“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” – Lao-Tzu
“Now relax. Go with the flow. Let life take you where you need to be.” Picture me meditating in yoga class, but one eye is open looking around the room at the other people that are sitting in complete stillness absorbing this information with knowing smiles on their faces. It’s like they were saying, “Yeah, Universe. I’ve got this! I am a master at going with the flow.” Inside I can’t help but panic…of course, I want to go with the flow of life. Of course, I want to be a carefree bohemian that is happy to go with the flow. Of course, I want my business to grow organically because people are drawn to what I do. But, all this meditation is making me feel is more pressure and anxiety about how I SHOULD feel.
I leave yoga, go home, and like any good yogi start to reflect upon my practice. I know that I can be tightly wound about certain things and not always the most flexible in my mindset. Instead of playing the victim card, I decide to stop poutin, pull up my big girl yoga pants, and start to search for ways that I too, can reach this enlighted state of going with the flow.
Now, I can’t say that I am a master at it yet, but I am a work in progress. The following paragraphs contain tips that have been helping me relax, let go of control, and trust that the universe (God, higher-self, or whatever you believe in) has my back and has a plan. I am choosing to trust that I am where I am right now for a reason. Hope these tips help you, too.
1. Go With The Flow (Duh!)
It seems silly to say this because I am supposed to be giving you useful tips for going with the flow, but hear me out. I started to think about what “going with the flow” means. It means that you roll with the punches, you except the unexpected. You don’t get stressed or frazzled when life throws you a curve ball. I have started to make a conscious effort on this front and have been embracing technology glitches, computer crashes, unfinished work because school calls me to pick up my daughter who has gotten sick… all things I can’t control. So when I feel that anxiety and stress start to rise, I try (keyword, try) to take a deep breath and realize that I don’t have control of these things and that I need to just go with the flow. It is happening whether I want it to or not, so I might as well go through the experience with a good attitude.
That leads me to number two. Breath. Take a deep breath, then another and another until you feel calmer. I learned a meditation from Gabby Bernstein in which you imagine you are on a beach or wading in the ocean. And a big wave full of your anxieties and fears comes towards you. You take a big breath in and dive into the wave releasing your breath as you dive. The next wave comes, it’s a little smaller, and you take a deep breath in and release as you dive into the wave. Repeat this sequence, as each time the waves get smaller and smaller until they are gone. Give it a try! It really helps and only takes a few minutes to go through this visualization.
3. Keep A Journal
Some days my journal entry is two lines. Other days, I write until it feels like my hand is going to fall off. Either way, it’s a great way to get it all out there, then move on. Reflecting upon your day and feelings allows you to connect and understand yourself more. It reinforces the learning process, and it’s a safe place to let it all hang out!
Each day is an effort, but as I continue to practice, just like most things, it becomes easier and more of my default. So next time you feel frustrated by something you can’t control. Stop, evaluate the situation, and decide right then in there you are going to take the path of least resistance. And don’t forget to try to enjoy the ride!