Isn’t that a great word? I’m reading Owen Flanagan’s “Really Hard Problem” just now and he says the book is about “eudaimonics” – his word for the science of eudaimonia. That’s been translated by many people as “happiness” but apparently “flourishing” is a better translation and I like that word a LOT more than “happiness”. Somehow, happiness has a somewhat more superficial connotation than flourishing. Happiness might be a state, but flourishing captures a dynamic essence. It’s going somewhere, growing, thriving, expanding, improving.
How do things need to be to feel you are flourishing? What supports, encourages, enables flourishing? Which are the flourishing contexts?
I’m still thinking this one through, but the first thing that came to mind was the concept of “flow”. When I feel in the flow, I feel I am flourishing. Flow involves movement, a certain ease and good energy. When I feel frustrated or blocked, or feel in the middle of turbulence, I don’t feel in the flow. The second thing that occurred to me was when I am doing well what I am doing. For example, one day last week, every single consultation I did seemed to go extremely well. I felt I connected so well to every patient, enjoyed meeting them all and felt I could understand them very well. I was doing well what I do – consulting and understanding. Then this last weekend I’ve been teaching and the teaching was easy and fun and the feedback was universally fabulous and I felt I was doing well what I do – teach. A third thing was about energy. When my energy feels good I feel I am flourishing.
Tell me, cos I’m really interested to know – when do you feel you are flourishing? What contributes to that feeling?