Go with the glow
I was having quite a week with techno stuff—TV, phone, and laptop were each doing quirky things. I’m sure most everyone can relate to the feeling of “when it rains, it pours” especially with electronics. Some glitches worked themselves out while others had me trotting off to Microsoft and Apple stores.
During a moment of frustration, I shared my feelings in a text exchange with a friend. However, I also knew it was best to “go with the flow,” which I stated in one of my comments. At least I thought that’s what I said. Thankfully she’s a professional editor who pointed out, and commented on my typo to “go with the glow.” Otherwise the opportunity to consider another way of saying “going with the flow” would have gone right passed me.
Being a word person, sometimes the slightest “tweak” can make a big difference in the meaning of the intended message. “Going with the flow” is a well-known phrase that has many definitions and interpretations from “don’t rock the boat” to paying attention to, and leaning in, to life’s cues. It’s not my place to say whether this guidance is good or bad, right or wrong. What did come to mind was whether I was conscious of the steps necessary to be more in sync with what’s going on in my life. In other words, how do we ‘lean into life” when things feel horribly challenging, a bit rocky, or just downright annoying? I like the advice of Thich Nhat Hanh which is to—“Smile, breathe and go slowly.” Let’s break it down and see how this suggestion can work.
Smiles are known for their warmth and friendliness which sounds like a good start to break the grip of feeling sad, frustrated, angry or worse. With a smile on our face, it’s difficult to remain upset. Focused breathing has a similar outcome—it diverts our attention from outer circumstances to our inner being. One of my favorite breathing techniques is to inhale for 4 counts, hold for 7 seconds, and exhale to the count of 8. After implementing these first two steps, it is much easier to put Hanh’s third idea into practice—to go slowly. Thus, in what may be thought of as a rather simplistic approach, Hanh has provided excellent tools for “going with the flow” or “glow” however you choose to describe it.
Ha! Looks like I’m going to be put to the test right now. Just noticed my internet has gone out. Time to smile, breathe and go slowly.
Originally published in the Orange County Register, July 13, 2017