Dr. Angela Garcia, a Cultural Anthropologist at Stanford University, has coined the term “moment of incomprehensibility”. In my rudimentary understanding of the subject, this is basically a moment where what is in front of you becomes utterly incomprehensible. You can’t explain it. You can’t find words to describe it. All you can do is just be there. Absorb it. Try to take it all in.
These moments don’t come around very often. For most people, they don’t come around at all. Most of the time, you have to be pretty far outside of your comfort zone to stumble across a true moment of incomprehensibility. I’m not talking about being unable to fathom why the dude in front of you is going 15 mph under the speed limit or being baffled by the garbage spewing from the mouths of the Kardashians. The moments that Dr. Garcia and I are talking about are beyond written description. These are the moments I am chasing. These are the moments that allow me to experience flow at it’s fullest.
Standing atop Mt. Whitney, my first 14er, and experiencing the sheer, undeniable magnitude of it’s vast beauty. Running through the early morning mist in the Santa Monica Mountains, climbing above the marine layer just in time to glimpse the first rays of the sunrise. Scrambling between the switchbacks through the talus on the way up Mt. Timpanogos, stopping to suck wind, entirely exhausted, and glancing up at the seemingly unconquerable, gorgeous mass still waiting for me above. Bombing down an underused single track, racing the setting sun, watching it slowly descend into the Pacific Ocean, increasing my pace as it disappears beneath the shimmering, purple water in a subtle, yet perfect flash.
All of these experiences included a moment of incomprehensibility for me. I have not described these moments here; to do so would be impossible. I have simply set the stage in which these moments took place. My sense of awe was unmatched. I was exactly where I was supposed to be in that moment. The stars were aligned and I was absorbed by an overwhelming sense of rightness. I melted into the landscape. I became one with the mountain. My soul was nourished. Flow was realized.
For me, Bobby Geronimo, this is what flow is all about. Every time my foot falls on the trail, I’m chasing these elusive moments. These moments don’t happen running through the city streets or staring at the screen of your iPhone. These moments have to be earned. These moments take blood and sweat, experience and knowledge, miles and miles, sacrifice. These moments take an understanding of your own insignificance. An understanding of your true place in the world. These moments make me who I am.
I want flow. And I want it to be utterly incomprehensible.