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In search of “flow”

June 25, 2014.Oliver.0 Likes.8 Comments

It’s a strange feeling. I dip the pen into the small ink pot and put the tip onto the paper. The ink leaves a moody trace and I watch its shape until the streak weakens. I dip the pen into the ink again and draw another line and follow its flow. I try to figure out a shape. I would like to discover scenery, mountains, lakes and trees, but what I spot is a skyline. An unimpressive and monotonous conglomeration of lines. Straight lines instead of bold curves. I write what I see, not what I feel. In a way this strange pot filled with ink seems to lack depth – no matter how deep I actually dip the pen…

ink falling by Mycatkins

ink falling by Mycatkins

I might be a bit stuck at the moment. I am questioning a few things but not the core. Starting this journal has been a blessing and it still is. It was a well needed creative boost and the reunion with some good old friends: poetry and writing. I still consider Coffee-Stained Journal a journey. Things have changed already since I set out and they will keep changing. However, I was wondering if I might be juggling too much, picking up idea after idea and eventually dropping almost all of them. I was wondering if I should deliberately shift priority from curating content to creating more of it. I keep pondering…

But there’s also a certain weight that seems to have slowed down the flow. I feel more rooted in the monotony of everyday life than I would like to. I seem to lack the balance required for the continuous tightrope walk between job and what I consider vocation.

A while ago I came up with quite a fitting definition for this phenomenon: “I would be more productive, if I wouldn’t be working.”

Feverish with enthusiasm

It has been almost two weeks now when the last page of this journal has been turned and filled with some sparks of inspiration. The curiosity, the awareness that we are surrounded by inspiration wherever we go, the awareness to be surrounded by inspirational people without even knowing is present. But I don’t seem to be there actually, in the present. I constantly stumble across delightful things and stuff them into my pocket. However, it keeps growing. It’s a bit like ambling along the shore as a jovial scavenger, combing through pebbles and seashells and putting some exceptional finds into my pockets. Intending to show them to someone else, along with some stories feverish with enthusiasm. Sharing a sense of marvel. Sharing sense. For now I keep strolling. I keep searching…

Without noticing I seem to have lost focus. The flow seems to be missing. And to some extent the ability to surprise myself. The blank page didn’t feel like throwing myself into, the words didn’t seem to sink in. I may have been afraid of seeing the ink roll off from the surface I merely seem to scratch.

I always have a sense of trembling—but so does a compass, after all.
– Jerzy Kosinski

I mentioned a compass before in this journal, declaring curiosity the compass of life. Is direction or better say its lack my problem right now or is it distance? Am I missing the path or simply the pace? Am I missing inspiration or motivation??

I like telling myself time is the matter. Time to sit down and think. Time to sit down and write. Time to sit down and carve thoughts. Writing, not for the sake of filling a page, a piece of paper, but rather emptying my mind. I believe my mind is soaked. But there seems to be something preventing me from squeezing it out.

I would love to pick up where I left off – not thinking about writing, but writing about thoughts. Throwing myself into it again, achieving this ecstatic state of flow

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Categories: Stories

Comments (8)

  • Gillian . June 26, 2014 . Reply

    I wonder if it’s the time of year? I have also been feeling what I call ‘uncentered’ – I spend my days pedalling trying to discover the root of it as I believe that we all have the power to change what is not working…the tricky part is discovering what it is. Best of luck as you ponder your own journey Oliver.

    • (Author) Oliver . June 26, 2014 . Reply

      Gillian, thank you so much for your wonderful insight! I really like the idea “that we all have the power to change what is not working…the tricky part is discovering what it is” and I couldn’t agree more! I think feeling “uncentered” as you put is so well is usually the result of a gradual process, so it may take a while to retrace that path that led us there while keeping our eyes peeled for tiny clues…
      Not sure if I ever mentioned the wordplay before, but I appreciate the art of “thinkling”: celebrating an inner dialogue while absorbing some of the quietude you are pedalling through…
      Best of luck for your own quest as well Gillian and thanks again for the food of thought! Take care and pedal on… 🙂

  • Mirha Masala . July 2, 2014 . Reply

    Dear Oliver,

    I am wondering if you’re missing affirmation .. which may translate (in) directly to motivation.

    Love your words.


    • (Author) Oliver . July 2, 2014 . Reply

      Mirha, thank you so much for your lovely feedback! Quite an interesting approach I have to say, need to think about it. Right now I would say that I despair of a lack of energy and/or clarity. I feel like dedicating not enough time and self into my “quest” which may in a way already lead to your assumption!?
      Enjoy the vibrant tranquillity of lovely Amsterdam and keep spinning! 🙂

  • Allysse Riordan . July 3, 2014 . Reply

    I hope you will find back your flow soon 🙂

    I often find that getting away from everything on my own helps when I’m feeling out of balance and uncertain about too much. Escaping from my daily routine and the online world have always helped me get direction and motivation back if only by being away from it all and having space to let go of the clutter of everyday life.

    I don’t know if it would work for you though. It is a mere suggestion in the hope it will help you find back your way.

    • (Author) Oliver . July 5, 2014 . Reply

      Allysse, thanks a lot for your kind words and your suggestion! I think change is always a good thing, like moving on once you figured out the direction. I’m convinced that getting away from it all tends to be a good guide; like for a while stepping outside that bubble that surrounds you, sort of measuring its dimension and gaining a different perspective. Basically disconnecting from a few things in order to reconnect with yourself…
      I hope to feel a sense of flow again soon. You take care and I hope you are at ease and feel the balance!

  • Charlie . August 10, 2014 . Reply

    The feeling of being lost, especially with my writing, comes and goes regularly for me. I also flit between reasons for wanting to write and run a blog too – I mean, sometimes it’s personal, sometimes to let my family know where I am, sometimes to engage a wider audience, sometimes as a portfolio for myself… and I lose focus when I’m flitting between all of those things. I think lack of clarity is part of human nature though, and we just keep going anyway. Keep writing those thoughts…

    • (Author) Oliver . August 11, 2014 . Reply

      Thanks for your comment Charlie, I really appreciate your thoughts! I think you are right, it is and probably will always be some sort of roller coaster indeed. I like writing for it is or can be: making a silent monologue visible and “retracing” your own thoughts.
      The “lack of clarity” as you put it must be indeed somewhat rooted in human nature. Sometimes we almost seem to “unknowingly seek distraction” and try to walk in different directions at the same time. The wonderful thing about life: change. Even though we may have clarity before choosing a path and sort of a clear picture in mind how that distant “thing” may look like, our perspective almost certainly will change on the way. So in the end clarity might be the map of an unknown place, but one also can get lost and wander off nonetheless…
      Thanks again for your encouragement Charlie and let’s keep getting lost every now and then in order to rediscover our path… 🙂

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