Don’t Fight the Flow

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“Hmmm…this way or that?”

Once upon a time, I was busting my ass trying to get into a school program for a particular medical career. I had fulfilled all the requirements, taken all the prerequisite courses (and gotten straight As), provided reference letters, and was more than qualified. But they had a 2-year waiting list, with special admissions given to only a lucky few. I wasn’t one of them.

I knew quite a few people working in the field who had already gone through the program and were familiar with the school staff. “Talk to so-and-so,” they said. I did. “Do such-and-such,” they said. I did. But still, I couldn’t leverage admission into the next class, and I was eager to get on with it, dammit!

When I heard through the grapevine that there were several vacancies in the class that was about to start, I showed up on the first day, hoping that my initiative would make an impression about how serious I was, and I would catch a break. My mission was clear: Push! Make it happen! Fight for what you want! But I still couldn’t get in; no one with authority would budge.

Exasperated, I vented my frustration with a friend who wisely shared a different viewpoint: Chill out, girl. Maybe it’s not meant to happen, at least not now.

You see, we can’t always make stuff happen the way we want; we have to co-create with The Universe (or God, Allah, or The Happy Unicorn of Life, or whatever you want to call it, him, her or they). It’s a creation partnership: you do everything you can, and The Big U will do everything it can. But sometimes, even when we do and do and do…shit doesn’t happen — even shit we want very much. It can feel like we’re in a rowboat, furiously rowing, but never moving. Because no matter how hard you work, if The Universe isn’t working with you, you won’t get anywhere.

It’s at times like these, I learned, that we must let go of the damn oars, take note of which direction we’re paddling (usually upstream), and turn our boat around. When I finally turned my boat downstream, guess what happened? I got a great job offer in a completely different field. And I loved it even more.

I did finally get the news I’d been waiting to hear — that I’d secured a spot in the next class. But by then, two years had passed, I was happy in my job, and glad I hadn’t had to go back to school to get the position.

The next time you’re paddling like crazy but the scenery doesn’t change, take note of where your boat is pointed. Maybe it’s time to lift your oars out of the water, drift a bit, and see where the current takes you.

Caution: reading may cause uncontrollable happiness, states of bliss and enlightenment. Please enjoy responsibly. Or just read yourself into a stupor on my web site, and join my email list while you’re there. I won’t tell.

Written by

Award-winning writer and survivor of corporate America. I also perform as a statue, punch heavy bags, and sing badly in Spanglish to Reggaeton.

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