As a child I loved it. That amazing feeling it is to forget about time and place and to just immerse yourself in what you are doing. I think it is called going with the flow. At least that is what I am going to call it. This does not mean drifting aimlessly, quite the opposite it means exploring, learning, experiencing, living. It is the ability to be right where you are right when you are just there. No worries about when this and that will happen or what you are going to do when and if it happens. You are just right there. In the moment.
All children are born with this invaluable ability. It is an innate ability to get exactly what you need out of any given situation, to learn and appreciate what is going on around you. If you observe a newborn baby or a very young child you will see that they are learning, experiencing and absorbing everything. Their reactions to things are immediate and unreserved. They make their voice heard when they feel the need and they observe from a place of absolute objectivism. That is, without judging what they see. They haven’t yet had any default coding incorporated into their beings. Part of this is of course because they haven’t yet had very many experiences to compare to. Which in some cases is a disadvantage but in other cases can be a great advantage.
Most children keep this ability to go with the flow for a while. But only for a while. Since before my daughter was born, I guess since I was a child I’ve had a deep and urgent sense that this ability was one I needed to hold on to. Since I loved it so much as a child it must be something worth keeping. To be more specific, the ability that I am talking about is one that enables us to be present and content and happy with what we are doing at a certain time. It is an ability that makes us not stress over what we are about to do next or think we have to do anything other than what we are currently doing. Keeping the ability to go with the flow takes determination, and practice.
Growing up where I did, in a country with vast and wild nature, and having what seemed like infinite amounts of the luxury called time to explore it, I was very privileged. I spent most of my days running around outside, going on adventures, fishing, sailing, climbing, throwing rocks and whatever else I thought was interesting at the time. I was fortunate to have parents who worked crooked shifts and so one was always at home and could stay with me. It was a small society somewhat cut off from the rest of the world and all the stress that comes with it. We had time. Time to live, enjoy life, and go with the flow.
And I still have time. Even though I live in a much different place now, a place where things seem to move faster, people seem to be running instead of walking, horns are honked, and the clock is tick, tick, ticking. I have time. And I want to use it to go with the flow.
So, I have always tried to do my best to communicate with my daughter in such a way that she would know that I was there; hearing her, seeing her, accepting and hopefully (most of the time) understanding her needs and wishes. And I have always had great trust in her to know what she was able to do and what she needed help with. Partly as a result of this way of communicating with each other my daughter is developing the ability to trust her own abilities. She is learning to believe in herself and her own needs. All this takes time. And it takes going with the flow.
When she was younger and I picked her up from daycare or kindergarten, I made sure to take the time necessary for her to explore and play on the way home. We have explored every corner of those roads that let back and forth, we have turned many a stone, looked at many a snail crossing a path, climbed many a tree, or construction scaffolding, or landing, or whatever there was to climb on the way. She has ridden my bike many miles before she even learned how to ride a bicycle, with her on the saddle and me dragging the bike along. I often saw stressed out parents dragging their crying children along while hissing and snapping at them. It is a perfectly common scenario; stressed out parents with stressed out children. It is the way the world works. But it does not have to be like this.
We all have choices. We make so many choices during the day that many of those choices we probably do not even recognise as choices. Thus, the phrase “I have to..” has slowly crept in and become probably one of the most used phrases of all times. But if you think about it, just take the time and think about it for a little while, there is always a choise. You can choose to go with the flow. Choose to spend time with your child, your dog, your friend, grandmother, pet fish or whomever you wish to spend time with and just go with the flow with them. See where it takes you. Enjoy life.