When things are going rough, it’s easy to fall back on things that feel easy.
Life is a series of cycles. It’s filled with all kinds of flow. Picture the flows like those in a river.
Throughout your days, weeks, months, and entire life, you’ll be pulled by these types of flow:
- Flow that propels us forward without us having to do much other than float
- Flow that forces us to swim to keep up
- Flow that gives us a chance to use our own power to pull ahead of the current
- Flow that propels us in a backward current
- Flow that gets stuck in an eddy, forcing us under and to the surface, under and to the surface, again and again
- Flow that gives us a chance to climb out on a bank, sitting and breathing and watching the river continue to move
When we’re feeling out of sync with the flow, it’s easy for us to go back to what seems to have worked for us in the past, even if it’s not the right action for that type of flow.
This is how you get stuck in your flow
For me, this often manifests itself in my work. I run this coaching business and develop programs for moms to find their fun. This is my passion, and many times, it feels like a strong flow. But it doesn’t always propel me forward. It gets stuck in lots of eddies. So when I’m feeling stuck, it’s easy for me to feel crawling out onto a rock is the easiest thing to do.
I think, “This is too hard. I know that my freelance writing makes me money. So I’m just going to quit Make Your Perfect and go back to freelance writing.”
Sure, I can feel financially stable when I’m focusing on freelance writing. But I don’t feel personally fulfilled. There’s always something missing in other areas of my life when I jump out of the river in this way.
This also manifests itself in the way I interact with my kids. I’ll go through phases where I recognize that my house feels chaotic because everyone is always speaking so loudly. Someone is always talking over someone else, and someone is always yelling. So I’ll stop yelling for a while. I’ll push against the current and use my inside voice.
But then a few days later, when the kids are battling it out over whose fidget spinner is the one with the dent in it and who is responsible for putting away the LEGOs that the other kid dumped out in the first kid’s room, I go through a really strong pull in the current. It feels like it’s pulling me the wrong way. And I lose it. I go back to the past behaviors.
I yell, I freak out… it feels like it works in the moment, but it never works in the long run. This is an example of going back to what feels easy and comfortable because it has worked to a certain extent in the past—even though this isn’t necessarily a constructive way to move forward in the flow.
Taking the easy way out of your flow can also rear its ugly head when you’re trying to set forth on a new venture. Even if it’s something as simple as changing your summer mindset. Maybe you told yourself that you were going to work on self-care this summer. You were going to do something for yourself. Perhaps you’re even working with a coach, a therapist, or taking part in a program like the Make Your Perfect Virtual Summer Camp.
But then you realize that having the kids home from school is more stressful than you thought. You don’t have a moment of peace. You struggle to keep track of the summer schedule. Planning playdates feels like work.
Then, something big happens. Maybe your car breaks down—more financial struggles. Or your pet gets sick. And it feels even harder to go with the flow.
So you jump out again. Because jumping out feels easier than staying in.
Here’s another example: Your house is always a mess. It’s filled with clutter. The clutter is making it hard to get clarity on any other part of your life. But your constant struggle with decluttering isn’t giving you time for other forms of self-care. And your house is STILL a mess, so you’re constantly pushing against a flow that’s not taking you anywhere constructive. But when the chaos starts to get you down, instead of trying to do something different, instead of flowing forward with your attempts at self-care, self-love, and mindset work, you go back to decluttering… even though it doesn’t work.
You’re jumping out of the flow again.
What happens when you don’t go with the flow
But when you jump out, you don’t go anywhere at all. And flowing backwards, getting stuck in the same ruts that you’re used to, is hard work too.
Doing something different feels hard. Learning to manage the flow in a different way than you’re used to takes energy. And expending all that energy while getting stuck in the wrong current can make you feel like it’s not worth it. You think, I’ll just go back to my old ways…at least I know what’s coming next.
But that thing that comes next might be equally hard. It feels comfortable, it feels familiar, but it might not be progressing in the way you want to progress down the river.
So next time the flow feels hard, next time you try to do something good for yourself and you feel like you’re instantly drowning, instead of immediately jumping out, try to notice: Which type of flow are you in? Maybe this is a time to swim, maybe this is a time to float, maybe this is a time to let it take you where it’s taking you. It may not feel comfortable, but trust that it is taking you where you need to go.
Want to get your flow going this summer?
Watch the live video in the MYP Powerhouse Collective FB group on Wednesday, June 21, at 8:30 p.m.
We’re going to get the good vibes going so that you have a plan for staying in the flow this summer.
After you sign up, confirm your subscription in your email account. Then, you’ll receive emails from me telling you where to go to join us for the live chat and FIND YOUR FLOW!
(Plus, you’ll get to join in on the Go With The Flow challenge that starts right after the chat).