Getting in the 'Flow' by Gardening

"How do adults recapture that feeling of joy that children get from play?"

This is what psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi wanted to know. He is a Croation-born professor of American psychology at the Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, CA and has spent years studying the state of being that he calls "flow."

Flow is what we feel when we are totally absorbed in an activity for its own sake. This does not refer to a game where you win or lose or to watching a game. 

"You don't get much out of the passive consumption of pleasure," Csikszentmihalyi* says, "compared to enjoyment which is much more active and creative and self-directive."

 Gardening is a great example of an activity that is creative, self directed and gets you into the flow.

 You lose yourself when outdoors, planting, deadheading, weeding, edging watering or even raking the gravel (!?)   Well, maybe you don't actually rake gravel but you get the idea.

Flow is what I call 'stop time'...sometimes time stops when you are absorbed in an activity or in experiencing a special place. Intuitive thought and insight come to you when you are in such a state.

So get in the flow and spend some time outdoors today....

 * Csikszentmihalyi is the author of 'Flow' (Harper Collins 1990) and 'Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention' (Harper Collins 1996), and 'Good Work: When Excellence and Ethics Meet' (Basic Books 2001).


  1. Yes, even raking the gravel. The other day I started sweeping up a few leaves that had blown into the garage and before I knew it I had swept the entire garage and large attached workshop. The repetitive motion is meditative and the satisfaction when I finished and saw the result was rewarding, too.

    1. so I was that far fetched! I am glad to hear that....sweeping is a great motion - it becomes something you want to keep hosing off a patio...same thing!

  2. Flow is a wonderful word to describe being completely engaged in the present moment. I love this sentence "Gardening is a great example of an activity that is creative, self directed and gets you into the flow." I really enjoyed your book Heaven is a Garden! I would like permission to use this in my blog next Friday. On Friday's I share a garden quote, talk about it and if it is from an author share their book too. I would also like to link to this blog if it would be okay with you. Happy Gardening!

  3. I can't wait to see what you do to your new yard! I love sharing plants and getting plants from family and neighbors. I even have spearmint and hostas in my yard from my grandmother's special.

    1. Grandma's plants are the most special....I have my grandmother's christmas cactus. She lived in a Brooklyn apartment so her plants were African violets and christmas cactus.

  4. Nice article great post comment information thanks for sharing



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