Living Intentionally: Going with the Flow


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I go with the flow. Whatever music you play for me, I’ll dance. – Gael Garcia Bernal

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In past weeks we’ve discussed setting goals and acting with purpose as ways to focus your effort and energy on what matters most to you.

But we all know that the path of life isn’t often straight and flat.  Usually it’s filled with twists and turns and lots of ups and downs.  So how do we stick to our goals and continue to act with purpose when we come upon an unexpected twist?

Well…

I’ll be totally honest with you and tell you that of all the posts in this series, this one was the hardest to write.  Going with the flow isn’t my strong suit.  I’m more of a planner.

One weekend we were supposed to get together with Mr. O’s family in the city.  Now, I’m not really a city girl – crowds make me anxious and don’t get me started on driving in the city – but it’s family, and they’re worth it.

However, plans started to change around us and by the night before we hadn’t heard anything about a visit.  Naturally I started to fill my day with items from my to-do list, working toward my goals, and getting some rest (also a goal of mine).  But then we got the call.  The trip was on.

The next day I got nothing done.  I didn’t check off anything from my to-do list, I didn’t actively work toward any of my goals, and I certainly didn’t get any rest.

You know what I did get?  A great day with family.

Sure, I could have gotten a few things off my plate.  And yes, I could have been annoyed about changes in my master plan, but what good would it do?  I would’ve had a miserable time, and I still wouldn’t have gotten anything done.

So, while it’s still not easy, there are some things you can do to make going with the flow a little less taxing.

Expect the unexpected.  One thing I’ve gotten better at since having Miss O is being prepared for unexpected things.  I now carry extra clothes (for her) in my purse and (for both of us) in my car.  I am never without food, and there’s a little pink toilet in my trunk.

Yet even with all that, there are things that catch me by surprise.  Sometimes they’re good.  Sometimes they’re not.  But part of living intentionally means accepting that you can’t control everything.  You can’t possibly prepare for everything.  You really just have to go with the flow.

Always be growing.  Just because something is unexpected doesn’t mean you can’t learn from it.  Meet a new person, try something new.  Often time we miss out on opportunities to grow because we didn’t plan to learn it that way, or because we fail adapt to our new situation.  Take the opportunity in front of you and get as much from it as you can.

Keep sight of your goals.  Your path may have changed.  Your plan may have changed.  But your goals don’t have to.  A while back I wrote a post about finding inspiration for blog posts and one of the big takeaways from that post is that you have to always be thinking like a blogger.  The same is true for any other goal.  View your experiences (planned or spontaneous) through the lens of your goal.

Prioritize.  And by prioritize, I mean learn to say no.  Moms especially, have a hard time saying no.  We don’t want to let anyone down.  We don’t want anyone to miss out.  We want everyone to be happy, and as the (typical) keepers of the schedule, we feel it’s up to us to make it happen.

But not everything is worth your time.  You have 24 hours in a day, and it’s up to you how you spend them.

Let it go.  Life happens and you can’t always control it.  Emergencies happen.  Accidents happen.  Life happens.  Don’t get down on yourself if something completely unforeseen and out of your control derails your plans, and gets you off track for your goals.  Just don’t get stuck in that moment.  Let it go.  Move on.  Tomorrow is another day.

Assignment: Write down at least 1 thing you learned by going with the flow, a lesson you would have missed if life had gone as planned.

Next week: Taking Time to Rest

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One Response

  1. Sheena June 18, 2015
  2. Pingback: My Year of Living Intentionally July 21, 2017

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