I love my work, but
although the spirit is strong, this morning I was feeling physically and mentally
spent. I was particularly looking forward to revitalizing in
the tranquil open spaces of the mountains.
Seneca alerts us that
a balanced life is the better life, and that we must also engage in solitude as well as service. "It is important
to withdraw into one's self."
When I'm at work, I am focused, service- and other-directed. From the
first second that I am in the office to the last when I leave, my mind is on
high-alert. I give each of my clients the best of my brain
power, and the endorphins generated by being of service to individuals
I get into a state that
psychologists call "flow" - an almost meditative condition where people can
achieve leaps towards solving complex problems. It's the state
where you start work, look up, and notice that four hours have passed.
Flow. The concept of "flow" was first proposed by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in his book
Flow : The
Psychology of Optimal Experience. Flow has been
described as a sort of zen-like living in the present through
complete absorption in activity, which is a singularly
productive and desirable state.
Reviewer Peter J.
"Csikszentmihalyi defines "flow" as the feeling of effortlessness of action we experience at the best
moments in our lives. People in flow are completely focused; self-consciousness and the awareness of time give
way to full immersion in the moment. We usually attain flow when faced with clear and challenging goals that
stretch our abilities without overtaxing them. Most often people have "flow
experiences" when they engage in their favorite activities, whether
playing or working."
I can work non-stop, unaware of
hunger or thirst. Every workday, I see a consistently maximum
client load. Between clients, I flow right into administrative duties, including making
calls, seeing product pushers, doing paper work, helping with office
decision-making and problem-solving, being available for
spur-of-the-moment consultations, and staying connected and in
communication with my co-workers.
I regard my time as
valuable and finite, and I treat that time with respect. I make it a habit to not
fritter away or squander any productive time. I am a One
Minute Manager; I abhor formal, unproductive, drawn-out
meetings. Meetings for the sake of meetings. Gag. Rather than making extra trips back in
the office for meetings, I prefer to meet individually with my
co-workers over lunch.
Since my schedule is
booked weeks, if not months in advance, there are no open spots
that can absorb schedule glitches. If our clients' needs require
that I go over-time, or if they arrive late, or my co-workers are
running behind, I
leave later in the day.
I work as an exempt
professional, and consider it a privilege to do so. My role
models inspire me: God is not an
hourly worker and Jesus' work knew no bounds in time and
space. Both work in Flow.
allows me to stay in flow, enabling me to accomplish
in one day what most will take a day and a half, maybe even two
days, to accomplish. At ten years, we achieved what take
most offices take 20 years to accomplish. At twenty
years, we will have surpassed our predescessors by four
goodness for Doni's and Cia's thoughtfulness. They knew that
I had scheduled a client who needed comfort during my lunch
hour. They had a
tasty chicken sandwich and a cup of coffee waiting for me in DH's
office. During my administrative hour, Cia stopped by and Doni
pulled up a chair to chat. I got caught up in my day, and thanks to
them, I remained nourished and in flow.
"To live means to experience--through doing,
feeling, thinking. Experience takes place in time, so time is the ultimate scarce resource we have.
Over the years, the content of experience will determine the quality of life. Therefore one of the
most essential decisions any of us can make is about how one's time is allocated or invested."
~ Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
I choose to work in flow, uninterrupted. For
me, flow is an efficient work mode. I am neither a
workaholic, nor am I a martyr. I reward myself with full days to recuperate, refresh, and,
these days, to get into spirit flow.
A body cannot live on
endorphins alone. Today, it was with
concentrated effort that I got my body in gear. Determined to get
on the road to the mountains as soon as DH got home, I tackled the housecleaning, dishes and laundry, and packed for the
When DH got home, I was
champing at the bit. But darn if I didn't
forget to eat lunch. Sitting in the car, I realized that I
was famished. On the way up, we stopped at Arby's. We don't
often stop at Arby's, so when we do, it is a treat. I
slathered my sandwich with horsey sauce (I love the stuff) and
On the way up the
mountain, I spotted a golden hawk soaring over Snow Valley. What a
I felt like I, too,
could fly up the mountain.
"Problems are solved only when we devote a great deal of attention to them and in a creative
~ Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
After we'd unpacked
and settled in, our neighbors, Pat and Bernie with Bear, the
handsome black Chow, stopped by and the world's tragic events came
closer to home. Today is Pat's 49th birthday. She
almost didn't make it.
Pat was supposed to be at the World Trade
Center for a meeting on 9-11!
Thank goodness, a
meeting in Chicago went overtime, and she spent an extra night
there. It wasn't her time, she says. It was, however, time for
over 200 of her fellow AON employees. It has been a very
difficult time for her. This is the first time that Pat has
been up for some time, and I am happy for her that she is here to
decompress this weekend.
goodness, took an early retirement a year ago. He's been having
the time of his life up on the mountain. Like Pat, he also has lost friends in
the WTC; as many as 200 of his former risk-management
insurance firm's staff perished.
Claudia and Jeff
stopped by and invited us to dinner at the Japanese
restaurant. They picked us up at 5, and we had a
relaxing time sharing bottles of Sapporo beer and enjoying shrimp
tempura, salmon teriyaki, California rolls, and seafood
sukiyaki. DH and I are sushi addicts at the bar, so we
rarely order off the menu, off the bar. We were very much
impressed with the table menu, and the prices are affordable, at
least $5 less per meal, than the Japanese restaurants we frequent
down the hill. We'll have to come back again to sample more
of their table menu.
C&J are seriously
considering selling their San Clemente home to buy or build or
remodel a permanent, full-time residence up here in the mountain
sunshine. They'll need a place with room enough for
their boat and future fifth-wheel, as C's son Jason may be
transferring from Las Vegas to Chicago. The fifth-wheel sounds like
a perfect vehicle to go visit their adorable grandson, Jordan and
his dog, Skip, her son and her button-pushin' daughter-in-law.
This is a happy,
in their lives, and you can see the excitement and sense of adventure in their
eyes. They've had their share of adversities before they found each
other. Claudia described a stint working at a bingo parlor
to help make ends meet for her and her two boys. This
was before she met Jeff.
Jeff is her
knight in shining armor ... and she's his catch of his life.
A beautiful pairing.
We got back in time
for the TV show, Providence.
We are fans of actor, producer, human rights activist, death
penalty opponent, and humanitarian, Mike
Farrell and his character's golden retriever, Fearless.
"Life is a Gift."
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