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The Importance of Going With the Flow

“I accept chaos. I am not sure whether it accepts me.” – Bob Dylan

I have found that when I am struggling the most, I am resisting the most. When I want things to STAY THE SAME or don’t want to embrace that I may need to learn something, life feels really hard. I know I am not alone. We have all felt this way at some point, or even feel that way now. 

Because I know a lot of my Mama friends are feeling similarly, I wanted to share these fantastic tips by Leo Babauta, titled 12 steps for learning to go with the flow. The entire post can be found here.

1. Realize that you can’t control everything. I think we all know this at some level, but the way we think and act and feel many times contradicts this basic truth.

2. Become aware. I’ve mentioned this step in previous articles on other topics, but that’s because it’s extremely important. You can’t change things in your head if you’re not aware of them. You have to become an observer of your thoughts, a self-examiner.

3. Breathe. When you feel yourself getting angry or frustrated, take a deep breath.

4. Get perspective. This always helps me. I get angry over something happening — my car breaks down, my kids ruin my microwave — and then I take a deep breath, and take a step back.

5. Practice. It’s important to realize that, just like when you learn any skill, you probably won’t be good at this at first. Who is good when they are first learning to write, or read, or drive? No one I know. Skills come with practice.

6. Baby steps. Along the same lines, take things in small steps. Don’t try to become that Zen Master mentioned above overnight. Don’t try to bite off huge chunks — just bite off something small at first. So make your first attempts to go with the flow small ones: focus on the tally marks (mentioned above) first.

7. Laugh. It helps me to see things as funny, rather than frustrating.

8. Keep a journal. This is one of the best uses of a journal actually. Once a day, try to recall what all your tally marks were for — and then write about those situations.

9. Meditate. If you aren’t good at keeping a journal, at least do a daily review in your head. Do some meditation, or have a bath, or a cup of hot tea, and as you’re de-stressing, go over your day and examine it.

10. Realize that you can’t control others. Ah, one of the biggest challenges. We get frustrated with other people, because they don’t act the way we want them to act.

11. Accept change and imperfection. When we get things the way we like them, we usually don’t want them to change. But they will change. It’s a fact of life. We cannot keep things the way we want them to be … instead, it’s better to learn to accept things as they are.

12. Enjoy life as a flow of change, chaos and beauty.

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