Go With the Flow

Trigger:  When you wash your hands. 

Tool:  Whenever you’re at a sink and touch water, let the stream of liquid cue you to say to yourself “Go with the Flow” or “I trust the Universe” or “Everything is as it should be.”  This reminds you to LET GO and flow with the current of life. 

Most of us like to believe that we’re in control, master of our fates.  The cold hard truth, however, is that we actually control very little in our lives.  We can’t control other people, the weather, death, sickness, delays, traffic, long lines in stores, and on and on.  We do most everything we can to keep up the pretense of our in-charge personas but somewhere deep inside we suspect it’s all an illusion.  No where is this more evident than during air travel.

Now I don’t spend a lot of time in airplanes, but I have flown enough through the years to experience 9 hour delays, cancelled flights, closed airports, equipment malfunctions, de’icing’, screaming infants (once it was my own), kicking children (directly behind me), middle seats, turbulence, and vomiting neighbors.  I’ve been on short flights, long flights, small planes, and jumbo jets.  All I can say is that it’s a humbling experience because you can control absolutely NOTHING except your personal state of mind (and usually that feels beyond your control as well).

One summer afternoon, I was in an airport and an airline employee came over the public address system to announce that our flight was delayed indefinitely until a thunderstorm system moved through Denver.  Much to my surprise, a teenage boy sitting next to his mother across from me got up in a rage, yelled at the top of his lungs “@#!#” and began kicking a nearby wheelchair (which, fortunately, was empty).  The mother of the irate teen looked mortified but didn’t say a single word to her son.  People all around me began huffing, whipping out their cell phones, and muttering similar obscenities under their collective breaths.

I too was starting to feel my blood pressure rise but then I had a strange sort of out-of-body experience.  I ‘clicked’ and suddenly became a detached observer, like I was watching this ‘airport delay scene’ in a movie theater.  I watched the would-be passengers responding with frustration, some yelling at the airline employees (as if that would cause the storm system to move faster).  I realized how laughably absurd the situation appeared, like a bunch of toddlers throwing tantrums because their recess was rained out.

Within seconds, I clicked back into my body.  With my eyes closed, I imagined the rains that were responsible for our delays, and I just ‘let go.’  I imagined the waters drenching me, and in my head began to chant the words “Go with the flow”.  With that, I calmly opened my book and proceeded to have a great read for the next couple of hours while I waited for all the storms to pass.

Whenever we wage war with reality, with ‘what is,’ we are absolutely going to lose.  Learning to accept what’s already happening, rolling with the proverbial punches, and flowing with the current of life is truly one of the biggest secrets to inner peace. 

Purpose:   Swimming up-stream is not only exhausting but usually futile as well.  There is a wonderful feeling of alignment when you give up resistance and let the current carry you.  This tool reminds us of the peaceful power of acceptance.

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