Not always with the flow

Sometimes everything is easy and falls neatly into place. When that happens, it can be tempting to see it as proof that we are blessed, and moving in the direction some higher, hopefully benevolent force approves of. Perhaps we feel in tune with the universe, or that reality is bending over backwards to accommodate us. Either way, it can be intoxicating.

Nature is populated by things that create tides, and things that go along with them. The moon makes the sea tides, opening up coastal feeding opportunities, and then the predators come to feed on that which feeds and they are all part of the same tide. It makes good sense to use something heading your way, to go with a flow that suits your purpose.

Swans migrating thousands of miles ride the winds to ease and speed the journey. They could ride any wind, letting the air currents take them anywhere. To do so, would be to get lost, and probably to starve and die. Instead, they wait for the right winds, for the easterlies that will take them to winter feeding sites and safe havens. They are selective about the tide that will bear them.

The very ease of going with the flow can distract us from asking where the flow is going. We can be swept along, noting how easy it is to go this way, how comfortable and how much it is reinforced by all that is around us. We do not ask whose flow it is, whose intention pulls the tide and where it will eventually come to. It is by persuading people to take the easy way and go with the flow that mad tyrants build their tsunamis of war and cruelty. Everyone becomes so caught up in the tide that all else is swamped.

We need to be like swans, choosing the winds that will best carry us to the places we want to go. There are always many tides and currents, many opportunities to soar on thermals or glide downstream, but we have to pick the ones going the way we intended to go, or we are simply lost in the flow of some other intention, and this is not always the best idea. Not all roads lead downhill. Not all seas are smooth, and the small wave that seemed to be moving you on nicely can, on reaching land, become a vast and destructive wall. It helps to think about where our wave is going, and whether we will still be proud to ride it when it manifests its latent potential.

There is no go with the flow option that leads to the top of the mountain. There are some necessary and powerful choices that can never lead to an easy paddle in a friendly stream. It depends on where you want to go, because streams are only ever heading towards large bodies of water, and mountains are only ever up (unless you want underwater mountains, but that’s another landscape of fish). If you want to conquer mountains, there’s little point looking for streams of water to ride in.

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, wife to the most amazing artist -Tom Brown. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

11 responses to “Not always with the flow

  • druidcat

    Lovely thoughts. But you can make your own flows too – the wind will take you up that mountain in no time, although it requires hanging on… 🙂

    • Nimue Brown

      Yes, that’s a whole other thing to consider, making your own tide. If I figure out how to do that, I will be blogging… 🙂

      • druidcat

        I’m reminded of the old legends – Odysseus (I think) being given the West Wind in a bag. And the winds themselves as characters, along with the rivers… Beautiful and helpful when you imagine working WITH them 🙂

  • Nimue Brown

    mmm, that’s a line of thought to give some proper time to…

  • Éilis Niamh

    Great point! Not a perfect road map either, but I often ask of choices, is it part of my truth, is it helping me remain a free person and shine in the world? Hopefully those questions would prevent dogmatic adherence to injustice and tyrants! I admit it doesn’t always. Road maps are helpful until you’re off the map, it helps to be dilligent about landmarks. 🙂 Sometimes the best decision is against the flow of things like culture, social expectations, a crowd. But I’ve found that, usually, even if what to do is difficult or frustrating or emotionally very hard, if it keeps me aligned with whoI am, I stay in a kind of flow: it’s a state of being in an underlying kind of peacefulness, in knowing I’ve done my best and am not living in dissonance with my own character. If there’s a flow I trust at all it would be that one, and it is just as often as orthogonal to easy and simple as it is not. Wish more new-agey folk who think that if life takes a turn they’re no longer in favor and should not be grateful would take a hard look at their reasons and ask more often “Am I living with integrity?” rather than, “Is this going to make life easier?” Because most often, life is not. But you make it infinitely harder by not honoring who you are. And also, I believe there is always at least one reason to be grateful. And as to being blessed, I think we are all, but this is because we are alive, rather than because we have been somehow hand picked to sail through life’s challenges which is an event belonging to no one.

  • verdant1

    Reblogged this on verdant.1 and commented:
    “Flow with your own river…”

  • Sylvia Pearson

    Wonderful metaphors, my imagination soared.

  • locksley2010

    Why is it I saw all of the above read in the voice of Granny Weatherwax?

    Granny: Never liked goin’ with the flow, you don’t who started it or where it be goin’.

    Seriously though, I found this year a great lesson in going with it. The flow is there and as I ride it I see streams, but which ones do I take? And I find making my own ripples causes waves to either bash me about or to surf on.

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