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Loving It Flow

Keep it flowing

So, I found out today that my last name is not only a noun, it is also a verb. What does it mean "to rill"? It means to flow like water. Naturally, the writer in me flowed out...

According to physics water chooses not the path of least resistance, but the most available path of least resistance.

I’ve never liked the term “going with the flow” in what I think is its traditional sense.

To me, if you’re going with the flow, you’ve given up, you’re not living a purposefully directed life, rather, everything is just kind of happening. It might feel reactive, rather than proactive.

Frankly, I lived my life that way for years and I didn’t like it. Only, I didn’t really know what was going on- I didn’t realize I was living that way at all. There was a nagging sense of being unfulfilled and living with simmering anger due to the sense of powerlessness my “going with the flow” created.

My life was a whole bunch of sameness and I resisted processing anything I saw that would be negative, inconvenient or painful. I was living in an environment where feelings were meant to be “conquered” and it was far more laudable to put on a stiff upper lip and just get on with life. There was nothing praiseworthy about this, we were just really good dam builders.

As human beings we actually aren’t meant to be receptacles, we’re meant to be conduits. All the love and anger, the energy, the experiences, the situations, bad and good are meant to flow through us.

But so often, we want to cling on to the good things and we attempt to resist all the things we see as bad and negative that are coming our way. So human of us.

Remember what physics teaches us about flow- the most available path of least resistance is favored. What happens when the flow is impeded? There is either some kind of overflow/flood, or a backup is created behind this makeshift dam.

Eventually, a bottleneck of emotions develops, and our flow is reduced to a trickle. All the things that we don’t want to deal with or look at in ourselves stays there, behind our wall of resistance. Very little trickles in, and very little trickles out. Our outer world is a chaos of swirling life, and we let it fly by, with little thought or control over what gets our attention next.

Naturally we are far more willing to look at the log in all our brother’s eyes. These are often the situations that we allow inside. We examine them, we feel that hurt and rejection and we hold it up to our (now greatly dimmed) light, before finally releasing it out when the next injustice trickles in for our inspection. Negative plus a negative is always negative, so what does our outward flow become?

Keeping our flow steady and in balance takes a realization. I’m hopeful that picturing yourself as the Hoover Dam, holding back a swirling load of crap could be it!

So the key is to open your spillways, and let that stuff flow. Not in to stay, but through to pass.

Remember, you’re a conduit, not a receptacle. A rill (noun!) not a lake...

This takes something that isn’t exactly appreciated in our society: surrender.

I don’t mean surrender in the “going with the flow” sense, “Oh, hey, my job is** crappy; my coworker is such a jerk: I guess this is how life is**, I’d better go stock up on wine…”

I’m talking about surrender in the nonjudgmental sense, “Hey, my job feels** crappy. I could open a line of honest communication with my coworker and see if we could do something different or choose a different path. Let me examine these feelings and then see what her feelings are."

Some important points:

  1. Surrendering to a situation isn’t resignation to it, it is allowing open minded assessment of it with an eye for making a decision about dealing with it.

2. Surrender needs non-judgment. When we are resisting, we are keeping things on the outside because we have judged it and labeled it positive or negative and we