Going With The Flow – Not Just for Dead Fish!

Here I am after 2 marvellous weeks volunteering/enjoying the Ottawa Bluesfest, complete with a stage-side seat for CAKE  – one of my very favourite bands.  I love being one of the 4000 or so volunteers who help make this event happen! And now I am adjusting back into everyday life, and considering next steps in my journey. 

I have often been told that I should be writing, by friends both in & out of physicality <grin>, so today I choose to write here.  And the topic, as you’ve probably determined from the title of the post, you clever creature, is about following the flow of our lives.  Now, a former candidate for high office in the US who I will not name here recently said that only dead fish go with the flow, and I have given that some thought.  I’ve even googled “fish swimming” to get some feel for whether it is true or not, but there was too much talk of muscle groups & the mechanics of fish swimming for me.  And then this morning I got a Daily OM on just this topic – what a coincidence!

I have decided that for humans, going with the flow is more like rafting a river, something I had the opportunity to do once or twice on the beautiful Bow in Alberta, and which I did informally (without raft) as a kid on the Otonabee.  As anyone who has been on water will tell you, following the flow is not lazy, or without skill.  It requires awareness, and the ability to make decisions in the moment, and to accept previous decisions as having had their impact but no longer needing our immediate attention – to rehash them as we travel detracts from our awareness of where we are now, and therefore our ability to make good decisions based on current circumstances.  The time to review is when we are off the water, having a bite to eat & perhaps a beer with our fellow travellers, or maybe others who have also experienced that course.  But all of our power & control is only in the present moment, that sometimes elusive thing that we look for in meditation.  I think this is why physical activity can so often be a form of meditation – we must stay focused on our changing conditions and nothing exists except Right Now.  Following the flow is the ONLY option in these circumstances, if we want to avoid possible injury.

And so it is with our lives – all of our power & control is in this moment, and yet we muddy the water by carrying forward our fears for the future & judgements from other moments – or worse yet, those of others who may or may not have followed the same course we did!  Don’t get me wrong – experience & planning are important & can help us to avoid making the same mistakes again & again, and input from others can enhance knowledge gleaned from our own experience.  It’s just that the time for reviewing those past choices is immediately after we made them, so we can take the learning & release anything that might limit us in future.  And then we can make good decisions, in the flow, following our own experiences and our knowledge.  Because we are the only ones there, on the water, making the decision that will determine where we go next. 

Wanna go rafting?

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