Monday, November 26, 2018

Going With the Flow

If I am to trust that the Universe/Life/God is on my side, then I have to learn to see how it's always leading me to smoother waters. 

A few years ago, Tom and I went to buy a lounge chair on sale to replace a stiff, shabby 60 year old poolside lounger. We couldn't find one on the store shelves so we looked for a salesperson. After a long delay, we found someone to help. "The extra stock is out in another building. I'll get someone to find one for you." Another long delay, a repeated attempt to find it, and finally success after an hour or more. All that perseverance paid off!

Except that it didn't. The chair is too heavy to lift/store/move around. The finish on the wheels rubs off on anything they touch - fabric, flesh, everything. And it looks more comfortable than it is. When I want to sit outside, I drag out the old one.

At some point, persistence becomes inflexibility, and my efforts to push through challenge become the opposite of going with the flow. 

When I take a new way through the forest, I ask the trees to show me the best way, even if it feels like whimsy. I have learned from experience to trust this. If I find my way suddenly blocked on the path I thought was best, I can push through, but I'll likely find the path impassable farther along. If I seem to be directed down an unlikely pathway, I have learned that it'll probably open up a bit farther along. 

I get it wrong often. Sometimes I'll be almost stuck in the mud before I admit to myself that my persistence was actually stubbornness, and laugh at the discovery. But I often get it right, too, something I find reassuring.

Going with the flow is flexibility in action. I must be willing to change plans on the fly. Which action seems the most joyful, easiest, warmest? If I can, that's the direction I take. A playful approach helps. I try to be like the kid I used to be. As kids, we know what calls to us, with uncomplicated notions such as, "I like it here," or "I want to move away from here." 

I was all set to drive to town for a few veggies before the forecasted freezing rain arrived. I started the car, got dressed for the weather and saw rain freezing on the steps. Maybe tomorrow. 

I just spent a little while looking for synonyms for a word in the dictionary. It wasn't working. To move with the flow, I rephrased the sentence, and ended up with a better result. (Which you are currently reading.)

Building trust requires practice but the rewards are endless. The more often I stop and do a gut check, the more often I'll hear what life is telling me. The more often I hear and act on the signals life is giving me, the smoother life goes. The smoother life goes, the easier it is to trust that the Universe/Life/God is on my side.

It's a good way to live.