Return to focus and flow.

Sarah - 035

Like many of us, I’ve noticed my attention capacity has degraded since a smartphone arrived in my life.

Now, I skim articles more than I used to. I lose patience with novels that have long, dense paragraphs of description. Most evenings, I prefer watching well-written shows about complex characters to reading them. Social media has changed my consciousness.

As much as I love good screenwriting, I also know that reading a book feels different: it’s one of the best ways we can experience the flow state. And the two books I’m reading now have reminded me that I am my best self when I am in flow.

I love paying attention. I was born to think, focus, and daydream. 

I’m reading House of Hearts, by Francesca Lia Block (mythic, dark, sexy, desert magic) and Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention — and How to Think Deeply Again, by Johann Hari.

Together these two books are harmonizing in my mind, forming a distinct pattern and shape.

When I read House of Hearts, the part of me that’s 14 years old perks up and sees words as sparkly crystals, magnetized and charged with electricity. FLB describes a hummingbird caught in a spiderweb, and I am entranced. Reading her work, I remember that stories are spells.

When I read Stolen Focus, the part of me that values my mind perks up and pays attention. As I read about focus, I get to simultaneously reflect on how it feels to be in flow. And the more flow I experience, the better I feel.

Being in flow puts me in a state of presence, and when I am present, my body, mind, emotions and energy can sing together. Flow is my natural go-to, my best state.

I suspect this is the same for you.

In Stolen Focus, Hari writes, “Mihaly [Csikszentmihalyi] made the case for “positive psychology”: that we should primarily focus on the things that make life worth living, and find ways to boost them.”

Yes to this.

We explore the theme of FLOW in Centered next month, and in August, the theme of PLEASURE. It is the perfect time to focus on making our lives worth living. Why not prioritize something you love, right now?

For me, this means taking a social media break, and restoring my capacity for deep focus.

When I reached out to Francesca Lia Block to thank her for writing House of Hearts, I invited her to be a Guest Mentor in Centered. Mark your calendar! She’ll be leading her “Healing Through Writing” workshop in November, when we are exploring the theme of TRUST.

While I will be off Instagram for the next while, our creative writing programs are running as usual. There’s lots going on in Centered this summer (join us!) and my newsletters will still be landing in your inbox.

If you aren’t on my list, get on it now – that’s the best way to stay in touch with me. 

May this summer bring you flow and pleasure in your reading and writing.


Photo credit (top): Tara McMullen
This post contains affiliate links. I only recommend books or products I trust.

What I’ve learned from reading mysteries and thrillers.
Express the inexpressible.


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