Nanny Knows Flow

Flow is a state of concentration so focused that it amounts to absolute absorption in an activity.   My grandmother, Anna Bongiovanni, who just turned 95, is a master of entering the state without ever having read Mihaly Csikzenthmihaly’s "Flow:  The Psychology of Optimal Experience."  Along with having a flair for completing crossword puzzles, my grandmother is a knitter.   She makes afghans for her grandchildren, and clothes for her great grandchildren, but what impresses me is that she’s always creating new challenges for herself–which is a condition for flow.   The idea is that you want to set out a task for yourself that is not too easy–which would lead to boredom, or too difficult, which would promote anxiety but one that is just the right level of challenge.  For this particular afghan, my grandmother started out with a swath of wallpaper to match the color of my cousin Noelle’s room, used wool yarns instead of acrylic, and then incorporated a popcorn stitch instead of a regular one.  So sure, it’s another afghan, another stitch, but what she’s really doing is finding new ways to transform herself at the young age of 95.  I should be so lucky.

Nanny Knitting
Posted by teddyb.

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