Sounds like a contradiction, doesn’t it? We’ve been taught to believe that ‘going with the flow’ means inaction and passivity. Lying back and letting life happen to us, without any sense of direction or will involved. Old hippy dippy stuff.
But the true meaning of the phrase is the exact opposite. When we negotiate a river and go with the flow, we harness the energy that’s already available to us, in the currents. And we combine it with our own. Fighting the current is pointless, as is inaction. To truly go with the flow in life is to notice patterns, energy and circumstances around us – whether they be challenging or easy – and make full use of them. As a result we’ll get to wherever we are going far faster than if we resist.
Going with the flow doesn’t mean we have no idea where we are going. We do. But we remain open to the myriad ways of actually reaching our destination. There is no ‘right way’. Yet for so many of us (me included) our control beliefs all too often dictate the show. We decide on a course of action and come hell or high water we’re gonna stick with it. We have our GPS all worked out and can’t possibly deviate! Our beliefs tell us that unless we are ‘in charge’ we will lose our way, or lose ourselves.
The result of this rigidity? Staying in relationships way past their sell-by date (ouch – done that), jobs that are unfulfilling and drain our life force (tick), and in friendships that no longer serve us (been there too). We rigidly remain tied to plans that simply aren’t working and refuse to budge. Painful.
Recently, I had a plan to move to the south of France, and headed there. But after only a few weeks I realised that this was not the right place for me. I needed to let go of certain constructs and ideas I’d had and allow myself to be guided by my intuition. It didn’t actually bother me that I’d told everyone I was moving there (again) and instead I headed south for Spain and spent a blissful time on the coast at my friend’s wedding. A totally unexpected change of events that was even more wonderful as I got to see a dear friend from New York I hadn’t seen since 2009.
By letting go of my Grand Design, I was able to create space for other, better and more fulfilling opportunities to come into my life. It’s scary stepping into the unknown as it so often feels like a void. But this void is actually pregnant with potential. Trusting that there is a higher force guiding us – if we will only allow it – takes practice and self-awareness. But the more we do it, the more trust we will have in it. And the richer and more fulfilling our lives will be as a result.
This week, take a look and feel into areas of your life where you know you are holding on. Maybe take a different route to work, shake it up a little. Or go for a walk with no destination in mind and simply allow yourself to be guided. Practice going with the flow in your life and you’ll be amazed at the results.