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To fight or flow?

Posted on April 24 2016

“If you don’t fight life, it will take you where you need to go.” Keenen Ivory Wayans

There is a rhythm to life – an ebb and flow. It has a beat, even if you can’t hear it. That beat is in every plant, every animal, every river, every raindrop and every human being. It is in every action and reaction, it is in every pause, every word and every breath. These days, I’m learning more and more about that beat. I’ve learned that I can either fight it or I can flow with it. In both the best and the worst times of my life, the latter has always been the wiser option.

About a week ago, some incredibly strong winds swept through the city of Los Angeles. They were so strong that many neighborhoods including mine lost power overnight. When I woke up that morning, my initial reaction was that of irritation. I had so much to do and very little time to waste. My computer was not at full power, my internet was out, I couldn’t iron, etc. It wasn’t the first time I had experienced a power outage although you’d never know that by my reaction. Each time, the impatience, anxiety and speculation of when I’d finally be able to get on with life would eventually wear me out.

This time around, I recognized that I was in a less than ideal situation but I could decide to react differently. Life has a rhythm and in spite of the chaos around us, that rhythm does not change. The day of the power outage, I chose to step away from my intended schedule. There wasn’t much I could do anyway so I made other plans. As I drove down the street, the traffic lights were out but the traffic cops were helping by guiding all the drivers through the intersections. I reminded myself that even in chaos, order always exists.

We can’t ever forget that there are guides all around us. When all the signals are out, we have to pay attention to those guides and the signs waving us through the intersections of our lives, making sure we don’t make the right moves at the wrong times and most importantly, making sure that we avoid unnecessary collisions.

I sometimes feel like my entire life is an exercise in the art of patience. I often have to remind myself that this journey will take however long it’ll take and when it comes to my dreams, hopes and aspirations, I’ll get “there” whenever I get “there”. Whether we’re getting what we want or not in a moment doesn’t matter, the time will pass anyway. Being aware of this allows us to choose who we want to be in each moment. On the day of the outage, I treated myself to a massage, ran my errands and had a lovely lunch. When I got back home, there was light. None of the plans I had earlier mattered at that point.

Life has a rhythm and a beat. There will be different notes that play over that rhythm at any given time. There will be times when we can anticipate which note is coming next. There will be other times when we can’t. We need to learn to flow with things. If one plan doesn’t work, make another. If you feel you can’t make things better, step away from the situation – a solution will eventually reveal itself.  Lastly, for those moments that are are so dark that one can’t see a way through, I make it a point to tell myself that I have never met a night, no matter how long that didn’t eventually give in to the morning.


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