When the rains begin, railing against them doesn’t stop the deluge.
This is the essence of Fluidity – to know when something is inevitable and work out how to flow. It is a key to survival, to turning things to one’s own ends, to furthering one’s spiritual journey.
Flow is the ability to size up a situation, or an obstacle, and work out how to best move through it. The name conjures (for me) the idea of water moving through a rocky stream bed – water will go over, under, around, or through whatever blocks it. If we can learn to do this too, if we can flow, everything becomes potential.
I learned to flow by observing the Brandywine River. Where I grew up, the river was a short walk down the hill from my home, and I’d spend hours wandering the woods nearby. I watched the water move smoothly through clear spots only to become almost “considering” when rocks or dead-falls interrupted its path. But, it continued to move forward regardless of what attempted to interrupt it.
Without realizing it, I started trying to apply the flow of the river to my everyday actions. At first it started simply and selfishly – I learned what people around me expected and showed it to them to get what I wanted or needed. Later, I learned to manipulate situations – I could blend into a group and not be noticed or I could stand out when it counted. But it wasn’t until I had my son that I truly put flow to use.
Once I had a child, survival for him became paramount, and I was swamped in an inundation of obstacles: little to no money, no health care, no real housing. I was having to choose between buying food for myself and food/diapers for my son. Finally, I sat down, looked at everything that was in my way, and decided to flow through it come (pardon the pun) hell or high water.
I decided that no obstacle could prevent me from keeping him healthy and happy. I dodged and wove through bureaucracy and, when that failed, wore down the PTBs* with sheer determination. I pushed where I had to, flattered those who required it, and jumped up and down screaming when all else failed. I badgered a base commander and chaplain to enforce child support. I gave up on the idea of living on my own and worked out a rent situation with my parents. I stood in line for food stamps and Medicaid. I took myself (finally) to therapy and got medication for my depression. In short, I used flow to ensure we would survive…and it worked.
Since that time, flow has been the keystone of my personal path. In my daily life (work, family, etc.) I have little need to use it but in my spiritual and religious practices it is always a constant. One of my gods in particular is fond of putting choices in front of me and yelling, “MAKE A DECISION!!!” With flow, those times are made more smooth; I know that I can make a decision and handle ultimately handle what comes next…even if it doesn’t seem like it. I know that I can jump the cliff into the waterfall and get to the bottom without injury.
And, really, getting to the bottom is what it’s all about, isn’t it?