It’s summer. My days are chopped up and writing time is elusive. My children are home and my actions are more reactive than self-directed. I miss writing and self-direction.
My man has been traveling, entertaining and hosting his family. Our cozy routine of quality time and intimate intimacy has been deconstructed. I miss quality intimacy.
Kissing creativity goodbye
I am still in the process of transitioning from school year routines to summer chaos. The freestyle rhythm of June, July and August is both liberating and unnerving. One would think the openness of summer’s schedule would facilitate creativity but it stifles it. Like an errant morning-glory, I need a structure to cling to, a structure of my own design.
I don’t have large swaths of time to read, ponder and pontificate. Ideas begin to formulate but then my mind is called back to earth by the phone ringing or an impromptu request from one of my children to be driven somewhere. Interruptions disrupt joyful mental munching so often it’s tempting to just give up, but I don’t think I could do that if I wanted to. Daydreaming and leisurely innovating are natural inclinations that beg to be fulfilled.
I miss kissing
I miss being alone with my man. Both of us have been surrounded by family lately. That is a beautiful thing but not all that conducive to one on one intimacy, and I do not mean just physical intimacy. I mean holding hands, going for walks, sitting on the couch talking for hours, connecting. In summer there is a lot less lingering and a lot more movement and socializing. The meaningful closeness felt while lingering over a well prepared meal or while giggling during pillow talk has been put on the back burner.
I want to go with the flow
I feel anxious and at loose ends. I haven’t been sleeping well. I know why.
The flow state that fuels me is absent. I am without that deeply engaging state where I am present, focused and almost in a trance. During such moments time slips away and there is a feeling of true satisfaction. This space charges my batteries.
According to the scientist behind the revelation and research of flow, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi Ph.D., a flow state includes ten core components but not all of the components have to be present at one time in order to reach the highly focused state. The core components as listed in Forbes magazine article, Flow States: Answers to the Three Most Common Questions About Optimal Performance, are:
Concentration: a high degree of concentration on a limited field of attention.
A loss of the feeling of self-consciousness: the merging of action and awareness.
Distorted sense of time: one’s subjective experience of time is altered.
Direct and immediate feedback: successes and failures are apparent, so behavior can be adjusted as needed.
Balance between ability level and challenge: the activity is neither too easy nor too difficult.
A sense of personal control over the situation.
The activity is intrinsically rewarding, so action is effortlessness.
A lack of awareness of bodily needs.
Absorption: narrowing of awareness down to the activity itself.
Your work space is invaded, now what?
The acts of reading and writing put me in flow. I could do it all day and barely need to eat, but the kind of concentration needed to get into that mode is almost unheard of during my summer months. It is always stressful and frustrating at first because I forget how the loss of deep engagement time affects me. I forget how empty my energy tank gets and how edgy my nerves are when my work space is invaded and neglected.
But then I switch gears and put in place more active practices that also allow me to enter that heady flow state. I kickstart my fitness routines. I find the perfect challenge and focus while working my body. I take the kids to the lake for fishing or beach play. Water is a mighty soother and allows my thoughts to expand in its natural beauty and vastness. I get up early and work with increased discipline. It’s actually kind of lovely to experience the first sunlight in a silent house.
That’s life my dear
Meaningful connection with my partner is another realm of flow for me. The interactions, particularly conversations and physical affection, are intrinsically rewarding and completely absorb my attention.
My man is a doer and thrives on action. He rarely says no to requests from others, including me. He claims to be an introvert but, I am not so sure. Whenever I mention my frustration with being so busy we do not have quality kickback time, he says, That’s life my dear. He is much more accepting of it. I fight it internally, which I know is only detrimental.
I will say that my man’s flexible nature influences me in a good way. If he is at ease, and continues to stand by my side (and I by his), through all of the familial and social obligations, then I believe I can do it too. We are often working separately together but there is a point in the future when we will come together more intimately. For now, we may not get as many quiet, eye-gazing moments but we are taking on important and even fun activities that need our attention. It is deeply satisfying to know I have such a steadfast partner.
Self-direction and routine will return in the fall. In the meantime, I’ll get my zen moments in the early morning hours before the house is awake.
High quality intimacy exists in the summer. I know. Gatherings around a table under a shady tree provide the perfect atmosphere for meaningful conversations. Sitting on the boat with your special person as the sun sets, can be just as fulfilling as sitting on the couch next to a fireplace.
Flow states exist in the summer. They are simply by different means.
Is there a SAD (Seasonally Affected Disorder) for introverts in the summer as it is such an outward and outgoing season? As an introvert, how does summer affect you internally?
If this piece resonated or affected you in a meaningful way, I would truly appreciate it if you would share it with others who may benefit.