Go with the Flow
TRIGGER: When washing your hands.
TOOL : Whenever you’re at a sink and touch water, let the stream of warm liquid cue you to say, “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, traffi c, 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. Nowhere 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 nine hour delays, canceled flights, closed airports, equipment malfunctions, de-icing, screaming infants (once it was my own), kicking children (directly behind me), cramped middle seats, turbulence, and vomiting neighbors. I’ve been on short fl ights, long fl ights, 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 fl ight was delayed indefi nitely 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 “DAMN!” and began kicking a nearby wheelchair (which, fortunately, was empty). The mother of the irate teen looked mortifi ed but didn’t say a single word to her son. People all around me began huffi ng, 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 an 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. They were 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 envisioned 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, 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. It has been said that whenever we fi ght with reality, we lose. Learning to accept what’s already happening, rolling with theproverbial punches, and fl owing with the current of life is truly one of the biggest secrets to inner peace.
PURPOSE: Swimming upstream is not only exhausting but usually futile as well. There is a wonderful feeling of alignment when we give up resistance and let the current carry us. When we focus for a moment on water and our hands, we create a space within which resistance can dissipate. And warm water actually calms our bodies. This tool reminds us of the peaceful power of acceptance.