Flow Friday: An Introduction to Flow

This is the first in a new series called Flow Friday, inspired by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s concept of ‘flow’ as a highly focused, anxiety-free mental state. It’s the true pursuit of happiness.

The first week of September is always full of big dreams for me. This year I dreamt that a friend was riding icebergs from the north to the southern part of the globe as a way to mitigate climate change. Maybe I have been watching too many episodes of Game of Thrones over the summer or maybe my subconscious was trying to acknowledge the realities of climate change. Starting class on a day when the Vancouver skies are hazy from forest fires is definitely weighing on my psyche, along with the media stories I read about the floods in India and Texas and the early hurricanes in the Gulf. It makes me wonder how many teachers are starting the year with a discussion of the complexities of living on the planet in this moment. Climate change is the new hidden curriculum. What we teach, what we don’t teach and how we teach are all part of the curriculum. We need to talk about the hazy sky and we need young people to feel hopeful and curious about the future possibilities.

We have 20 bright, engaged and energetic students in the SFU Semester at CityStudio who are excited to learn about city-building and how to put a prototype on the ground in 12 weeks. What can we offer this group that will allow them to feel prepared for the future that can often feel overwhelming and chaotic? A new idea that we have launched in the Semester at CityStudio this fall is called Flow Fridays. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a Hungarian psychologist, is recognised for identifying the psychological concept of flow as a highly focused mental state — a state when the body and mind are free from anxiety and tension. The teaching team (myself, Lisa Novak and Adrian Sinclair) have a plan to explore states of flow on Fridays as a practice of understanding ourselves in this complex and fast-paced, urbanized world. We are going to use this weekly space to explore what we learn as we attempt to enter a state of flow and we encourage you to join the practice and conversation of #flowfridays.

About the Author

Janet Moore is the Co-Founder and Co-Director of CityStudio Vancouver and a Professor of Professional Practice at the Semester in Dialogue at SFU. She has imagined, designed and facilitated intensive, interdisciplinary courses and programs that focus on dialogue, community engagement, group process, divergent thinking, and urban sustainability.