“The best moments in our lives are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times… The best moments usually occur if a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.” ~ Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (1990, p. 3)- Pursuit of Happiness
As I ponder on the Theory of Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, its application to education and life in general, it is a refreshing challenge with many layers to it. It’s the belief that happiness is found when one is pushed beyond comfort, this kind of happiness is prepared for and cultivated by setting challenges for one’s self. Contrary to our belief that a a life of no resistance or challenge is ideal, we can all attest that these hard places mold us into better people. As cliche as it sounds.. its a bitter truth. I have seen this scenario play out with my students. Flow is when they encounter a dreaded story that they may have attempted to read but without adequate preparation (vocabulary, language, spelling pattern fluency). As one can imagine the knock in confidence experienced by the student and even anxiety developed from this experience. One day, finally looking at the dreaded story again, after a period of preparation, the students is able to read it with ease and fluency. This is that sweet moment of flow, that peak moment..well, until another challenge is posed. It is characterized by the the removal of the interference of the mind (emotions).
“Consciousness and emotion are there to correct your trajectory; when what you are doing is seamlessly perfect, you don’t need them (Csikszentmihalyi, 2002, p. 116).”
The Theory outlines that when one is in Flow:
- Completely involved ( focused and concentrating) on a creative activity, nothing else seems to matter
- Gives a sense of ecstasy
- Balance of skill and challenge
- Inner clarity
- Knowing the activity/task is possible (no worry of failure)
- Intrinsic motivation
I have just scratched the surface for the purpose of provocation, but this theory resonates strongly within, due to an innate belief in our need for challenge even though faced reluctantly.
I will always exist on a stage..
My career as an actress has been a whole lifetime of experiences I will never forget. In nostalgia I reminisce about the beauty and art of acting. I remember once crying at the end of a performance because at some stage the differentiation between the character and myself was nonexistent, the applause forced the annulment of this union. As a creative, I am passionate and there are no half measures given.. I remember strings of script lines I learnt, the stale smell of wooden stage flooring and musky costume pieces from various eras (the worst looking were always the best!), oh the rush and relief!
Productions I have been part of..
Queeny– Nongogo Athol Fugard (Best Actress Award/Cup)-2007
Mrs Malaprop– The Rivals R.B Sheridan (Best Actress Award/Cup and Best Comic Play Cup-Allied Arts Zimbabwe)- 2006
Lady Bracknell- The Importance of Being Earnest- Oscar Wilde (Best Actress Award/Cup) 2008
Reagan– King Lear– Shakespeare Festival- 2008
Cassy– The Beachboys Musical– REPS Production- 2009
This past month I had the pleasure of presenting my fantastic drama groups’ production on the Elephant’s Child by Rudyard Kipling. As an actress myself most of my childhood and high school memories were tied to the plays I performed in. I remember growing from being an elephant in an African tale, Mary in a Christmas play in primary school to playing Reagan in Shakespeare’s King Lear, Queeny in Athol Fuguard’s Township Plays, Mrs Malaprop in the Rivals by Richard Sheridan and Lady Bracknell in the Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde. These performances took our cast to the HIFA festival in 2007 and we performed at Reps theater too. As the purpose of my blog is to keep a professional log on the things I do I suppose a post about my acting career is warranted…
The beauty of being an educator is discovering the many abilities that lie within each child, the best part is when they evolve from self doubt to rising above their limitations and setting new challenges for themselves. That to me is a natural part of our existence and what life really is about. This play was definitely a test of endurance for the children and myself and they definitely swam!
The importance of dramatic arts and performance hold very close to my heart and as an educator my hope is to continue to provide all children with the opportunity to explore the world of the stage!