Into Flow

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In many ways, this blog is an unsatisfactory and incomplete attempt to describe to others the level of deep contentment I feel rolling along on two wheels.

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Since early 2007 I’ve illustrated and described many of my outings.

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I’ve attempted to convey the left, right, up, down, and the sounds, smell, and feel so that you might sense the deep contentment it gives me.

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But there is a kind of rhythm and flow as the landscape scrolls by at 12 mph, and its description escapes me.

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This is especially true on those longer Saturday morning ambles that include roadside stops for refreshment where I take a moment to ponder how to relate this story of this time and place.

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Not so much for how it was, but for how it helps.

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Yesterday’s loop up to Muenster, Texas is a perfect example.

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The route is more dirt and gravel than pavement, and it is one of my favorites.

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There is a delightful variety of farm, ranch, wide-open-ness, and forest.

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There is emptiness and small town bustle.

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And while you might understand that these are delightful to me, I know I am inadequate in my description of how it touches my soul.

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So maybe there will be another attempt at some future date.

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I’m reading a book titled, “Quiet”, by Susan Cain which seems to confirm my “introvertedness”. There are a few quotes that seem to apply…

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“Flow is an optimal state in which you feel totally engaged in an activity – whether long-distance swimming or songwriting, sumo wrestling, or sex. In a state of flow, you’re neither bored nor anxious, and you don’t question your own adequacy. ┬áHours pass without your noticing.”

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“The key to flow is to pursue an activity for its own sake, not for the rewards it brings.”

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“Flow often occurs…in conditions in which people become independent of the social environment to the degree that they no longer respond exclusively in terms of its rewards and punishments. To achieve such autonomy, a person has to learn to provide rewards to herself.”

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It is an interesting book, but it doesn’t really help me describe the depth of refreshment these rides yield. What it does do, I suppose, is help me better understand why they refresh.

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It seems to have something to do with getting into flow.

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18 thoughts on “Into Flow

  1. Indeed. I’m going through that book right now myself and it certainly reaffirms my sentiment to enjoy thinking, and being slow in things I do. And for sure, it’s something that you can’t really convey to others, and more sadly still, so many never experience this with any regularity.

    Cheers!

  2. Chris,

    Funny that you decided to talk about flow as I was riding yesterday on a 40 miler I just felt in a groove as I rolled along. There is this feeling where I am one with the bike and all other worldly things are pushed away for that time, so I concur. Thanks for sharing your thoughts well done.

    Hugh

  3. I find that flow in bike building (or, assembling, I guess, since I don’t actually craft the frames…) Yesterday I spent a pretty nice hour building up a bike, only to realize that I had actually been at it for 4-1/2 hours, by the time I was done. I don’t need another bike, and I don’t plan on selling that one. I simply had parts lying about and a vision in my head as to what they could become.

    It was a nice afternoon, all in all.

  4. Well… for feeling inadequate in describing your ride… you did a great job. Enjoyed it because I too feel the same. Thanks

  5. Nicely done, both words and pictures. Your take on “Flow” is very similar to a book I have been reading on Zen meditation, called Opening the Hand of Thought. Keep at it.

  6. Nicely done. For some reason, I find it easier to get into the flow-state on gravel or trails than on pavement. I think it has something to do with the extra concentration required to keep everything rolling along. Not a lot of extra, just enough extra to keep the mind entirely occupied, on some level, with making micro-adjustments to the terrain.

  7. Chris, I love your blog. You are a great writer, who puts things in perspective so that anyone can understand what you wish to convey.

  8. I think you are doing quite well at conveying your contentment and enjoyment in your rides. The photos are wonderful and an excellent compliment to your observations. Your blog is a calm place in a hectic internet world.

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