A Life of One’s Own and Joanna Field
Joanna Field is the pseudonym of a British psychotherapist, and A Life of One’s Own is her fascinating account of her psychological self-explorations. It began with a diary that she started at age 20. Her idea was that, if she recorded what happened in a day and how happy she felt, she would learn what things made her happy and would do more of those.
Life is not so simple, of course, but she continued with the diary, and this book consists of bits from that diary along with her commentary on them from a later and more knowledgeable perspective.
What makes the book particularly valuable are the techniques she discovers. For example, we’ve probably all had the feeling of being somehow removed from what should be an enjoyable experience: a walk in beautiful surroundings, a concert of beautiful music, and the like. We are not engaged, but rather observers, behind a glass wall, as it were. Field discusses this sensation and provides several simple tactics that she discovered will remove that wall for her and allow her to be fully engaged—emotionally, intellectually—and responsive to her surroundings.
To me, this sounds very much as though she found a way to promote a feeling of flow, by breaking down some internal inhibition that was blocking it.
She discusses also how to catch those fleeting thoughts that run quickly along the baseboard at the back of the mind, trying to stay out of sight. For example, she was attempting to sew something, and not having any luck at all. Abruptly, she threw a little hissy fit. She was alone at home, and the hissy startled her in its vehemence, but she caught that little elusive thought that was trying to hide, and….
Read the book. It’s both valuable and interesting, and it contains much more than I have indicated here.