Let it Flow
Sponsored by Next Step Goals, LLC
Written by Julie O’Keeffe Henzey
Next Step Goals logo brown letters orange circles 200 wide (2)

What a rainy few days we’ve had in the past week. I’ve been in our unfinished basement pulling up fabric runners and mopping up water that inevitably leaks in through the wall each time we experience heavy rains. Box fans have been going full blast and I’ve left the lights on to warm it up a bit. As of today, we’re all good again.

Water is amazing because as much as we try to control it, we can’t. Sure, we can dam it up or redirect it here and there, but our planet is covered with rivers that choose their own path, with no human intervention.

Funny thing is, it’s the same with stuff that happens in our life. There’s a lot we can’t control. We can’t control when our kids will get sick or when we’ll get a flat tire. We can’t control when our job is eliminated during downsizing or when our mother will do something about her weight .

The writer Pema Chodron talks about life as a river and our problems as the debris in the river.  Just imagine how each little thing we worry about can amount to a piece of debris, floating along. Have you ever noticed how little eddies can catch debris and keep it there, along the bank, in a never-ending swirl? Those swirls expend a lot of energy to keep junk revolving within their own sphere. Eventually, if enough debris gets caught up, the eddy will not be able to hold it and the collection will break free in a little flotilla.

Now imagine how we create this same situation with all our problems! We allow ourselves to feel negative emotions and fuel negative thoughts over things big and small. These emotions, thoughts, and beliefs all swirl around in a never-ending whirlpool, zapping energy that we could use elsewhere!  And yet we refuse to let go of the turmoil until it gets to be too much. Then it all busts out either with an outburst of anger, a heart-felt cry, or a four-margarita night.

Stuff is just going to happen. Rain is going to fall. We can let it flow freely downstream or we can trap it. We can let our emotional debris pile up and constantly hold us back, or we can choose to keep it from getting snagged up in the first place. I love Chodron’s advice: When we notice we’re starting to fuel a negative thought or emotion, we can just go ahead and feel it and then release it. Feel and release. Over and over again. Pretty much day in and day out! Until we master it and make it a habit.

Give it a try. And while you’re at it, hop in an inner tube and float downstream with some friends on this same river. You can laugh at your debris as it floats by!

Julie helps women and seniors successfully take action and navigate challenges through her two businesses Next Step Goals LLC and Peace of Mind Transitions LLC. She herself has climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro and completed 60 sprint triathlons while divorced with two kids.


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