Learning how to move with the flow
We’ve all heard the phrase go with the flow used to describe a person’s ability to be spontaneous. I will humbly assume my husband will never say, “Oh yes, my wife, she always goes with the flow. She’s a total go-with-the-flow-kind of person”. Ironically though, it’s one of my favorite phrases to describe my strategy for living life on life’s terms. I often describe this concept as moving with the flow.
Lets start with a story about a time I didn’t follow this philosophy.
A few months back me and my husband went car shopping [we all know how stressful this can be and this was no exception]. After spending the majority of the day in and out of car dealerships and negotiating [ugh, such a drag] I had the sense we would not be buying a car that day. By the time we got to the final dealership I had a headache and was tired. I had surrendered. My husband on the other hand needed more convincing so I reluctantly continued to bang my head against the wall [figuratively]. It began with the “necessary” shuttle ride to the back lots a half-mile away [a shuttle ride to test drive a car is a sign- at least for me it is]. The second sign was the salesman forgetting the car keys [honest mistake] and leaving us to go retrieve them. As we stood there stranded in a hot car lot waiting to test-drive a car I “sorta” liked [but now hated] it dawned on me -WE ARE TRYING WAY TOO HARD. So naturally, like most couples car shopping all day we start to argue because [wait for it…] here’s sign number three, the salesman forgets about us, forcing us to walk back to our own car. Needless to say, we didn’t get the car [we didn’t even test drive it]. This is just an ordinary example of how we fail to move with the flow. However, this resistance also shows up as staying in a relationship or at a job beyond its expiration date or when we deny a life lesson that supports our highest self and purpose.
[So let’s bring it back down to earth, and away from “signs” and make some points.]
To move with the flow you must first find your flow. Awareness is key! While I am a big fan of spiritual and therapeutic approaches to build awareness, I’ve found that having an open-mind and willingness are more essential than the actual practice you vibe with. The goal here is to recognize how much effort versus ease you are experiencing; taking note when things get out-a-whack emotionally, physically, and relationally. Practicing yoga, observing nature, meditating, journaling, participating in therapy, reading self-help books, and accepting constructive feedback are all great ways to tune into a higher frequency. This heightened sense of awareness is crucial to move with the flow.
So now you’ve found your flow and you’re all like “Whoa, my flow is whack!” You’re drowning in anxiety or some other distressing emotion. You’re always tired but can’t sleep. You’re popping Tylenol like tic-tacs and can’t seem to kick this damn cold. To top it off, you’ve officially reached the point where you’re bored AND annoyed by the re-telling of your life drama [Talk about being stuck, literally!] So now what?!
Consider your emotions sacred messengers and ask what you may be resisting and how might allowing for it change your course. If you’re a stranger to emotions the sounding alarm may come in the form of physical discomfort or health issues instead. Your physical body is keenly aware [even if you aren’t] so perhaps it is signaling the tide is changing so pay attention. When we feel disconnected in our relationships we typically exhaust efforts to fix or control something or someone. It’s likely this relational discomfort is indicating a need to move with the flow. One area I’ve experienced this most frequently is in friendships. I’ve maintained some friendships for over 25 years and one thing I know to be true is that they are constantly evolving. I think having courage [like Elsa] to “LET IT GO” where it needs to go is what allowed these relationships to remain intact for so long. [Hey dude, I never said being aware meant less pain and discomfort but lets face it; it’s what is needed to get us moving]. The good news is the opposite can be said for when you are moving with the flow. These are subtle, sweet and unfold miraculously [aaahh…how lovely].
Here is the part that requires a belief and connection to something bigger than ourselves. What that is, you can decide for yourself. Finding your flow sheds light where we are stuck but it takes trust and hope in something bigger that is fundamental to move with it. This is because it requires that you let go of expectations and outcomes, and this is really hard to do when you feel vulnerable and afraid. I struggle with letting go of outcomes [“Hi, I’m Jessica and I’m a perfectionist”]. I get in my own way a lot of the time but have learned that when I stop trying so hard things work out better than what I envisioned [even better when I have no expectations at all and just believe in myself]. It’s scary, which is why it’s important to remind yourself of times you were brave; and allowed for things to happen and survived [and thrived!].
When you live in harmony with life and what is showing up for you; a sense of peace not agitation welcomes you. With each passing sign you ignore, more effort and frustration greets you [as experienced in my car shopping example]. If you do this often enough, behaviors and outcomes become haunting patterns in your life. This is when I often ask the question, “What are you choosing NOT to receive that is being offered?” This my friend, is what I think it means to move with the flow. It’s finding that sweet spot between ease and effort. It’s a beautiful thing when it happens, and when it does you ride the wave for as long as it will carry you. Then when the wave loses its force and stalls, you paddle with effort until you find the flow again.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. When has surrendering allowed for things to unfold in a miraculous and magical way in your life? Share tips that have helped you get “closer” to letting go of control during times of fear and discomfort. Unleash the wisdom!
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