Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Zone

One thing about a special place is that it can put you in the zone. You know the zone. It’s when you’re doing something and it’s as if time isn’t passing. Before you know it, 30 minutes or 60 minutes have gone by. It’s not alien abduction. It’s that you’re in the zone, also known as “in the flow.” Artists and athletes know it.

It’s been a long time since anyone would use the term ‘athlete’ to describe me and I have no talents in the fine arts. But I know the zone. I can get in the zone when I’m appreciating a special place. That special place could involve human-created art, it could be a historical site, it could be a natural area. It’s easier for me to get in the zone in a natural area. The beauty of the place along with the rhythmic nature of hiking, XC skiing, or paddling seems to help get in the zone. Cycling works, too, provided I don’t have to concentrate on hazards and it’s in a quiet place. I do not recommend getting into the zone while negotiating automobile traffic on the road or dodging trees on a single track mountain bike course.

Being in the zone enhances creativity. It helps you see things in a new way. And it’s a positive feedback loop. The more you think creatively, the more zone-ish you get and the more creative you get. (You can also get into the zone at your desk working, but it sure is a lot more enjoyable if you’re in an aesthetic place and, for me anyway, some physical activity adds to the zone-ishness.)

I’d like to hear about your zone and how special places figure into it.

1 comment:

  1. Walking during a heavy snow seems to get me into the zone, especially in the evening. I think the absence of color is Zen-like. The trees look dramatic without their leaves. Sounds are muffled. It is meditative.

    Any place were there is water also gets me into a zone. I can't get enough of water whether it be a flowing river, pond or lake. The waves along the seaside is incredible for getting into a zone. It seems like it is difficult to think of personal problems or think about anything other than feeling good about life when I am around water.

    So, I guess being around water whether it is in its liquid state or frozen does it for me.