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in the flow

July 24, 2012

When I was a kid, a new water park opened about an hour and a half from my house. And when I say “new,” I mean that water parks, in general, hadn’t existed up to this point in history. At least, they hadn’t in central Ohio. So… that would make it totally, 100%, brand-y new in every way a thing can possibly be totally, 100%, brand-y new: New idea, new execution, new employees, new towels, new everything. It was called The Beach. I suppose it was meant to entice your imagination into believing that being cooled off by various small chlorinated pools of water was very closely related to being cooled off by soft ocean breezes, icy piña coladas, and gentle salt-water waves lapping at your buried-in-the-white-sand toes… you know, like being at The (Real) Beach. Well, it wasn’t. And it isn’t. Which is probably why it went out of business earlier this year. A bright blue plastic jungle of slides, manufactured waterfalls, and wave pools that alternatively give you massive wedgies or desperately bloodshot eyes does not a “beach experience” make. Quite the opposite, I’d venture.

Except for one thing, which is somehow better than being at the beach. That’s right: I said better. Wait for it…

The Lazy River.

Oh, yes. They got this one so right. Here’s the deal: You rent an inner tube big enough to comfortably lounge across. You stick said inner tube in a fake “river”—a 15-(or-so-)feet-wide swimming pool with a one-way manufactured current that, in one long and luxuriously circuitous lane, makes wide curves around the perimeter of the park. And then you just lay yourself down on that inner tube, sit back, and enjoy the ride. In a perfect world (ie, on a not-that-busy day), you can enjoy it for as long as your little heart desires. In a perfect world, you have that icy piña colada in your hand, too.

The real selling point of the lazy river is found in the flow of the pool: The constant, steady, um… constant-ness of the current. The way it carries you ever forward without your giving the slightest thought about where you are actually headed. The slight rocking motion that comes from that tiny bit of turbulence caused by the water sloshing up against the side of the pool, the side of the raft. It takes you away in less time than it takes to recall the word “Calgon.” You lose yourself in it entirely, and instantly. And you trust it implicitly, because it seems so self-assured. As if, when you placed your tube in the pool and lay down upon it, in that very first moment, it whispered to you calmly, quietly, but with every bit of swagger it could muster (being an inanimate object and all): “Hey. I got this.” It’s so easy to surrender to the power of this flow. It beckons to you: “Hey there, friend, I can see you need a rest. Stop working so hard; take a load off. Life needn’t be only wedgies and red eyes. Come. Relax. I got this.” And just like that, the flow envelops you. It sweeps you away, into the safety of its predictability. It knows where you need to be next, and it delivers you there with ease. You started here. But you will ride this current, and you will be delivered safely, soundly, to the place you are meant to arrive next. It’s just that easy. Come and join the flow.

If you’ll pardon the inordinately long prelude to get us here, I’d like now to arrive at my point:

It is in this magical, mystical, mythical flow that I find myself now. I have no idea how I got here (happy karmic pay back for a rough time earlier this year?), but I’m not going to question it. I’m just here to be in it, to go where it takes me, and to believe that I will be delivered safely and soundly, with fruity tropical drink intact.

Stay with me, okay? It’s not that I’m literally in the Lazy River. If you were paying attention, you know The Beach is closed, Lazy River and all. Plus, come on, I’m never that literal. What I mean to say is that lately I feel like I have tapped into something kind of amazing, something that feels the way I imagine the flow of the universe to feel—how it puts everything precisely where it should be, precisely when it should be there, without effort, pause, or worry. And the experience of this flow is making me gape, wide-eyed and open-mouthed, at its power.

The power of simply saying out loud what you want, coming up with a thoughtful path to get there, turning slightly toward action, and then letting it all unfold, with ease, grace, and absolute, unbridled, thrilling momentum.

It seems that, in this moment in time, everything I do, see, touch, and experience is happening at exactly the right time, and with astonishing precision in its purpose. It seems that everything in my life is aligning easily (and shockingly—did I mention I’m shocked?) with the plan I have only recently hatched for myself, for the next chapter of my life. The details of the macro- and the micro-plans are coming together to form not only the body of the plan itself and the steps to get from here to there, but the perfect cherry on top, which is both carefully and whimsically (can those two things exist as one?) placed. Answers to questions I hadn’t yet conceived of have been delivered to me on silver platters, without even the faintest disguise. “I want to be this” I have said, plainly and out loud, to the universe. And the universe is responding, almost immediately, with a blunt and resounding “YES.” And it’s coming to me, personalized. It’s not a simple “yes,” but rather it seems to be saying, “Yes, Tracy. Yes. We’ve been waiting for you. We’re so happy you’re finally here.”

And so I have approached this flow with bold abandon. I am feeling the strength of its pull, of its unabashed self-assuredness. I am understanding that I don’t have to work so hard for the things that are supposed to happen. It knows where I need to be next. I only have to dip my toe in the pool. It’s got this.

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