Creative flow is a desirable, but often elusive state. Many of us crave those moments where it feels like everything just comes together and we’re in the zone.
But how exactly do we get there? And what can we do to facilitate more flow in our everyday lives?
In this episode we explore the flow state with the help of researcher Dr. Richard Huskey and writer Bonnie Tsui. We take a look at the science behind flow, what it can do for us, and how we can build more of it in our everyday lives.
How Do We
DR. RICHARD HUSKEY
Richard Huskey (PhD, University of California Santa Barbara) is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication and the Cognitive Science Program at the University of California Davis. Dr. Huskey is the principal investigator in the Cognitive Communication Science Lab, a researcher in the Computational Communication Research Lab, an affiliated faculty member at the Center for Mind and Brain, an affiliated faculty member in the Designated Emphasis in Computational Social Science, and Chair of the International Communication Association Communication Science and Biology interest group. He studies how motivation influences the attitudes people hold and the behaviors they adopt. He researches these questions using a variety of methodological techniques including: functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), computational methods, and lab-based experimentation. In his free time, he enjoys hiking, snowboarding, and walking his dog Turner.
Bonnie Tsui is a longtime contributor to The New York Times and the author of American Chinatown, winner of the 2010 Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature. Her latest book, Why We Swim, was a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice and a Time magazine and NPR Best Book of 2020; it is currently being translated into nine languages. Her first children’s book, Sarah and the Big Wave, about the first woman to surf Northern California’s Mavericks, was published last year. Her work has been recognized and supported by Harvard University, the National Press Foundation, and the Mesa Refuge.
Episode 4: How Do We Find Flow?
Creative flow is a desirable, but often elusive state. Many of us crave those moments where it feels like everything just comes together and we’re in the zone.
But how exactly do we get there? And what can we do to facilitate more flow in our everyday lives?
In this episode we explore the flow state with the help of researcher Dr. Richard Huskey and writer Bonnie Tsui. We take a look at the science behind flow, what it can do for us, and how we can facilitate more of it in our everyday lives.
Hosted by Anna Brones
Co-Produced by Anna Brones & Gale Straub
Theme Music is by cleod9 music
Season 1 is Made with Support by Big Cartel
Dr. Richard Huskey: Richard Huskey (PhD, University of California Santa Barbara) is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication and the Cognitive Science Program at the University of California Davis. Dr. Huskey is the principal investigator in the Cognitive Communication Science Lab, a researcher in the Computational Communication Research Lab, an affiliated faculty member at the Center for Mind and Brain, an affiliated faculty member in the Designated Emphasis in Computational Social Science, and Chair of the International Communication Association Communication Science and Biology interest group. He studies how motivation influences the attitudes people hold and the behaviors they adopt. He researches these questions using a variety of methodological techniques including: functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), computational methods, and lab-based experimentation. In his free time, he enjoys hiking, snowboarding, and walking his dog Turner.
Bonnie Tsui: Bonnie Tsui is a longtime contributor to The New York Times and the author of American Chinatown, winner of the 2010 Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature. Her latest book, Why We Swim, was a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice and a Time magazine and NPR Best Book of 2020; it is currently being translated into nine languages. Her first children’s book, Sarah and the Big Wave, about the first woman to surf Northern California’s Mavericks, was published last year. Her work has been recognized and supported by Harvard University, the National Press Foundation, and the Mesa Refuge.
Resources Mentioned & Places to Learn More
Why We Swim by Bonnie Tsui
Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
“A computational theory of the subjective experience of flow” Melnikoff et al., 2022
“Why does experiencing ‘flow’ feel so good?” By Dr. Richard Huskey
Big Cartel believes you don't have to sell out to sell online. With their simple stores for artists, makers, and creators, you won't be surprised by hidden fees and they don't take a cut of your sales like some other platforms. The sky's the limit on your sales and your success. Open your own shop at bigcartel.com.
Creative Fuel is made possible thanks to the support of Big Cartel and
Creative Fuel Collective members.
How Do We Find Flow? Introduction Bonnie Tsui: When I do go for a swim first thing in the morning, or when I do go for a surf, at Dawn, and then come back to my desk that's setting the stage, for, Allowing connections to happen, non-linear thinking to happen and I feel ready to do the work after I have, had that for myself. Music comes in Anna Brones - Narration: More often than not, journalist and author Bonnie Tsui greets the day from the Pacific Ocean or a swimming pool. Rising up and down with the tide, searching for waves, focusing on the task of moving her body through the water, it all helps to facilitate everything that follows. Which is fitting, because water plays a role in her beginning as well. Bonnie Tsui: I always point back to my parents and the origin story of my family, which is that they met in a swimming pool in Hong Kong. And my dad was a lifeguard. My mom was a swimmer. And, when my brother and I were growing up, that was really important, to be near the water, to be able to swim. So I think it set the stage. It's not just about exercise. It is so much about: it's a place I feel really comfortable and I feel myself. Anna Brones - Narration: Bonnie explored the connection she and other humans feel to water in her 2020 nonfiction book, “Why We Swim.” Writing the last section of the book helped her understand the impact swimming has on her creative life. And it has an apt title: "Flow." Whether or not you identify as a ‘creative,’ you might recognize flow as an almost intoxicating state, when everything else falls away and you’re finally able to focus on what’s right in front of you. Of course, distractions are rampant between zoom calls, to do lists, texts from friends, news alerts, family obligations… it can feel downright impossible to achieve the feeling of being in the zone on whatever it is that lights you up. So for this episode I’m asking: How do we find flow? Theme Music Comes In Standard Intro Anna Brones - Narration: To be creative is to be human. And exploring that drive might just help us understand ourselves a little better. I’m Anna Brones and this is Creative Fuel. Theme Music Stings Out Act I - What is flow? Andrea Slusarski: If I were gonna give myself a very simple recipe for finding flow, I think I would throw a dash of nature in there. I really would like some trees. I would love for there to be some physical challenge and some creative connection through my sketchbook. So let's look for trees, fun and art Anna Brones - Narration: I asked listeners to share how being in a flow state feels to them. As you'll hear, it's a unique but universal experience. Music in Sheryl Wiser: the flow state to me is absolute nirvana. It is the most, peaceful, quiet, immersive place that I have in my life. It's uniquely and exactly mine, and there's no other voices in there. there's no doubt. There's just whatever comes up, comes out. as a musician, I've always called it the sweet spot. Kerri Anne: Flow states are exhilarating and always make me fall back in love with writing. For me, these flow states are visceral reminders of the power of showing up. Connecting me back to one of the chambers of my creative heart where a confident girl sits in a quiet corner, scribbling furiously in her notebook, filling it with stories. Mike Sowden: If I'm really into the writing with story and the hours was just flying by and I making all these interesting new connections that I was barely aware of until the writing process. That's, that's how I know the story is working Andrea Slusarski: I'm usually on my snowboard or on my bike, and there's this moment where I realize, Oh crap, I'm going way too fast. And it's then that I realized that the last few moments, or I don't even know how long I've just been in this State of focus on my line, on the trees, swishing past me on enjoying and, and having fun. And that's when I feel that flow state. It's right where I've met my challenge and I don't always feel like my mind can be calm, but it's in those moments that I'm no longer worried about the past or worried about the future Music out Anna Brones - Narration: The psychological concept of “flow’ was recognized and named by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi in 1975. He is known to many as the “father of flow” and is the co-founder of the field of positive psychology. He identified 9 dimensions of flow, several of which you just heard examples of through these submissions: high concentration, transformation of time, lack of self-consciousness. Csíkszentmihályi died in 2021, but researchers today continue to dig into this potent tendency. Richard Huskey: So, there's been, work looking at surgeons, doing complicated surgeries, people doing flow and work in business environments, artists, rock climbers, and dangerous contexts, right where you mess up and you get seriously heard or killed. And surprisingly, the experience is described in really similar ways. Across a just huge diversity of tasks. Anna Brones - Narration: This is Dr. Richard Huskey, one of those researchers. Richard Huskey: I am an assistant professor in the Department of Communication at uc Davis. and I'm also part of the Cognitive Science Program in my own research in my lab, we're really interested in the study of, motivation and, flow is a highly motivated psychological state and that’s one core area of our research. Anna Brones - Narration: Richard walked me through some of the dimensions of flow. Say you’ve happily worked on a project for hours, only to look up and see that the sun has set and you haven’t eaten all day. Or you’ve felt the satisfaction of solving a creative problem, almost as if by magic. Or you’ve experienced the fluidity of movement that comes before a runner’s high. Odds are good that you’ve experienced a flow state. But I wanted to underline a few features that stood out. Richard Huskey: It's a situation where you feel like you have complete control over what it is that you're doing, and quite crucially, it is a highly intrinsically rewarding experience. Sure it might be something that at the end there's an extrinsic reward where you get a reward for accomplishing the task. but flow itself is something that, the task itself is worth doing. Anna Brones - Narration: In our hyper capitalistic, output oriented society creative flow, or creating for the joy of creating, is a refreshing feeling. As I like to say, process over product. But back to Richard: Richard Huskey: One of the most interesting things to me about flow is like it's usually happening. When the difficulty of the task you're doing is pretty high. And so is your abilities. but if you mismatch those, right, so like if the task difficulty is really, really high relative to your skill, you don't experience flow. And if the task difficulty is really low relative to your skill, which is higher, you also don't feel flow. Anna Brones - Narration: Richard says that this is an area where more research needs to be done. Most studies on high ability and high challenge have been correlational while researchers like Huskey are coming up with ways to discover the causal links — or why that’s the case. Richard’s lab is also focused on what goes on in our brain when we’re experiencing flow. For their research, they developed a custom video game that elicits a flow state and put people into an FMRI scanner to monitor the changes in blood flow and oxygen levels that result from their brain activity. Richard Huskey: we have discovered that, when people are experiencing flow, regions in their brain associated with what scientists call cognitive control. it's really a psychological process associated with goal pursuit. Ignoring distractors kind of really focused attention on the task at hand. they're actually functionally connected with, or really strongly coupled with parts of the brain associated with reward processing. So basically, if we are getting signals that the thing we're doing is rewarding or valuable, we continue to deploy control. We continue to pursue our goals in the area. Anna Brones - Narration: In short, the feeling of flow results in more flow. Another finding has to do with how much energy the brain uses during a flow state. Richard Huskey: When we think about the brain, we can think about it as a network. it's a, a structural network in that there's white matter fiber tracks that connect different regions of the brain. And then we can think about what we call a functional network, which is how information transfers between those different parts of the brain and some types of information transfer can be really energetically expensive. And what we've discovered is that during flow, it's actually associated with this metabolically efficient functional network organization. So, there's some evidence that when people are experiencing flow, their brain is actually using slightly less energy And so that's some initial evidence at why it is that when we're experiencing flow, Even though we're doing a difficult task, we might not feel like we're being physically taxed. Anna Brones - Narration: If you have worked on a creative project that's all-consuming but at the same time feels energizing you can get a sense for what Richard is talking about. When we're in that state, it feels like our creativity becomes a vehicle for attaining a flow state. But what is the actual link between the two? Richard Huskey: there's an argument that flow causes creativity, but a lot of the research that is focused on that could equally be well read as creativity causes flow. And so if I were to say like one unanswered question in the literature is really trying to untangle that relationship, Anna Brones: Even if we know that they're coupled. Is there just a good argument then for investing in. Creative pursuits because there is highly likely a really clear relationship between creativity and flow state. Richard Huskey: Yeah, absolutely. So, if creativity and flow are linked, and I think there's good evidence that they are, it's something really special because the flow experience is this peak enjoyment, and it's something where the experience itself is worth doing for its own sake. Like the gratification we get is through the process, not the final product. Right. The thing I like so much about flow and it's linked with creativity is it's pretty much the process is valuable as well. Music transition Act II - Why do we need flow? Bonnie Tsui: The sense of flow and the water and the sense of flow when something is going right in the writing or the thinking is, I mean, they're not so far apart because it's just that I know that I'm putting an effort, but that the next thing and the next thing, and the next thing it comes, in a way that feels, frictionless, Anna Brones - Narration: This is author Bonnie Tsui again, who you heard at the opening of the episode, talking about her rewarding experiences with flow. Bonnie Tsui: It's me moving through the water, it's me trying to put together a thought. But that I know what the next thing is. And so it's sort of like this uninterrupted forward progress and that feels so satisfying. It's almost like you don't notice all of the disparate actions that contribute to the whole. and also, it is joyful. It is pleasurable. And, and it is, it is momentary, right? It doesn't last forever, but in thetime that you are held in it, it feels just great. Anna Brones - Narration: Being in a flow state benefits us in a lot of ways. From our overall wellbeing to our happiness to brain cognition. And as Bonnie shares, there are many ways to enter it. For her, that includes swimming, writing, and even conversation. Bonnie Tsui: I would say, while the act of getting the words down is solitary, all of the stuff that comes before it is not. I love having conversations with friends, because some other variable, which is the other person you're speaking with. Is introduced. So there is this interplay that I think that happens, that doesn't just happen when you're working on something on your own. And so that, to me, isn't non-linear right. So that's like me in my head space and they've interjected something or, floated something out to me that, is like a pulling into whatever's happening, these currents in my head of something new. And I do think that, it's not necessarily that at point a to B to C it's like, D has been floated in at , you know, after a and, and then, so then you can kind of rearrange things and I love that. And I think that conversation does do that for me. Anna Brones: mm-hmm , in thinking about that and just thinking about your writing process. Cause I think that often when we think about creativity, people get really obsessed with this idea of creative flow that's like the pinnacle of what we're trying to do. And I'm curious do you have those moments where you really feel like you're in a flow and if so, how often do they happen and what do they feel like you thinking Bonnie Tsui: I can really use one right now. I have had a sort of like chopped up hectic day. And so there was a block of time in which I was sitting down to write, but I did feel like there are, there are a lot of little bits I wasn't focused on just one thing. I think oftentimes the state of flow comes when I have decided of decided to work on like a discrete piece of writing say, or if I'm editing something that I've already written and so there's like a, a shape to it, I know that I'm focusing on this thing and it could be a few sentences or it could be a chapter, or it could be even one sentence, you know, when you're kind of like working it around and then everything falls into place. Like there is such a satisfaction from that, but you become very absorbed in that. And I think that when I am trying to structurally, from a higher up perspective, like 30,000 foot view of something that's bigger, like a book. I don't feel that I'm in the flow state necessarily there, cuz it feels like there's too many distractions or too many variables but when I'm really fully absorbed in something, I could be researching something like a specific person or a specific event or, the kind of swimsuits that were worn in this particular time, you know, like there's something that is like a, a specific, focal point. And I think that's really, when I feel very immersed in the writing itself. I think the flow, one of the antithesis of that is what I was kind of getting at earlier where it feels like sort of fractured and broken up and I'm trying to incorporate too many things or I'm trying to hold too many things in my head that feels very, very, unflow like, it feels very disturbed. Actually. It doesn't feel that things are happening in a way that's fluid or organic. it's more that I'm like trying to jigsaw puzzle something together that has a lot of rough edges. if that makes sense. Anna Brones: yeah, absolutely. and with that in mind, I know that you had an injury. You could not swim or surf for a while. How did you feel when you realized that your physical movement would be limited for a chunk of time and you wouldn't have access to that feeling? So, Bonnie Tsui: I felt so terrible. I mean, I was literally broken, I had two broken ribs and I could not. Even get out of bed without, or get into bed without the most excruciating pain. So it was like this constant, like very chopped up, very,halting, movement and, so to not have the balm of the fluidity of movement, but also of being immersed in the water, it was really hard. Anna Brones: I mean, it just sounds very similar to how you were describing like the difficulty of a writing process too. I mean, even though they're very different, uh, but just that feeling of being disjointed and like the separate pieces and not coming together. Even though, like it's not physically painful in the same sense… Bonnie Tsui: It's psychically painful. Anna Brones: Yeah. totally. Music transition Act III How do we cultivate flow? Anna Brones - Narration: So we've established that being in a flow state is good for us. But is there a way to intentionally cultivate more of it in our lives? To dig deeper, I turned once more to Richard. Anna Brones: what causes flow? What is it that causes us to feel that and be in that state? Richard Huskey: I’d say the best demonstrated causes of flow, it's this, uh, difficulty ability balance, or this challenge scale balance. there's other evidence, arguing that a couple other things really matter. So clear goals, um, and then having immediate feedback on how well you're doing at achieving those goals also seem to be important. So if you're a musician, right? you have a clear goal, you have a, a song that you've written or somebody else has written that you're wanting to reproduce. and you're. Getting immediate feedback on how well you're doing, if you're hitting your notes correctly. If you play the wrong note, you know instantly. That's what we're talking about, clear goals and immediate feedback. Anna Brones: Yeah. So on the opposite side in thinking about these are the things that cause flow, what prevents it from happening? Like what, what obstructs it? Richard Huskey: pretty much the opposite has basically been what a lot of the research has shown. So if the, the difficulty of the task that you're trying to do is mismatched with your ability, that's not gonna be a flow inducing experience. So if you try to do something where the, the difficulty radically exceeds, your skills, that's gonna elicit an experience of frustration.. Conversely, if you are doing something where your skills radically exceed, the difficulty of the task that's gonna be maybe a boredom experience for maybe even the high control experience. So, kind of thinking again, back to creative pursuits. Imagine you're a musician who's practiced the same piece over and over and over, such that it's so automatic that you can reproduce it and this is =, a moment of control. It's not necessarily a high flow experience, but it's still a positive one because you're really well practiced. You're doing well at it, but it's not boring to do. Richard Huskey: You just, you're kind of feeling control as you're, you're doing that. So later research has developed what's kind of called the wagon wheel model of flow. And basically the idea is, depending on where this challenge and skill balance lands for you is going to result in a number of different effective states. So low challenge, low skill is like a boredom condition. Low challenge, high skill would be control. High challenge, high skill would be flow, uh, high challenge, you know, um, low skill would be, you know, anxiety, these sort of things. So we can kind of plot these different effective states dependent on the challenge/skill balance. Anna Brones: Yeah, it, it makes me think too, like, so just from a perspective of somebody who's maybe wanting to be in a flow state more often, I mean, it does sound that there's enough research to say, Hey, plop this point on the wagon wheel, like find the thing that you have the high skill, but like high difficulty or work at developing this skill for the thing that you want to feel the flow state in. Is that the case? Can we sort of Do that for ourselves? Richard Huskey: Yeah, absolutely. you most certainly can. one of my favorite things about flow is that it's really equalitarian, right? you know, capitalistic society, there's a big, suggestion that if you buy or accumulator do these different things, you're then you're gonna feel happiness. But the thing that is my, one of my favorite things about flow is that you can experience it in your everyday life with very low cost. Going out for a run can be flow inducing. Going for a good hike can be flow inducing, Making music, singing, these sort of things can all be flow inducing. You have to work towards it. I have, Been for the last about yearish trying to start a yoga practice. For most of that experience, it has very much not been a flow experience for me. for plenty of people, yoga is strong flow inducing experience. but really for me, only in the last. Handful of sessions have I started to feel things that, you know, not throughout the entire session, but you know, here and there, that felt a little bit like flow. It's taken me a while to really build up a threshold level of skill And I think the answer to your question is that flow is reward for developing proficiency in skill in a particular area. It's something that we can look forward to and work toward. Anna Brones: Does putting ourself into a flow state, is that then helpful for our brains in other things that we do throughout the day? Richard Huskey: There is a fair amount of research focused on how people accomplish and overcome difficult tasks. And so you'll read different, help guides that talk about, get your easy tasks out of the way first, you'll be primed to do the more difficult thing. Another line of research has shown that actually doing really rewarding or enjoyable tasks can actually help set us up for success in subsequent difficult tasks. so it's like if you give yourself a little treat, you can actually be more successful, in difficult things that are coming your way later on. Richard Huskey: And so for me, I think this is a, a really interesting avenue for examining, flow and flow research is flow already requires, Kind of high level of cognitive control, focused attention suppressing distractors. If we do that and it's, highly rewarding if we experience flow one moment, can that actually help us feel or be more successful at difficult parts of our day that are coming later on? It's an annoying answer to say, but like, more research is needed, but yeah, I would, I, I would say that there's pretty good evidence suggesting that experiencing flow can actually help you pursue longer term goals and be more successful in those. Anna Brones: Yeah, I, it makes me think of a book that I read earlier this summer called 4,000 Weeks by, uh, a journalist named Oliver Burkeman, and it's kind of all about why time management doesn't work. But his whole thing is about like, Clearing the decks and how you have this illusion that if you do all those, like you answer all the emails, you get to all the things in the morning, like you'll eventually get to the quote unquote, like important work. And that like, if you just continually do that, you never get to the thing that is actually what you want to do and like brings you Yeah. Sort of satisfaction. And so I, I like hearing you say that because it, it says to me that there's probably a good argument for investing in those. Those tasks are that work that really fuel us first and foremost, to then get to the other stuff. So like probably better for me to invest in writing and artwork in the morning and then do my emailing in the afternoon. Richard Huskey: Yeah. You, you just described the, the problem I face every day. Oh my gosh, I spent time goofing off or doing this nice thing for myself and now I feel really bad. And, that guilt can actually, be a real problem because it actually impedes our ability to be successful later on. So one of the things that I, I try to talk with people about is if you're trying to bake flow into your life, it's important to not like, feel guilty or bad about it, right? it's actually trying to think about it as a way that's helping set you up for success later on. You know, there's really good evidence that it's not just like time alone that matters, right? It's like the quality of time that you're investing in things, and flow is a high quality, time investment. Music transition Bonnie Tsui: when you're in water, you're able to do so much more, you know, like I think that the unburdening of you know, us from gravity, which is what we live with. It buoys us all in a way that is very meaningful. both physically and psychologically. And I think that's really special. Anna Brones - Narration: As we heard, Bonnie invests in swimming and surfing to set the tone for the rest of her day. Earlier in the episode, she shared how broken up the puzzle of her writing feels when she’s early on in the stages of a big project. But getting those puzzle pieces down, no matter how choppy the process feels, is essential to setting the stage for a moment of flow. Bonnie Tsui: once the pieces fall into place, and then you have, a longer stretch of writing, maybe several chapters or even the whole manuscript that you can go through it's all put together and you are going through with a different kind of eye, sort of like all seeing eye or something, you know, an editorial eye. And, and I think that's conducive to the flow state cuz it's there and now you, you are doing the job of not constructing the jigsaw puzzle, but erasing the lines that show that those pieces were never a part. And so that you can then just immerse yourself in whatever that picture is that has come to show itself. Anna Brones: Hmm. I love that. , cuz I always love that concept of, a blank pages are always super intimidating, whatever the blank page is metaphorically or the actual blank page. So it's like sort of almost creatively easier to Bonnie Tsui: mm-hmm for sure. I agree. Anna Brones: is. Yeah. So it's like that you need some of the pieces to then have some pieces to move around instead of feeling like you're just gonna immediately find this sense of flow, like from the get go seems very unrealistic. Bonnie Tsui: yeah. that's. Yeah, it is. And unless you're um, well, so you could start from the middle, you know, you could start by going in sideways. Like I think that's something that shakes us out of the fear of getting started. Anna Brones: absolutely. But it's interesting too, cuz I think that's how a lot of us feel most of the time just for whatever those pieces are or those obstructions are. Right. on one hand, I'm like, it's just really irrational or silly for us to expect that we're just gonna have these moments of, you know, everything's gonna be unblocked and we're gonna have all this time and whatever. And it's like, how do you work? I don't know around or with all of those obstructions in jigsaw puzzle pieces, I think is really interesting. Bonnie Tsui: That's interesting. And I, I think that if you wait around for the perfect time to do it, it's never gonna happen. Right. so you construct the time when it's available to you or you make some schedule that prioritizes sometimes, where it's not perfect. It's not the most ideal scenario, but that's when it gets done. Music Anna Brones - Narration: We can set up optimal conditions for flow. We can choose a task that’s difficult but interesting and increase our proficiency. We can continue to challenge ourselves when we feel like we’ve mastered the process. But we can’t always reverse engineer flow, and sometimes we have to be patient. Sometimes we have to follow our intuition while it lies in wait. Listener Tori Duhaime shared a beautiful voice submission about their own relationship with flow. Tori Duhaime: As a visceral creative, my flow is a full body experience. I first found it when I was in college pursuing my degree in modern dance, where I was challenged to step out of my top performative expression and transition to more somatic movement research. And that exploration is where I found what I think of as a little river rock that resides in my chest. It was euphoric to discover this little stone that elevated within and was rocked between the gentle waves of my own three dimensionality. It settled my sternum into a neutrality that freed up my limbs, my skull, and my joints to mobilize with ease, which eventually developed my entire thesis after it informed my skiing of all things. The little river rock is my compass that informs my creative impulses. It floats while photographing movement, be it dancers, athletes, or casual encounters as much as it floats during engaging conversations, and interestingly, it quivers gently when I haven't been feeding a creative release, telling me it's time. The Little River Rock is my visceral companion, my sixth sense. And with every current that scoops it back up. What once felt like a rounded and symmetrical stone has developed new ridges that can catch the next wave? Whenever I debate whether I still get to call myself a movement artist after stepping away from my choreographic career, the rocks boy and sea reminds me that movement is at the core of my Every choice and flow can exist within and outside of my active creative process. Outro/Credits Anna Brones - Narration: This episode featured Bonnie Tsui and Dr. Richard Huskey. Learn more about their work through the links in the show notes. Special thanks to everyone who shared their thoughts on flow with us. The submissions you heard were by Andrea Slusarski, Sheryl Wiser, Kerry Anne Stebbins, Mike Sowden, and Tori Duhaime. Thanks so much to Big Cartel for making the first season of Creative Fuel possible. Big Cartel’s small-by-mighty team makes it easy for artists, makers, and creators to operate online on their own terms. Get started at BigCartel.com. Creative Fuel is hosted and co-produced by me, Anna Brones. It’s co-produced and edited by Gale Straub. Theme music is by Cleod9 Music. Our next episode will be out in 2 weeks, and if you missed it - head to our feed to catch our last episode which asks: “How do we spend time alone?” Follow Creative Fuel on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and wherever you listen to podcasts. We're still getting the word out, so if you could rate, review, and share with a friend it would be so appreciated. Head over to CreativeFuelCollective.com for more creative inspiration, prompts, online workshops and a robust creative community.