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FLOW: “I have all these thoughts bouncing around in my head, but with a brush in my hand, the world just gets kind of quiet."

Movie quote from: The Notebook (2004) - Allie Hamilton (Rachel McAdams)

notebookA subtle aspect of the romantic film The Notebook is the importance of painting to Allie, played by both Rachel McAdams (young Allie) and Gena Rowland (elder Allie).  When she paints, Allie is in the zone.  In psychology, this is called 'flow', a state of mind where you are completely immersed in the activity at hand.  Flow is good for the soul.  However, as The Notebook illustrates, flow can be difficult to attain when you're living with someone who has other plans for you.

Allie's mother (Joan Allen) has big society plans for her beautiful daughter.  These plans are threatened when Allie falls in love with Noah (Ryan Gosling), a boy whose roots are clearly on the other side of the tracks.  Like painting, this summer love is inconsistent with the future Allie's mom has in mind.  Allie loses touch with her natural inclinations while seeking to satisfy social expectations.

We must be more protective of life activities (or relationships) that enable us to feel purposeful and alive.  The flow that emerges when you are at one with what you are doing is a deeply healthy experience that brings both peace and clarity to your day.  This state of mind is a gift and we should revel in it when it comes.  More importantly, we must actively pursue continued involvement in those things into which we can pour ourselves.  It is where bliss is.

After great pain and confusion, Allie finds her way back to painting and those who value the painter inside.  Indeed, in her elder years, painting becomes her refuge when her mind moves away.  We all must find that flow where time and everything else disappears.  In our times of greatest need, it provides a place to go home.

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