Have you ever noticed how much simpler life can be when you’re “going with the flow?”
It’s something I’ve done my best to practice for many years, suggesting my clients do the same, but in recent weeks, I’ve become much more aware of it in a number of different situations.
When I was driving on the freeway to a client’s home this last week, there was a traffic slowdown for many miles, so I called to let her know I might be a little late. At 93, she joyfully said, “Just go with the flow—that’s what you always suggest to me!” That’s when I knew I needed to write on this topic!
What exactly does “going with the flow” mean?
It could mean going along with and/or accepting what is, taking the path of least resistance, (like a river), or adjusting as things change around you. Using the experience with the freeway traffic is a good example. There’s no way I could go faster than the very slow flow of traffic—all four lanes were crawling along at about the same pace. I could have chosen to fret and worry and get all bent out of shape because I might be late, but that would make me tense and irritable. And why would I choose to be tense and irritable when I could choose to simply relax, accept what is, “go with the flow” (even when the circumstances were not what I expected), and make the best of it? When I do this, I’m in a much better mood and can be fully present when working with my client.
This has been a good reminder for me: It’s not what happens to us that causes our stress, it’s how we choose to react or respond to what happens that creates the tension and anxiety, as well as the wear and tear on our mind, body and spirit. When we become more conscious of this and more mindful of how we respond, we can practice making choices that keep us healthier and bring greater peace of mind. Sometimes that is easier said than done—it’s a practice—but learning to go with the flow can bring us much joy.
Going with the Flow is especially helpful in summertime.
There can be so many interruptions in summer—kids coming in and out, sleepovers, houseguests, spontaneous excursions on a beautiful day, and the over-all theme that summer is “play time.”
As we begin the summer months, I’m reminded of humorist and author Erma Bombeck’s wisdom. She used to fret because she’d make this long list of things she wanted to get done every summer and then be angry and beat herself up when summer was over and so little on her list had gotten done. Then she got wise: Each June, when school was out, she would post a piece of paper on her refrigerator entitled: “Things to Get Done this Summer,” and there would be absolutely NOTHING on that list—NOTHING! Then, if she DID get something done, she was elated. If she didn’t, she wasn’t expecting to, so there was no longer a need to be disappointed and angry. When I remember to reduce my expectations during the summer (when I want to play more, for sure!), it is so much easier to go with the flow and life is much more enjoyable.
May your summer be infused with play and fun and joy! May you find delight in the beauty and wonder of the outdoors and all it has to offer. May you spend time with those you love and those you serve, or who serve you. May you consciously practice “Going with the Flow.”