It seems that a lot of people in my life – myself included – are in a transitional phase where circumstances have changed in terms of relationships, employment, living arrangements, health, etc. Luckily, most of them are wise enough not to see these transitions as inherently bad, and recognize them as opportunities to lead more joyful and fulfilling lives. But all of us seem to be a little lost regarding what we want, how to get there, and what to do next.
I had a revelation about this several weeks ago and have been struggling to put it into words since then. The images that came to me were of a glider pilot or a windsurfer. They get where they’re going most easily and efficiently by finding and following the natural currents in the air or water. In simplest terms, they “go with the flow”.
I believe we can do the same thing in life during transition times by becoming aware of the constantly changing physical, emotional, mental and spiritual currents in each moment, and then flowing with those currents. But how do we do that? The problem is, it’s a learned thing that can’t be learned. That is, the glider pilot can’t learn exactly where the downdrafts or thermal pockets will be any more than the surfer can predict precisely how a particular wave will break, because the currents are constantly changing. But a good pilot or surfer learns how to read the air or water by being entirely present in the moment and also by understanding that shifting patterns of flow are the fundamental nature of those elements — and that’s what makes riding them fun!
So when we’re in transition – when everything is up for grabs – it’s important to stay aware and open to the shifting patterns of the moment and surrender to them. It’s important to use our hearts and not just our minds. Our minds will try to “figure out” our destination and plot the most direct route. But if we aren’t paying attention to changes in emotional, physical and spiritual patterns, we can lock ourselves into a collision course with disaster in the same way a glider pilot or windsurfer would if they held to a particular course regardless of how the air or water was flowing at that moment.
I believe that achieving constant awareness of and repeated surrender to the ever-changing currents is simply a matter of practice – just like the pilot and the surfer. Recognize that what worked or felt good yesterday may not work or feel good today. Accept that you may wake up feeling blue in the morning and feel on top of the world by noon. When things seem to be flowing easily and effortlessly, get to work and get stuff done. When every effort feels thwarted, take a walk, take a nap, read for awhile. Imagine yourself as a leaf on a fast moving river and let yourself go with the flow. Once we are able to recognize and navigate our life currents with grace and ease, I believe that what we want, how to get there, and what to do next will become obvious.