I went to college right out of high school because I had a track and field scholarship but I had no idea what to study so I wasted the next two years of my life. I took two years off of school before I went back to college at 21. This time I had it totally figured out.
A couple months earlier when I asked a group of people at a party what I should major in, some guy I had never seen before said, “You should major in computer programming. I just graduated and it was cool and easy.”
I liked math. I like computers. I liked easy. What could go wrong?
Nothing! I loved it! I didn’t so much love my calculus classes or my statistics class but my computer classes were fascinating. Hard (that guy lied) but amazing.
This was back in the dark ages before everyone owned their own computer let alone a laptop so I went to the computer lab on campus to write my programs. One day I went to the lab after lunch and wonder why I was getting kicked out after just getting started only to realize it was midnight and the lab was closing. I hadn’t eaten or moved out of my seat for ten hours and my mind had completely exited normal time. This happened to me several times while I was there.
I’ve heard several podcasts the last couple years that talk about flow and I know exactly what they’re talking about because it has happened to me so many times and not just with computer programming.
Flow happens when your mind is so absorbed with what you are doing that it has no concept of time passing. When your mind is in Flow you are focused so intently that you can accomplish amazing things.
Flow doesn’t happen when you have little children getting into things and telling you about their hungry tummies and their little owies but something like it has been happening to us this week when we practice. The other day we got up and did our regular practicing for three hours in the morning, after lunch we had a two hour family music lesson and then after dinner my eleven year old and i practiced for another three hours and she was telling me how much fun she was having before we finally got too tired and had to go to bed.
The next day something similar happened when we realized we had forgotten about lunch and had practiced for five hours before we were forced to quit and feed everyone. Today we played another four hours before we had to get to an appointment.
A year ago people would start crying if I suggested we practice longer than an hour.
Years ago I read In My Father’s House where Corrie Ten Boom talks about a family that would play music together every evening for something like six hours and I remember thinking how strange that was but I get it now! It’s not that I don’t want to do anything else but when we are practicing my mind is so focused and energized that I don’t want to do anything else.
And it isn’t practicing anymore. It’s flowing.