(Featured image taken by Justin Majors)
Hey flow arts friends! Welcome to Mind, Body, and Flow. My name is Nick Garcia, and I am thrilled to tell you about this new column in F.I.R.E. Arts Magazine. This will be a monthly post, and each one will come out on the last day of that month. Mark your calendars!
What’s This All About?
Mind, Body, and Flow is where I will share ideas of how we develop on a physical and mental level when playing with our props. We generate more neural plasticity in our brain and muscular elasticity in our body from practicing flow arts, and there are many ways to enhance these effects while also improving the rate at which we acquire our skills. I will give you my best advice that I use daily for drilling, training, and learning new ideas and techniques, which applies to any prop artist of any skill level.
I’ll speak from personal experience and share outside perspectives which are heavily rooted in cognitive science, philosophy, and natural conditioning. All of this is discussed with the intention of breaking conceptual ideas down into practical advice, adding depth to those practical ideas by lifting them back up to the conceptual level, and mixing it all together in a way that’s sure to expand your mindset on how our Mind, Body, and Flow integrate within us to form our art. You’ll find me referencing books and online resources where some really brilliant people are sharing their discoveries of how our mind and body grow.
As the column title suggests, I’m going to focus on three main aspects of our experience with our props. They are…
- The Mind… Where our thinking happens and our mindset becomes. Every thought we have generates connections in our brain. Yes, even when we read about the latest gossip (are people still talking about Duck Dynasty?).
- For sake of making sure we’re starting on the same page, the mind is where thoughts happen (including ideas, opinions, imagination, problem solving, etc.), and these thoughts directly influence the physical development taking place in our brain (the 3lb organ nestled in your skull). Although they are different things, the mind and body directly influence each other’s development, and all of this trickles down to…
- The Body… Where the results of the commands from our brain take place. When my brain says make an inspin petal over here my body complies, but the actual result is often different from what we hope for. Sometimes our prop flies around to bash us in the face. It’s not like we told ourselves to do that, but our body still made it happen. Why? And how do we work on our art in a way that limits those ‘glitches’ from happening?
- We’ll dig into the relationship between the brain and the body, and what we can do to strengthen the communication that takes place in between. All of this, mixed with the ideas from The Mind, combines to create…
- The Flow… Where our expression floods out to greet the world with movement. This is our dance, our release, our art at its very core, but the best word for it is still…Our Flow. This is a hard concept to talk about for some. It’s almost metaphysical in nature, but there’s still that hard-to-ignore realness to it. We know when our flow comes out, and we know when we’re having a hard time finding it.
- I hope to raise discussion that gives you more pieces to use in looking for your own flow. I want to take the vague idea of flow and give it some practical steps. Of course there will never be a full handbook on “How to Flow”…but there’s plenty that I found which encourages a deeper, more easily achieved state of flow. I look forward to sharing what I’ve learned with you.
Tales of My Adventurous Journey…
Before all that, I’ll tell a bit about who I am and where I’m from. I live in Marietta, GA, which is just north of Atlanta. By day I am a copywriter, and by night I set things on fire and dance!I first found flow arts at the beginning of 2011 during a New Year’s party. I saw two guys light up some fire poi for the first time, and since then the sight has always entranced me.
Not too long after, I found myself at a friend’s house receiving my first poi lesson. Since then I’ve had a hard time putting them down, but I’ve at least graduated from practicing with sock poi filled with rice to long contact poi.
During the last three years of my flow journey I’ve shared my ideas by teaching at FLAME Festival, local flow jams, and through private lessons for people who seem to like how I do things. Now I am a Director for FLAME Festival, a writer and editor for this magazine, and a student among all students within the flow community.
The Goals of Mind, Body, and Flow…
My goal with this column is to bring you around to realizing how malleable our brain, body, and mindset are, and how flow arts heightens that elasticity. Knowing the core facts behind how our brain and body constantly reconstruct who we are leads to astounding realizations about how we can develop skill acquisition as a skill in and of itself, and I will use flow arts as a medium to relay that big picture to you.
If you gain one thing from my words, I want it to be the understanding that with a few key concepts applied to how you acquire your flow art skills – or any skills – you can make constant breakthroughs, and that all plateaus are optional.
Thank you for reading, and keep an eye out for upcoming content from myself and the other gifted individuals that make up the F.I.R.E. Arts Magazine team.