Going with the Flow

I think one of the most important things that I have had to learn (and am still learning) is to go with the flow. I spent plenty of time and effort fighting circumstances because they weren’t going according to my plan. After all, I knew the exact order in which events should happen and the exact way people should behave so that everything came out the way that it should be — which was MY way. 

It took me a long time (and a couple of almost-nervous breakdowns) to learn that I am not in charge of the Universe. It was humbling and is still hard to accept at times — after all, who wants to admit that they are not in control? I was brought up by Montanans, generations of people who had immigrated to the West and scraped out a life for themselves, self-sufficient and independent. They were in control, felt like they had to be in control, in order to survive.

But for me, it was physically, mentally and emotionally draining to be in control — I had to be constantly vigilant and on top of every little thing. 

Every. Little. Thing. 

Even then, nothing ever went the way that I planned. I was expending so much energy forcing a square peg into a round hole, that I had nothing left. Nothing.

When I was at the very end, when I finally gave up and admitted that I couldn’t control people, places or things, that was when I started to be happier. I let go of control and began to accept things are they were, to really pay attention to what was going on and not anticipate or want things to be different.

Not accepting is like being swept out to sea in a current. If I swim at a 90 degree angle to the shore, trying to get back to my starting point, I am fighting the ocean. And if I continue on that course, I will eventually tire and sink. If I swim at a 45 degree angle or a little more, the current will help me rather than hold me back and I can go with the flow. I may end up a few miles down the beach but I will be on dry land.

By accepting things as they truly are and going with the flow, I decrease my own suffering. I also have more energy to make the changes that I can (without fighting the current) without being wedded to the outcome.

Trying to control what was beyond my control nearly killed me. I am much happier now that I am not in the driver’s seat. I’m just along for the ride and it’s great!