The Flow is Dead, Long Live the Flow
Some might call it writer’s block. Some may have lost interest or even lost the passion. Some might just feel tired of what they consider the weekly grind and perhaps feel that their well of creativity has run dry. Some might feel that no one has been listening to them, their words, and become frustrated that their attempts to make a difference were flailing and failing the intent.
Some might feel that their lives are moving in a different direction, and they needed some time, some space to follow a new and unknown path. Some of those folks might have an idea where that path was going, but some, as myself was waiting to see what doors might open as I wandered along, aimlessly with no sense of time or direction. For those, some may be suffering and feel the loss, while for some others they could fully accept that that too, is part of their journey of life, and had its own lessons waiting to be discovered.
Some might find crossroads or new branches to explore, start something new and alas, find out that those were part of the learning and destinations of their own, but not quite the land that they would settle down in for some time. Those that recognized these learnings could move on and continue the journey, while those that lamented the travels would often get stuck. Perhaps that was the sustenance of that writer’s block -the blockness, the blackness, that disconnects the words in one’s mind from achieving coherency as meaningful messages to others — that eats them from the inside out.
Some may just be tired and never want to return to where they once were, either with some reason or no reason at all.
Some just might find not so much a way back, but perhaps a way forward, and learn, once again, that the words could be strung together in a meaningful way, at least to themselves, and hopefully for some others, that at least for the moment could banish the latest round of “stuckness” to a place in their personal history with no power in their present. A place of respect for sure, of lessons for certain, and a place of understanding that all is well with their journey.
I am one of those “some” that I talk about above.
I recently saw an article reporting the death of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. I was somewhat familiar with this name but when the article described him as “a psychologist and best-selling author who coined the term “flow” to describe the sense of creativity that emerges from an intense absorption in a challenging activity, whether in the arts, sports, business or a hobby,” I was able to place his contribution to the world as I remember reading his 1990 book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience.
I am not certain whether I read the book or watched his 2004 TED talk, but the concept of Flow was burned into my being.
In 2015 I published my first book, my memoir No! Maybe? Yes! Living My Truth, which was more than my own story, as a transgender woman, transitioning at the age of 64. It was also an invitation and encouragement to everyone that living an authentic life is a challenge for many people for so many different reasons, not just those within the LGBT community. When I published this book in January 2015 I wrote my first blog on Huffington Post, titled My Transgender Life: Transitioning at Age 64. What I thought of, at the time as one blog turned out to be a weekly blog on Huffington that lasted for over 2 years. For those interested, all of these blogs can be found now on my own website, and the blogs from 2015 became my second book, Musings on Living Authentically. For the next two plus years through 2017, I was in the FLOW, and pretty much each week found it easy to sit down each Monday morning and within a few hours write and hit publish on HuffPo another blog under the My Transgender Life label. In 2017, this slowed down for a variety of reasons on my part, and the changes in HuffPo’s contributor platform, but looking back, I can certainly recognize each one of those reasons I started this story with.
In 2018 I was inspired to create another book, that was not directly focused on the Trans world or community as my sense of passion to make a difference to everyone in a completely different way, as I created a guided journal titled Handbooks for Humans Volume 1 — Learn to Manage your Attitudes in all your Relationships.
And then the Flow disappeared.
Now, in 2021, the world has changed. I have changed. Over the past 3 years, I have dabbled with podcasts, a streaming video program, that have begun with great excitement and passion, which I found did not stick. The parts of me that said “Grace, you can do all this!” blended and ran the show for a while but did not stick. No not stuck, as I tried the different areas for my creativity, but none brought me back to those 2+ years of FLOW in my writing. Today, a decade after I transitioned, and for many of those years being an activist and leader in the local trans community, there are so many thoughts, concepts and ideas that have been formulating in my mind and have been internally screaming to be let out. I think there are at least four more Handbooks for Humans that want to come out, and I also think there is another memoir of sorts that wants to be able to string some coherent words together. It even has a working title — My Life in Uggs.
I think that seeing the article on the death of Csikszentmihalyi, has somehow awaken that sleeping Flow once again. At least enough for me to sit down and write this piece here. I know there are so many words, and concepts that flow through my mind and hope that that flow can FLOW into a creative form that may impact some or at least one of you who may read it.
I wonder if the FLOW is back and if I can return to the weekly story. There is no longer the need that this be MTL — My Transgender Life. Being trans is just part of me. I have no reason to deny it, just as I have no reason to let it define me. I have been a trans activist for some time, but deep in my being I know and know well, that my mission is that of a human activist, that each of us, needs to find the courage to live authentically. My stories, my blogs will be not about my trans life (MTL) but about My Life Today — MLT, with the topics that come up for me, or perhaps if you are interested, ones you might suggest. I welcome your feedback, hopefully constructive.
I hope that the Once and Future blog can flow from my fingers.
“The best thing for being sad,” replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, “is to learn something. That’s the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honors trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.”
― T.H. White, The Once and Future King