It’s what keeps some people sane. It’s what drives the world’s most skilled and accomplished athletes, the most intense gamers, the hardcore hobbyists, even many of the most talented artists, musicians and actors - flow is what you get when unstoppable drive meets an unflinching will and unlimited dedication.
Flow is being utterly, truly “in the zone”. And it’s one of the most amazing feelings there is.
This is why finding a sport, or a hobby, or a martial art, or a handicraft, or a new video game, or any skill-based activity that uses focus and requires practice and repetition is so beneficial for things like depression and anxiety and overall mental/physical well-being.
Today I had the pleasure of making genuine ultramarine blue oil paint. The pigment, powdered lapis lazuli, creates one of the most sought after blue paints in all of art history. It is a paint that Vermeer used extensively.
While I’m not going to share the paint (it’s expensive!), I will share these nearly pornographic photos of the the paint-making process.
Richard Feynman ‘The beauty of a flower’ by zenpencils on Tumblr
It’s also worth noting that there is some overlap between science and the visual arts in the form of scientific illustration, some of which involves a good deal of creativity. This doesn’t just go for science, either. Learning more about almost any subject can add new ways of appreciating it on both aesthetic and deeper levels.