Life Is Flow

By Rob DuBois, CEO, Impact Actual

“Fixation is the way to death. Fluidity is the way to life.”

Miyamoto Musashi, legendary Samurai warrior and philosopher

In the years of my life and the years of my #Impact coaching I’ve discovered a common thread: just like the rivers I love to paddle, life itself flows and shifts and is often familiar but never the same.

50-year-old Rob returned younger, stronger, and calmer from walking 230 miles across the Serengeti for National Geographic’s 2015 documentary, “MYgrations”

If your approach to the flow in your own life is to simply respond, whatever may come, you can have happiness. You can be at peace, even in the storm.

You can be effective.

Let It Flow

As wiser minds have said: life is not about what happens to us, but how we respond to what happens to us. In that distinction is your personal power to have a life worth living.

Don’t try to stay fixed in the river of your life. Don’t tie yourself to a twig on the bank. Drink in the beauty of the world as it flows past, and remain open to experience what else will come in its time.

Enjoy the foods and the weather and the events of this season, knowing they will all be gone with the next…and will then return to enjoy again, in their natural course.

The best path for you is only for you — don’t miss that gift

Enjoy your good times with loved ones and hobbies and good fortune, knowing that everything, like the river, runs its natural course…and if a relationship or a job or a treasured pastime reaches its end, something else is coming around the next bend.

Let It Go

I practiced Zen Buddhism for some years, and learned to live (imperfectly) in a spirit of “non-attachment.” Being not “attached” to people, places, and property doesn’t mean to not care about them, but the contrary — in my understanding and practice, non-attachment means simply to care deeply about what IS. To live in THIS moment, not throwing it away in some preoccupation with what may be in the future, or with what unchangeably happened in the past.

It means to care deeply, in gratitude and humility, appreciating what is in this moment — even if what’s in this moment is “bad,” because all of the goods and bads are what life is made of.

It means to see the coffee or tea or Rock Star energy drink in front of you. Not to guzzle it mindlessly as I sometimes do in my haste to move on and accomplish the next task, but to pause and appreciate the color, and the temperature contrast, and the flavor, and the whole experience. If you don’t do that, you miss out on the fullness of what’s meant for you.

It means to mindfully hear the birds when you’re lucky enough to have birds around you; to mindfully feel the light breeze when you’re lucky enough to be in a pleasant day; to mindfully appreciate the face of someone you love when their mind is elsewhere and you are lucky enough to have them in your life in this moment.

Let It Go To Have More

The idea that life is flow and that non-attachment is good led me to a concept I’ve since shared with coaching clients when they get wrapped around the axle: “What you hold holds you back.”

Think about that for a moment: 

What you hold…

…holds you back.

Do you want to sail, or sink?

If it helps, picture that overused gimmick in lots of adventure films where at the dramatic conclusion a bad guy in great peril refuses to let go of the gold. Despite the hero’s best efforts to lift him to safety, the weight of the bad guy’s greed literally pulls him off a cliff to fall to his death.

He falls to his death clutching the thing he thought he needed in order to live.

I’d leave you with another powerful bit of ancient wisdom, from the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu:

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”

Take if from those old dudes, who surely knew their own flow would inevitably end (as it inevitably did), and made the most of the minutes they had. Pack your life with Now.

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Rob DuBois