The ‘Flow’ – Surrender to the Moment

The ‘Flow’ – Surrender to the Moment

Igniting our Sleeping Brains   by Carol AndersonScales Aren’t Just a Fish Thing.
A concept developed for over thirty years

to introduce the world of music,

its Architecture, its Art, its Appreciation

touching lives, one precious individual at a time,

with a calm and gentle spirit…

working seamlessly – embellishing Traditional and Suzuki Music Lessons

Igniting Sleeping Brains!

Going in the backdoor of learning – creating fluid thinking



I was playing with one of the little ‘icing on my life’s cake’ and asking her what she wanted for Christmas.

Her itty bitty body was walking along, swinging her arms, brushing the ground with each foot as she walked, head lowered, appearing to be absorbed in the moment when in an instant, I mean, not a second elapsed from my question, a reply came back….”Shoes”.

What three year old wants shoes? I mean, she doesn’t have it modeled by the rest of us…….. Ok we like shoes but we don’t talk about it. We just have the normal variety to go with the different outfits. ….and really, I’m not a shoe person.

I’m always in socks.

I remember sitting around with everyone, lots of people, and having her suddenly say to me,
“I like your socks”.
How does such a little person even notice socks? I think she was two at the time.
But from that, we started wearing exciting fun socks, striped, red with snowflakes…just fun..
It is our thing and my way to connect with who she is.
I still have to run five times as fast to stay up with who she is becoming but, I’m willing.

Now, how can I use this? I’m the adult.

I can twist and turn the path to take her where I want her to go.
How many of us haven’t told a little person under our care how wonderful they are.

You tell them….

– the big picture – “Some day, you are going to be jumping that horse in the Olympics”,

– more specific – “That piece was played so beautifully, you could mesmerize me for the whole lesson by simply playing for me..thankyou”

I told my brother-in-law, from the time he was five, that he was going to be a doctor.

I saw his strengths even as a tiny person, and brought them to his attention.

Today, lives, literally all over the world, are being touched by my subtle suggestions, his God-given gifts

and he would add, years of hard work. Here’s a sample of how easily our minds can be walked right into where the speaker wants our thinking to be.

Try this:

I did this with my husband and so wish I had a camera to have captured his face. I still chuckle when I think of it.

Pick a number from 1 to 10.
Multiply it by 9
Got it?
If the result is a two digit number …add the two digits together.
Now subtract five
With the resulting number, connect it with a letter.
Like 1 would be A, 2=B and so on.
Ok, at this point, think of a country that begins with that letter.
-not some obscure country…
just the first one that comes to mind-
Now take the second letter of that country and think of an animal that starts with that letter.
Don’t get fancy.
Just a normal animal that most people would think of that starts with that letter.

Got it?
Now think of the usual color of that animal.

Be sure to have the country, animal and color in your mind and then scroll down.


Ok…. Are you thinking of a gray elephant in Denmark?


How did I do that? It doesn’t matter. What matters is that I can, and so can you.

You can create the kind of thinking within yourself that leads to greater fulfillment in the task.

You can learn to change the lives of your students and children,

by knowing the ‘backdoor’ to their learning and the reasons why we do what we do.

Plan to take them on a journey.

Doing this requires you to do your homework.

When I am in a position to influence someone,

at the top of the priorities is to influence them with great prudence, honesty, and integrity –

no self gratification… self-interest!

When the door is opened for you to influence another whether by relationship or teaching,

keep in mind:  “What’s in this for THEM”….and then the end of the path might surprise you.

In ‘Avoiding Practice Depleters’ we talked about a new definition for ‘will-power’ and the ‘power’ will-power has over our actions.

Here is another piece to the puzzle.

I was standing at the kitchen sink with my little 11 month old grandson swinging in the swing and ‘Fur Elise’ was looping in his music. He started to sing it…..the difficult moving part. He’d heard it so much that he was able to control his voice to sing (hmmm) along. Learning the tune for him was a pleasure…it wasn’t painful. He didn’t resist it and it was absorbed into his thinking while he did other things. But it was learned, no sacrifice, no hard work, no commitment.

We’ve been programmed to think that, to accomplish anything, we need to endure, pour in hours of hard work, and commit to huge sacrifices or we need to be praised, promoted or given presents.

That, in itself, is a ‘will-power’ gas guzzler. And without will-power we don’t ….can’t…move forward.

(Be sure to read the post ‘Avoiding Practice Depleters’ that explains the power of will-power,…and its weaknesses)

I’m a firm believer that we have to be moving forward in every aspect of our lives if we are to completely move into the ‘flow’ of what we put our minds to.

We need paradigm shifts and a way to relearn our ‘limiting beliefs’.

My door is always open to women who have situations in their lives that could be helped by a ‘listening ear’.

More often than not, I can see the detours they’ve taken to overt hitting a challenging wall and moving it out of their way. It simply throws them into an ocean of  ‘no way out’ thinking. If someone finds themselves in deep water, you can’t just jump in alongside them and hand them a stick and say, “stay afloat, things will improve”. Nor can you say, “Here’s your problem, and here’s how to fix it’. Just do it.”

It’s hard to put one foot in front of the other without an outstretched hand or ‘safety net’ or even the ‘promise that change is possible’.   So I look for something in their lives that can be changed, baby steps of moving away and moving toward…and teach them to make changes.  Once how to make changes is learned, it seeps into other areas of life.

You can never unlearn what you learn. 

It becomes a part of you.

It is not only difficult to remember what wasn’t there just days before,

it is impossible.

It has become a structural part of  your thinking.

That’s called ‘assimilation’ .

Before really learning something, you’ve simply ‘accommodated’ the information.

How can we create true ‘flow’ with our musical goals…or regain it if ‘life’ has gotten into the way?

One suggestion is to take your finger out of the emotional dyke holding back

unresolved issues

that continually validate

‘limiting beliefs’ . (chew on that for a while..its powerful)

Denial that there is even something holding us back is, in itself,  guzzling your will-power gas.

  1. Make a plan. (no one wants to do this simple thing)

They always say:  ‘its up here’.  That’s not good enough.
Put it down there! on the paper.

2. Chip away with one positive action at a time.

3. Set a goal.

I have to say that if someone wants to start violin lessons with me, they are usually down the path toward the goal already. It’s when the reality of what it takes to reach the goal meshes with the goals or ‘fires of life’ already in place…..the task seems insurmountable.  So we have to clear a path to achieve the goal.

Having a clear path…uncluttered…is essential for ‘flow’.

I had a little guy who was learning “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” stand around practicing the tune long after I had the endurance or desire to keep going. He was saying, “I could do this all night!”as he moved from room to room. That was a ‘kid rendition’ of  ‘flow’.

To establish ‘flow’ you don’t have to have ‘arrived’ already.

You simply need to surrender to the moment.


What is flow?

-sustained concentration on the task at hand.
(oh you mean no multitasking?….)

-accepting the results and working with them…

-simply enjoying the process of improvement.

-forgetting about your needs or even time,  and focusing on the activity

-clarity of almost being one with the moment without extra clutter in our thinking.


Make the most of your moments.

Our lives are made up of moments linked together.

They are the ‘bytes’ of our entire lives and when we pull back from them,

we can see the picture of whom we have become.

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