Rebecca Elia's Blog

All about Feminine Health, Healing, and Greece

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

“Just Go With the Flow”

The Elia family on the infamous red retro shag carpet

Are you, like me, tired of hearing "just go with the flow?"How many times have I heard that? And what does it really mean? I’ve seen so many people insist on doing so, and then use it as an excuse to so completely let go, that they lose all sense of direction. Suddenly, all responsibility is relinquished into the cosmos, playing into the belief that we are truly empty vessels, without will, at the whim of the first force that comes our way.

Don't get me wrong. I'm all for "letting go," and, being an incredibly stubborn human myself, know how difficult that can be. But “letting go” and “just go with the flow” are not always prescriptives to relinquish all will. Unless it is your intention to stop completely, then “just go with the flow” does not imply lack of direction. Actually, it usually implies exactly the opposite.

I was reminded of this today when I made my second attempt to use a very old (and heavy) upright vacuum cleaner to clean our carpeted cabin floor. I had tried once before, several weeks ago, but abandoned my efforts when—for the life of me—I couldn’t find the “on” switch. Where the heck was it? There were all kinds of potential switches on the thing, but none of them panned out. Even a call to the parents didn’t solve the mystery. So instead, I pulled out an even older vacuum cleaner from under the benches and practically broke my back, hunched over the darn thing. The latch was broken and was (not) held closed by duct tape. It was a nightmare.

Today, I dragged the original enigma out of the closet and, determined this time, found the magic button. But when I attempted to use it on our red retro shag rug, my back immediately screamed protest. It was like dragging a boulder over tree branches. Surely there was another latch on it somewhere for carpeted surfaces. It glided over the puny one foot uncarpeted slate square. But you know how successful I am with finding buttons…so instead, I, by sheer willpower and unknown force, accomplished the task to the detriment of my back. When I was finally finished, I wrapped up the cord, popped it back on its hind legs and directed it to its parking place in the bedroom closet. Again, it glided (with glee, mind you!).

That’s when I was reminded of the phrase “just go with the flow.” If only I had found that magic button, would it not have glided over the shag carpet too? I mean, the task of cleansing had to be done; it wasn’t a directionless task. Without the magic button I was faced with “going with the flow” and leaving the darn thing in the closet, or expending a tremendous amount of energy in order to enjoy a newly vacuumed cabin floor. But, oh, if I had only found that button, then that vacuum cleaner would have glided itself—with very little steering effort on my part.

Bingo! I got it! That’s what it really means to go with the flow. We’re still doing the steering, but we’re not the power behind it. The task is practically accomplishing itself, because we’re moving with the bigger flow, the bigger power. Yes, that cabin floor needed to be cleaned, and yes, it was my job to do so, but I had help available. Instead of old, heavy, backbreaking help, there was a magic button somewhere. All I had to do was find it, and we’d both be gliding across that carpet!

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