Thursday, November 27, 2014

Go with the Flow

Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers!  In America, this day is dedicated to eating a big meal, giving thanks, and football; unless you're like me and choose only to give thanks. I have much to be thankful for, too: my life and that I'm still breathing, my friends who continually surprise me with their love and support, and the Universe that prods me when I'm uncertain what to do next.  I am also thankful for the Buddha, Gautama Buddha, who sought enlightenment and shared what he learned with others.

One of those lessons was about impermanence. It's like the weather in Minnesota -- if you don't like it, you'll only have to wait half a day before it'll change. Impermanence in Buddhism teaches that change is a constant in the universe. Nothing remains the same.  Not even our bodies since the cells that make up our bodies die and are replaced with new ones all the time.

Gautama Buddha

Like most humans, I like things to stay the same, though.  I really enjoy routine, a structure to my days, and when something disrupts that routine structure, I'm not happy.  Holidays and the activities surrounding them tend to disrupt the routine structure of my days, as well as the new part-time job I began at the beginning of this month. So this holiday season, I'm feeling frazzled, very much in flux, searching for solid ground under my feet.

Go with the flow. Did this notion emerge in the late 1960's or has it always been around?  I use it to remind myself that I have little control over my world.  I have control only over my body, thoughts and emotions. With everything else, I need to let go, enter the flow and let it carry me as far as I need to go.  It's hard.

Especially during this major holiday season each year. It can be terribly stressful, even for people who don't participate very much in the holidays like me. Constant Christmas music, Christmas decorations everywhere, the festive activities that sprout up here and there, the constant TV advertising urging consumers to buy, buy, buy.  It's a really stressful time if you have little money.  It feels like you're truly a loser because you can't buy, buy, buy.

Photo: Flickr/bcymet

What is the flow of your life? What determines that flow? To begin, your beliefs and values contribute to that flow. Ignore society's flow if it isn't complementary to yours. Focus on your life, your flow for the holidays.

For me, people are important, so I try to spend time with friends, share experiences with them like a concert or holiday activity. This is true year-round, too. My writing is important so I try to do as much of it as I can. My connection with the Universe is important, so I work on taking spiritual time. Food? Not that important anymore. Decorations? No. Buy, buy, buy? No. What is truly important cannot be bought.

Stress will still rear its ugly head in different ways unless you start now to just go with the flow. Relax. Breathe. Stop to think about what you truly have control over and let go of the rest.  Smile.  And smile some more. You'll be surprised how powerful a smile can be....

Photo: Disney

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