Controlling the Flow of Life

This title may seem oxymoronic, and perhaps it is, but it might also provoke the question, “Do we, or can we control the flow of life?” Or we might ask, “Do we want to control the flow of life?” And then, if we can and do, “Is there a flow of life?”

I don’t intend for this to be a, “If you put your foot in a stream, is it the same stream” kind of blog post, but I was thinking about how I have gotten fairly adept at allowing things that happen to just be what they are – to not be upset by them and to learn the lesson they were there to teach me. I have gotten good at not taking things personally, generally, which is a wonderful lesson for all of us to learn. Most importantly, I have learned to be okay with not having to be “in control” of everything that happens. This is especially useful since we are not in control of everything. At the same time, it is important to recognize that about which we do have control. One of my favorite quotes is the Serenity Prayer, “God Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” (Reinhold Niebuhr) If you have been here before, you know that this quote has guided me for years, and it continues to be one of the most influential in my life.

In terms of the “Flow of Life,” I believe it is important for us to learn how to simply, “Be” in that flow. When we spend time in the past, we are unable to move forward. If we spend too much time in the future, we miss out on all the wonder that is happening in our lives, right now. We do want to be clear about what our dreams and goals are, but the “what-if” game can be harmful when it is based on worry and fear. Think of FEAR as an acronym meaning, “False Evidence Appearing Real” and worrying as, “praying for something you don’t want.” How helpful are either to creating the life that you want?

So, if we don’t have control over everything that happens and we are well served by going along with the flow, what do we have control over? We have control over our actions, our beliefs, and our responses to things that happen “to us.” You have likely heard the expression, “It isn’t what happens to us but how we deal with what happens to us that defines our success.” What if everything that happened in your life was there to teach you something of value, something for your benefit? What if you knew that no matter how awful something seemed at the time, the result was going to be great? I believe that when we see our lives as splendid, magical adventures that teach us how to be joyful and loving, our lives will prove us to be right. How cool is that?

All the best,

Karl
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