Monday, November 8, 2010

Going with the flow

I used to get angry whenever things did not go my way. Even little things would bother me. Like going to the store with the idea of getting a specific type of bread, or a specific brand of beer, only to discover that they were all sold out. It annoyed me. Kind of ruined my day. No not really ruined it, but just put me in a sour mood, particularly if that was the only store that carried what I was looking for. Or if I applied for a job, something I've been doing a lot of these past six months, and don't even get an interview, don't even get any kind of a response whatsoever. Not a yes, a no, or a maybe, just dead silence, nothing. This used to bother me. Not anymore.

I'm trying to become less attached to my expectations. This is somewhat difficult for me though because I'm the kind of person that is always thinking ahead, planning things, likes to have some control of the situation, to know exactly what is going on. I like to know the who, what, when, why, where, how of everything I'm involved in. I'm always thinking. I have plans, carefully thought out plans, but then when they don't go the way I anticipate them going, it is hard for me not to be bothered by it.

There is nothing wrong with thinking ahead and making plans, but I've found that no matter what you do, and no matter how well prepared you are, sometimes things just happen that you have no control over. And instead of resisting it, sometimes it is better to just go with it. To go with the flow and to make the best of it. See what you can learn from the change in plans, to see what can be learned from whatever unforeseen events have fallen your way.

I really do believe that every single moment in time, every single experience in life contains a valuable lesson, provides an opportunity to learn something, or to see something in an entirely new and different and interesting way. When you have plans, you have this specific picture in your mind of what you want to happen. But if something different happens, something that is entirely unexpected or undesirable, instead of resisting it, instead retreating from it, or immediately trying to change the situation to go your way, it can be valuable to just stop and look around you and observe what is happening. Look at the situation without resistance, without expectation, and maybe you'll see something there that is important for you to see, something that could be valuable to you, an unexpected blessing, or just an opportunity to look at the situation in a different way, that could give you added insight into something you didn't see before.

For instance, I go to the store and find that my favorite style of bread and beer is all sold out, but instead of getting angry, or trying to figure out all these elaborate plans of going all over town trying to track down some other place that sells these things, it could be seen as an opportunity to do something entirely different, maybe even something better. Maybe you'll use the opportunity to take an honest look at some of the other types of breads or beers you haven't tried before or that you haven't ever paid much attention to. Or perhaps you'll look at something else entirely different, maybe wine, or tea, or whatever.

The point is that whenever you find your routines abruptly altered, and your regular habits suddenly denied, is an opportunity to do something different, something that you may not have otherwise done, but that may turn out to be just as good, if not better than your original plans. Sometimes what at first seems like a misfortune, may later turn out to have been a blessing in disguise.

It's perfectly okay to make plans and to have habits and routines, but when things do not go according to plan, when habits and routines are altered, and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it, I've found that rather than getting angry or stressed out about it, and trying to resist the irresistible, or trying to change the unchangeable, sometimes it is just better to go with the flow, and see where it takes you. Maybe you'll be pleasantly surprised that it could be someplace even better than you have ever imagined.

I look at unforeseen events, even unpleasant ones, as acts of synchronicity that are worth paying attention to. It's like, hmm, I didn't plan this, this is not the outcome I expected, or the outcome that I desired, and yet it happened this way, what can I learn from it? It can't be all bad, right? There must be something good in this somewhere. It's like a message, or a sign, altering your course, and pointing your attention in a different direction, that you wouldn't have otherwise noticed, without your plans being abruptly changed, your routines all shook up.

Another thing I do, along the lines of finding blessings in disguise, is when web searching, and I misspell something that brings me to a totally different set of search results, or a totally different website than the one I intended to go to, instead of clicking away right away, instead of quickly correcting my mistake, I stop a moment and look around me, to see what different results synchronicity has brought me to see. And you know what, very often those search engine typos, bring up some pretty interesting results. You should try it sometime. Don't be so quick to correct your mistakes, but instead pause for a moment, look around you, and go with the flow, see what blessings in disguise synchronicity may have brought you today.

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