It strikes me that there is much going on in life that we can try and resist or push against. Sometimes I just want to say “stop!” or “enough is enough!”. It seems that we have struggled through some tough times – either as individuals, families, or as a community, and now the world is again making us witness things that are difficult to understand or to come to terms with. Yet despite this, there is something very powerful about just feeling whatever we feel, without trying to ‘do’ or control.
This ‘flow‘ has been described as “a deep state of concentration or complete absorption with the activity or situation at hand”. For some experiencing flow is being able to detach, or experience mindfulness; being present in the moment, without worry about past or future. Some argue that this can be a ‘tool’ to help us be happier, more creative or improve our productivity, but ancient philosophy views flow as simply accepting what is as it is.
By ‘going with the flow’ we are staying present, recognising how we feel right now, noticing joy as well as hardship, and not spending unnecessary amounts of time thing about our past or future.
For example, finding space for gratitude (for more information click *here
*), or allowing ourselves to be fully in the moment when we are with those we love. If we can allow immersion, being fully present with both mind and body, we can suddenly feel very liberated and free from burden. And yes, it might be temporary, but if we can do it once, then we can recognise how it feels and find that space again – we have each had those moments, but we can easily forget that they are possible when things feel difficult.
We might also need to let go of our desire for control. When we are fully into something we can lose track of time, forget our worries. Trying to hold on to control, particularly when things are worrying or difficult, can actually make us feel worse. I’m not suggesting we all sit around doing nothing all the time or stop making plans, but if trying to control an uncontrollable situation is making you feel anxious or fearful, then why not see what happens if you let go of the feeling that you need to control it. You may find that things are exactly the same, whether you try and control them or not. If they are the same, then you are saving yourself a lot of time and energy, and if you feel better for releasing some hold on things, then that’s even better!
For me, I think that ‘going with the flow’ means not fighting, stopping hiding from how I feel, no longer avoiding or blaming, and not getting angry at things I cannot control. It is about not resisting my own emotions or responses, just accepting that this is how I feel and allowing this to be OK. I can feel, be present in the moment, love, and that is all. Letting things flow though me.
(Much) wiser people than me have said;
“Don’t wish for things to happen the way you would like them to. Rather, welcome whatever happens. This is the path to peace, freedom, and happiness”
“Just flow with the time, do with the flow. Then there is no agony. There is only contentment all the time”
“Let the mind flow like water. Face life with a calm and quiet mind and everything in life will be calm and quiet”
“Go with the flow. Force nothing. Let it happen… trusting that whichever way it goes, it’s for the best”
“You can outrun what is running after you, but not what is running inside of you”
So, let your flow flow, be you, you are OK whatever you feel today.
With many thanks to https://minimalism.co/articles/go-with-the-flow-of-life for their words, and from this finding Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (1990) Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience.
If you want to share your response to the idea of flow, or would like to share some of your answers to the questions, you can respond on our Facebook page.
Our One Day at a Time Facebook Group is exclusively for people that North Devon Hospice are currently supporting. You can find the group by visiting the North Devon Hospice Facebook page.