on all the time, with just enough time for lunch.  That is often the only time when I don't mind being on my own, that is my time to recharge for the afternoon session.

For me it is all about being in the zone, having flow.  As I mentioned in my post on how sailing meditates me, flow is important.  When you have flow you forget the bad things that surround you.  You forget that you are tired, you live on adrenaline, you are in the zone.  You fake it with the best!  Or do you really?  Maybe it is genuine; I really genuinely care about what I teach and I care about my students; otherwise I would go through the motions and not achieve flow.

So how do you achieve flow?  To each his or her own, but as I mentioned, I have somewhat of a ritual.  Owen Schaffer mentioned that there are seven conditions for getting, being and staying in flow:
  • High perceived challenges
  • High perceived skills
  • Knowing what to do
  • Knowing how to do it
  • Knowing how well you are doing
  • Knowing where to go (where navigation is involved ... or maybe my ritual)
  • Freedom from distractions
This is how I am when I sail, teach, kayak, bike, work on my bonsais, and when I go for a nice walk in nature.  Interesting isn't it?  To think that I am not even that good at some of these things or really do not know what I am doing, I get to that state of flow.  Enemies to flow are boredom, apathy and anxiety.  Flow keeps you alive, boredom, apathy and anxiety are killers.

Nothing better than a morning hike through the woods, exploring life and death around you.  Here is where I experience flow, forget about it all and take photographs to document nature's beauty, even a dead tree that is slowly decaying.

No comments:

Post a Comment