Pursuing Flow and Imperfection

— 3 minute read

My past few months have been wrought with discovery, process, and reflection contained to the small world of our apartment.

Finally finding frameworks that help me understand my needs in ways I've always felt frustrated and could never quite get; before.

  • I need stability and routine; but it gets boring, quick.
  • I need to move, create, and make; but with purpose & practicality.
  • I need spontaneity; but, I need to plan before & recharge after.

At the same time, I've also grown more comfortable using my current abilities to get things done, coordinate, manage, and organize. I've learned to manage the torrents of self, but I've only ever applied those skills at work.

The hardest thing continues to be using these techniques for my self, not only in service to others. It's a switch of perspective, learned harshly through a year of existence through the pandemic: by prioritizing what I need for a fulfilled life, I can help others far more than when I'm depleted.

In pursuit of flow permalink

Flow's one of those thing's creative people describe when time slips away, engrossed in the thing you're engaged with. For me, flow is coming into perspective far more clearly.

Before naming my neurodivergence, I could get into these flow states easily, most of the time because I was learning and interested in all the things. Those were times when I was fulfilling needs I didn't know I had: the extra movement, extra stimulation, extra new-ness.

In recent months, I've been focusing on finding what I need to flow: my preferred rhythms through a day, week, month. Quick lessons I've learned:

  • Put things on paper. It's one of those life lessons that continues to show itself.
  • I prefer rituals over routine. Routine is the same. Ritual has variety, but provides the same moment and energy.
  • Transitions are critical. I can't just "start" something at a specific hour. I now plan my 'preparation time' or transitions, from one stage of the day to another.
  • Deadlines and accountability. Accountability is nothing without milestones, boundaries, and due dates.
  • Surround myself with support. My partner helps maintain the accountability by keeping on track, my friends have been supportive and caring, my therapists have given space for listening & healing.

Kindness flows towards imperfection permalink

One project in design school was to create something using a natural element, the one you felt closest with. I've always felt a closeness to water.

In the end, I made a complicated slide system stringing together sticks gathered around campus using hemp cord. Pulling different strings would allow the water to flow through the slides in different ways, ending up in a container: me.

It was supposed to represent my process and how I learn. Both flos to and fro. Sometimes the water leaks & falls out. Other times, it makes it all the way to it's hopeful destination. They're both stringed structures and systems, built from things picked up from the ground, left by other life.

Water flows: around, through, in, and all sorts of other prepositions. The thing is it:

  • Adapts to it's surroundings;
  • Takes shape of it's container;
  • Changes state depending on environment;
  • Can be just as destructive as it can joyful.

I've learned my preferred flows through the day, and when things come up, I have other transitions in the day to come back into flow.

Pursuing flow and imperfection is ultimately a pursuit of a life-long practice in self kindness. permalink