Feel the Flow

By Patrick McNerthney

Our production schedule for celebrating Halloween and Christmas rivals that of major motion pictures. 

Dates and times are selected weeks in advance for decorating, which fall into exterior operations (me:inflatables, lights, pyrotechnics; interior operations (my wife:lights, pillows, towels, fingertip towel, doormats, eight million tchotchkes collected over the course of the past year–yes, even in a pandemic), and in the case of Christmas, the inevitable and ultimately enviable, TREE). The entire process involves synchronized start/stop times,endless hours of hard labor, and a tremendous sense of satisfaction (ahem, that would be for my wife…) upon completion.  

This same unforgiving schedule applies to un-decorating post-holiday, which typically begins (at a minimum) 90 seconds after sunrise the following day. Which is why we and the entire neighborhood, were surprised to find our Christmas decorations still up last weekend, January 8-9, 2022. It turns out a five-inch snowfall followed by a week’s worth of 20-degree temperatures tundra-fied the neighborhood and was enough to inspire my wife to announce, “Just wait until the snow’s gone.” At least I now know she has limits. (Of course, this didn’t even slow her down, not even a little, indoors, as she stripped and packed up interior Christmas on Sunday, December 26, 2022, at approximately 7:55 a.m.)

(Up an at’em! Time to strip Christmas!)

Thus, last Saturday I spent the late morning unplugging and loosely winding up lights (which inevitably won’t survive a year in storage, forcing me to purchase new ones next December), deflating and packing up, like 50 inflatables, and crawling through the bushes winding up the 980 feet of extension cords it took to power it all. Oh, and don’t forget the various plug adapters, the pins and stakes that hold the inflatables down, and, you forgot the set of lights in the back, and all the outdoor timers. Got it. Now to just take everything out of the shed…put all this stuff in bags and then shove it (very neatly) in the very back of the darn shed for next year…

It turned into a three-hour tour. Luckily it wasn’t raining. First dry day in three weeks. Not sunny; just not raining. This contributed to something important: Strain and annoyance transformed into this weird kind of relaxed effort. The voices in my head that remind me of my excruciating, nagging worries remained silent. Full inboxes vanished. Texts didn’t exist (I normally listen to music from my phone when I do this stuff, but I chose to forgo this for once.) My only interruptions came from brief exchanges with neighbors similarly enjoying the dry weather. Which was kind of nice, given that they were actual humans, in real life, and the conversations lacked agendas.

Indeed, I was in a “flow” state. This happens when we lose ourselves in our work, simply connecting with what we’re doing now, without commentary or doubt. Time slows, satisfaction (even from winding up an extension cord) abounds, and we are engaged.

(Yes, water is really good at flow, and gets to where it’s going no matter what.)

The best way to ruin this blissful state is via the world of measurement. “Am I the last one in the neighborhood to be doing this?” “Are these passersby judging my house?” “When I bend over am I grunting too loudly; showing my underwear, or worse–am I doing the plumber thing?” 

It’s even easier to halt flow – or never achieve it in the first place – at work. Using a yardstick to measure if we’re ahead of the other runners (whether colleagues or competitors), hitting our metrics, or progressing according to milestones not only eliminates any sense of satisfaction in what we’re actually accomplishing, but (ironically) interrupts what we want in the first place: Progress. 

The point is, flow is awesome, and we all deserve to work in this state. When was the last time this happened for me? Uh…oh …letsee here…last weekend for sure…but before that…hmmmm. 

When was the last time it happened for you? Or for your residents or loved ones?

Fine Art Miracles (FAM) is all about helping caregivers, and those they care for, find flow. Creative expression is a great way to get lost in precious moments of relaxed effort. The course of simply making turns off the faucet of intrusive, unhelpful thoughts. And everyone deserves a break from those!

But there’s more to it than that. It turns out Art Therapy, Dance and Movement Therapy, Drama Therapy, (brand-new) Drumming & Exercise Therapy, and ART2GO packages connect the elderly, children with challenges, and anyone who needs assistance with daily living, connect with feelings and emotions that fight anxiety and depression: Confidence, self-worth, a sense of mastery, and relevance to the outside world. And when you deliver this to your residents and loved ones as a caregiver, you feel like you matter, and can make a difference, too! 

Let Fine Art Miracles help you, and those you care for, find your flow. They’re happy to help! Drop them a note or give them a call anytime. 

Well, the decorations are down, but the wife just informed me that we’re cleaning the house today. My job is usually the bathroom. I wonder if I can feel the flow while scrubbing the toilet? I’ll let you know…


Skip to content