With 2017 getting cozy, the year of the Rooster beginning to crow, and my upcoming birthday ready to usher in a new chapter, I have been taking a step back to reflect and “take stock,” as they say, before moving into this next phase of my life.
To provide a little background before offering my musings on the topic, “Growing with the Flow,” I want to begin by saying that 2016 was a turbulent year for me. Frankly, at times, it was even quite dark.
Through personal loss, family crises, career curve balls and betrayals of the heart, I found myself wondering if there would ever be a light at the end of the tunnel. What I reminded myself during these times, though, was that only within darkness can seeds begin to stir with new life.
And boy, was I planting seeds.
You see, I’d spent a lot of time last year getting very clear on what I want in life — sometimes, that took experiencing its polar opposite — and, as that clarity started to gel, slowly but surely I felt the cultivation of inner peace taking root. I began to feel reinvigorated by the self-affirming freedom of this peace, allowing it to transform grief into gratitude. As a seemingly natural reflex, I learned to let go.
The less I held tightly to experiences– trying to control them, dissect them, figure them out… the more life began to flow effortlessly. When I let go, I let the seeds of growth within those experiences blossom. I unearthed a degree of strength within myself I didn’t know I had, the kind of strength born of overcoming pain by moving through it.
I began to understand that the hardships we experience are simply the seeds of change, ready to teach us forgiveness, perseverance and unwavering grace. If we would only allow them to incubate instead of frantically trying to dig them out and discard them, we would see them reap; we would see the light that was there all along and, perhaps, see it truly for the first time.
In keeping with our theme of seeds, I’ve been reflecting lately on the message a flower’s life offers. This is a concept I was introduced to by the late Dr. Wayne Dyer, a man I credit with changing the course of my life and whose work I cannot recommend more highly. A theme through much of his work, namely in his later years, Dr. Dyer focused deeply on living a life of non-interference: of letting go, and of trust.
And there’s the key word I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. Trust.
Dr. Dyer offered the life of a flower as a metaphor for how to find peace in our lives. He explained that flowers do not worry; they don’t need to do anything, control anything or prove anything to flourish. They radiate the beauty of a life utterly infused with, and reliant on, trust.
A flower doesn’t wonder, “Where am I getting nourishment next? How do I know it’s going to rain? How do I know the sun will come out again tomorrow? What if a bee doesn’t come pollinate me? How can I make sure everything is going to be O.K.?!”
Flowers simply exist in the knowing that they are taken care of. They exist in the moment, somehow nestled comfortably within the uncontrollable and unalterable pendulum swing that is the life cycle — birth, growth, death, decay.
We, too, are part of this life cycle. Yet we spend so much of our precious time trying to control everything — bypassing the entire experience of life altogether — that we miss the utter bliss of the moment, of surrender, of trust.
What we do in this life and how we experience this time, is entirely up to us. We can spend it worrying about and fighting the world around us, trying to control how everything unfolds — relationships, careers, finances, politics (oh, it’s exhausting just typing that!) — or… we can let go.
Remember that, like the flower, we are forces of nature. We were cared for in the womb without needing to orchestrate a single thing (another Wayne-ism there). We didn’t need to do or be or prove anything. Our mothers’ bodies, in all of their infinite intelligence, provided all we needed to grow into these miracles we are today.
Why do we think that infinite intelligence halts operation when we leave the womb? How could it, when it’s right here, reminding our lungs to breathe and our hearts to beat right this very moment? Perhaps this infinite wisdom, this pure life energy, is ready to help guide our lives right now, if we would only drop the oars and relax.
We only have this day, this moment. As Dr. Wayne Dyer would advise us: Go with the flow. Let life show you it is happening for you, not to you.
With the peaceful heart inherent to a life being lived in moments, I say, let’s heed this advice. Let’s trust ourselves, trust life and trust the process. Let’s be go-with-the-flow-ers more often this year. In fact, let’s be… flowers.