Planning and then Going with the Flow!

I have always been a good planner.  My attention to detail was sharp.  In fact I would say that I have a little bit of an obsessive compulsive tendency when it comes to planning events, trips, dinner parties etc.

Well… that I’m limited with my walking ability, energy levels etc. living with MS, I’ve had to learn to “go with the flow”.  I just cannot expend the energy it takes to be that perfectionist I use to be when it comes to planning things.  I now have to take shortcuts to get remotely close to how I use to plan and execute.

Going with the flow does not mean being lazy or passive.  It just means rolling with the flow of life as it presents itself.  This is a “big one” for me.  It’s taken time and soul searching for my obsessive compulsive self to finally give myself permission to let things happen as they will and stop trying to control the way I want things to happen.  It sets me up for disappointment otherwise.

As the great Chinese philosopher and writer, Lao-Tzu said “Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow.  Let reality be reality.  Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”

The way we build our life routine and how we structure our lives, our habits etc. will always be disrupted with things out of our control.  It’s just the way life spins.  If we fight this flow then we can get frustrated, angry and of course, stressed right out.

We have a daily routine starting with how we get out of bed each day, brush our teeth, shower, exercise, and just start our day with breakfast, kids, work etc.  On and on it goes until we drop into bed each night.  There are things that come up that are just out of our control that totally throw off the day, the routine, the plans.  It makes for a bad day.  Grrr.

We have to learn to breathe, let it go, move on.  I’m still learning how to do this.  It’s not easy.

Being blindsided with a chronic illness is definitely not in anyone’s plans.  But it happens.  It’s happened to me with the Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis and gradual decline in my physical abilities.  That’s a big “blow to the flow” so to speak.  I’ve really had to adjust.  I did not plan this.  I planned on golfing, traveling and being physically active well into my senior years.  It’s not going to happen as I had planned.  So, I have had to realign my original plan to a plan that will take into consideration, my disability now and down the road.

I’m rolling with the punches….as they say.

As Chuang Tzu,  another Chinese philosopher said “Flow with whatever is happening and let your mind be free.  Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing.  This is the ultimate.”

There are ways to make this “go with the flow” attitude easier.  First of all we must accept the fact that we cannot control everything or everyone in our lives.   We would like to but it is impossible.  Things come up that can screw up your daily routine or like me, your life plans.    Accept the things you cannot change or control.  When you find yourself in a situation that is causing you stress and frustration, practice deep breathing and you will hopefully find a sense of calm.  Put the situation into perspective.  Is it really that bad, is it really going to matter a year from now.   Laugh at yourself and find humor in the chaos.  Meditate.

I’m still learning to accept the impermanence of life.  If I think too much about what my life was suppose to be like….according to me…..instead of embracing the path my life is on then I feel sad and stressed.  This does not serve me well.  So, I am trying my best to not over think how I wish and want my life to go and allow the flow of my life to fall into it’s intended place.

As Byron Katie, American author and speaker about self inquiry, says:  “Life is simple.  Everything happens for you, not to you.  Everything happens at exactly the right moment, neither too soon nor too late.  You don’t have to like it….it’s just easier if you do.”



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