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" … secretly hoping I won't see it here lest our eyes meeting simply chase it away again."

Disruption seems in endless conflict with flow, that mystical state from where, the Self-Helpless Industry insists, real creativity, productivity, and most every other -ivity floweth. Simple disruptions seem every bit as powerful as their larger, more complex brethren, pulling my eye off whatever ball I'm trying to stay focused upon and thereby fouling me out. A small jot of turbulence renders me unable to read the fascinating novel I carried on to entertain me through the flight. I feel trapped then, unable to do much of anything but struggle to suppress what I understand to be a completely unwarranted panic. Losing a wing could hardly induce any greater disruptive response.

I return from a lengthy absence, expecting to quickly regain the old groove, only to find that groove not nearly as smooth as I remember it being before I left. Grooven't.
A couple of struggling days yields no more than the increasing conviction that I might not be getting back into that groove. Rather than unselfconsciously slide along, as I'd done before vacating, I notice myself more discerning now, questioning rather than simply replicating patterns that once seemed to serve me so well. Easily distracted, I maintain flight speed by flitting between bright shinies, a little of this then a little of that, like a disoriented hummingbird rather than a lumbering jetliner. My flow has gone to turbulence. My trajectory now indiscernible.

Some counsel that adopting a habit or two might straighten me up enough to fly right into a flow state again, though this advice seems short-sighted. It presumes that I might know now what I might only learn later, that I might devise a prescription that could cure ills not yet diagnosed. The absence of flow is not a disease. It renders me no less likely to stumble upon another transforming insight. The turbulent mind might know no specific direction, but it isn't necessarily lost. I prefer to consider my present state to be one of orienting myself. Who knows where up or down might turn out to be this time around? I'll try to be sanguine even though I can feel the panic rising inside me.

My flowing within a groove state might represent just another sort of stuckness, the kind that cloaks its most limiting characteristics with reassuring wind whistling through my hair. I feel as though I'm really going somewhere then and rarely think to stop to recalibrate my old supposedly reliable compass. Disrupted, I begin to feel as though I might have been misleading myself before, mistaking my ease of passage as evidence of continuing progress, when I might have just been exhibiting circular flow, circling around some drain, or headed for a waterfall sort of wake up call too late to answer once the terminal current took me in.

That's the galling element of flow. From within it, one couldn't know and doesn't even really care to know how it came about. Though we can't explain it, we revere it, and respect its presumed wisdom, whether or not it exhibits any real wisdom of its own at all. I swear sometimes that I would trade everything I've ever earned or loved for another taste of flow, even though I know that nobody really knows how to induce it or why it stays or where it goes when some disruption startles it away. It most often seems to be one of those elements conspicuous only in its absence and necessarily ignored when present. The mere awareness of the presence of flow seems to chase it away. It seems to easily ignore invitations to return until my back's turned. Then it might reappear, secretly hoping I won't see it here lest our eyes meeting simply chase it away again.

©2018 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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