Going with the flow during stressful times may help us more in the end than standing rigidly in resistance. Often the path of least resistance gets us where we want or often need to go.
In our Type A dominant society, we hear a lot of advice on how to achieve success. But what is success really? To some it means having a lot of money, others it means being famous, yet some of us might say it’s living with health, meanings as individual as each and every one of us.
However, to achieve success the advice is to work hard, not give up, keep at it – never quit. Yet this is a rather rigid ideal. We need to also pause, step back, and look at the big picture and make sure that all this striving is still serving our personal definition of success. Is our own life purpose being cultivated or are we living and working around someone else’s ideas?
When we are living to someone else’s ideals our body will let us know – it will rebel in some way. We will feel it as anxiety, depression, headaches, digestive disorders, and a whole myriad of physical or mental maladies.
Becoming less rigid and allowing some time for exploration down other paths helps us to find out more about who we are. My successful life doesn’t have to look like your successful life. Alternatively what we each perceive and failing and quitting in others is possibly an entirely false rigid stance.
So while the storms of our life rage – even beyond our current storm, we must learn to adapt, be flexible, and look to the possibility of life beyond the storm because we are able to go with the flow and not fight it.
I have been struggling intensely during this pandemic. My GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) has been off the charts awful. I’ve been experiencing panic attacks every other week. The more I resist the anxiety, the worse it gets. Again I started searching for ways to care for myself or I would never make it.
I had heard of the Calm app but I figured I had used other meditation apps and they hadn’t really helped me. After yet another recommendation for the app, I looked at it again. There is a fee to use it but compared to the downward spiral I was in and the thoughts I was having, this seemed like a small price to pay for help.
There is a 30-day course on How To Meditate. The lessons are only 10 minutes long and you sit in meditation as you do them. Doable right?!
I discovered the concept of Equanimity and am in love with this idea. Equanimity is the ability to neither push away or grab onto any sensation or experience; having an inner smoothness. It is not bracing against things or becoming startled or afraid. It is a 3rd option. An option of being both open and present where sounds, thoughts, or events just pass through us. And we just watch or feel them go by. How awesome is that? Developing this skill or muscle is both possible and essential to living in this noisy world.
My struggles with anxiety get harder the more I resist against those anxious feelings. My mind wants to deny the physical reactions to anxiety because I don’t want to struggle again or anymore. But things actually get worse the more I try to do that. Loud noises also trigger my anxiety. I would love to just let the noises happen and just observe them as they go by and not jump or react with irritability. Gritting my teeth and denying that noises are triggering does not work. Observing the noise, that it might have triggered my anxiety, and letting it all just pass through is a skill I would like to develop.