If you’re anything like me, when you hear the phrase “Go with the flow”, you feel rebellion, effervescence, then fear.
Rebellion because you’ve just reminded yourself: “Oh yeah, I am the one putting limits on myself. Enough of that. I AM UNSTOPPABLE! POUR THE COFFEE, MAKE THE LISTS, TAKE ACTION, BOOK THE TICKETS, AND LET’S SHAKE THINGS UP ALREADY! WHAT HAVE I BEEN WAITING FOR?”
Effervescence because you’ve just remembered: “There is SO MUCH possibility out in the world, so many things to be done, so many places to go, where will I even start? I’m going to say YES to everything that feels right!”
Fear because the wisdom of trusting yourself scares the bejeezus out of you as much as it thrills you and you think to yourself: “I want to live my life to the fullest, but I also don’t want to lose friends, family, or see negative numbers in my bank account.”
This is all an act of trying to serve the different parts of ourselves. For me, those parts include the desire for security, discipline, joy, short and long-term satisfaction, connection with love. It’s about trying to find a balance between expansive and contractive energy. It often manifests in making plans to travel, but also making a plan to come back home. It often manifests in my relationships: balancing the desire to love fully and unconditionally with the need to set boundaries and have brave conversations about what we need with the ones we love the most.
Ultimately, I believe that diligence, discipline, and making future plans is important and healthy and fun. But it’s also essential to let go and “go with the flow” because that’s where the juiciness of life happens, in the moments that aren’t planned, predicted, and scheduled.
So how can you make plans and go with the flow and maintain your sanity? Here are a few things that help me:
1. GEt clear on your core desired feelings
Remember these? Core desired feelings are about how you want to FEEL, not what you want to DO. What you want to do can be another list entirely, so don’t throw that out. But clarity on how you want to feel will help you go with the flow and tap into the feminine wisdom of the body and what it wants which for me is often different than how my sometimes masculine-task-oriented-mind makes plans.
Some of your core desired feelings might be in opposition to each other and that’s a-okay. You’re a complex human with diverse needs, so don’t panic if this is true for you! For example, some of my core desired feelings for 2018 are polar opposites of each other, but they’re still equally valid:
Gaining clarity on core desired feelings can help us at the beginning of the year and also at any time of the year when people need a reminder of what’s important to them and stay solidly in alignment with how we want to feel in order to live a life that is in alignment with our biggest desires and dreams. Since it’s May and the beginning of a new quarter, now could be a great time to gain clarity on what matters most to you if you don’t already know how you most want to feel.
2. ground yourself
This is the act of putting loving limitations on yourself and getting what you need from others. In real life, this could look like deciding on financial or productive goals for yourself, setting a budget for a trip, or having a big conversation with someone you love about what you need in your relationship. The word “honesty” comes to mind. Be very honest with yourself so that you can be real with your other selves and your loved ones. Decide what is non-negotiable for you and hold that line, firmly and lovingly. The more clearly you state and hold these boundaries, the happier you will be. You’ll build trust with yourself and the people you love. And when you know what you will not or cannot do, you can then so much more easily go with the flow and let life have its way with you. Ideally in a way that’s fun and expansive, yet doable and not regrettable.
3. Keep your heart open
This is a somatic reminder to check in with my body, the feeling in the center of my sternum and the tissues around my heart. Here’s how to do it: put your hand over your heart. Take a few breaths here to feel it pulsate. Ask yourself: “Is the energy around this decision expansive or contractive?”
If the heart energy is expansive, ask yourself: “Does this expansion also align with my boundaries? Does it also align with my core desired feelings? If it’s a yes for both, the decision is easy. Listen to your heart and say yes! WOO HOO! You are now going with the flow. Doesn’t it feel good?!
If the heart energy is contractive, ask yourself: “Does this contraction go against my boundaries? Is it out of alignment with my core desired feelings?” If yes, then it’s time to have a chat with yourself and reassess this decision. There might be something about this that doesn’t resonate with you. Maybe you can identify it and move through it. Or maybe it’s still a tight and contracted: NO for you. That’s okay. This is great information for you to have. Saying NO to this will help you say YES and go with the flow with something or someone else who makes your heart sing.
If the energy feels expansive, it’s easy to go with the flow. If the energy feels contractive, it’s hard to go with the flow.
I hope these three ways of going with the flow will help you make some of the biggest and soul-affirming decisions: core desired feelings, grounding, and keeping your heart open. Do any of these strategies resonate with you?
Breathe and believe.