What is the ZONE?

A much-used set of phrases, ‘I’m in the zone’, ‘really got into the zone’, ‘totally zoned out there’.

However, what does it mean?  To be there in the first place, and in definition.

A search of the internet suggests the following, as a noun

an area or stretch of land having a particular characteristic, purpose, or use, or subject to particular restrictions.’

Or, as a verb

encircle as or with a band or stripe’

Interesting definitions, but neither describe that place or that feeling.

So, what prompted me to write this blog?

I was in my garden (the place I designed to be the place I need to help keep my humanity) this morning exercising, as I do once or twice most days.  As I have mentioned before I now have begun using a katana (sword) during my routines.  I have found it really focus’s my attention on what I’m doing, on my movement and the space I take up when I am exercising.  You move totally differently when using a sword, the exercises don’t need a sword to do, but you just wouldn’t do them without it. 

Normally half an hour is the duration of an exercise session, but I am starting to find that I am spending more and more time exercising. This morning was forty minutes, however it didn’t feel any longer.  My mind is focusing more and more on what I am doing. I am getting into the ‘zone’.

Will I have to set an alarm soon? I hope not, coming out of the routine, is as important a part of the discipline of the exercise, as the exercise itself.

I recently finished reading the most amazing book, Coyote Medicine by Lewis Mehl-Medrona.  I read the introduction and then thought I’ll just read a few more pages.

Yep, an hour and a half later, I looked at the clock and realised how much time had passed.  Totally lost in the book, ‘zoned out’.

There are times when I’m designing a garden and I find the same occurs, some designs just flow and I find I have got totally absorbed in the flow of curves and lines and filling in all the details. As I record the time I spend on each design the times can be interesting sometimes. These moments are one of the pure delights of doing what I do.

I think when you are in the zone you are almost channelling rather than creating.

Which once again begs the question, ‘what is the ZONE?’

We all live according to the laws of physics which as far as we can tell cannot be changed and can be measured.  For all of us the two undeniable elements that determine our reality are space and time.

Space is measured as lengths and volumes, or capacities.  Length is measured in metres, or derivations of and three of them, length, breadth and depth make up a volume or capacities.  Length, the distance to get from a to b and volume or capacity, the size of a drink, or your house maybe.

The space we take up by existing.  Not much to relate to the Zone there.

TIME is the same, but very different.  We measure it, in minutes and seconds, but not in the usual units.  Not metrically, as in tens, as we do with almost all numbers nowadays.  But in sixty’s.  Sixty seconds makes a minute and sixty minutes make an hour.  After that its different again, days weeks etc.

But it’s here that the ZONE seems to change our reality.

Because when we are in the zone time seems to stop, or at least our perception of it does. Time certainly seems to change or at least our awareness of it does.  Time certainly seems to vary in its duration.

When we are in the ZONE time becomes totally irrelevant.  In a way that is totally contrary to our everyday lives which are dominated by time, or the desired passage of it.

Time to get to work, time to finish work.  Time for dinner, time for tea, estimated time of arrival, estimated time of departure, showtime, train time, programme time.  We live our lives by the clock. From the time we get up to the time we go to bed and everything in between both events.

So, the ZONE then is where time becomes irrelevant, for an undisclosed amount of TIME.

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