Nature ain’t no slouch. | When “Going with the Flow” has Nothing to do with Love

When someone says they want to “go with the flow” in a romantic relationship, it means the relationship will flow nowhere. 

No problem

Some connections shouldn’t flow anywhere. Some should only be enjoyed in the moment and leave you with a lifetime of memories of a dynamite fling that blazed like fire and ended on a high note, before things could turn to smoke. Some things are meant to be enjoyed like a shot of tequila, worn just once like a wedding gown, and tossed with abandon after use, like a condom.

by Dustin Tray, Pexels

Instead, too often, people make the mistake of holding on to these kinds of connections with a death grip. The freedom and carefree spirit that make them beautiful is strangled out, and all they’re left with is a limp and lifeless relationship that should have ended two weeks in. 

When someone has enough foresight and honesty to acknowledge that they suspect a connection will not go far, but may be worth the momentary enjoyment, I admire that. But when someone tries to glaze over their desire to keep a lover in suspended animation indefinitely by using coded language, that’s when I start losing respect. 

We live in interesting times. It seems too many want a no risk, no accountability, no-strings kind of love. (Of course, people also want bae to provide for them all the perks that would be tantamount to human sacrifice. But that’s a rant for another day.) There isn’t much that is new about that, except now the world is at our fingertips, and the Paradox of Choice means that there are so many options available to us that many never see a need to choose anyone or anything. 

It’s a very tempting notion: Why not simply avoid falling into the traps that our forebears succumbed to by engaging in Love Lite? We don’t want their multiple marriages and divorces, sloppy, unhappy unions, dead-end religious dogma around lifelong commitment, toleration of abuse and neglect, and suffocating expectations. Why not just float on the edges of intimacy, sweeping up just enough scraps of each other’s time and affection to get by? Why not simply warm the bench of romantic connection for life and laugh as others stumble on the field?

Pro tip: Don’t think for a minute that people don’t have intentions for you because they claim to be going with the flow, not ready for anything serious, or down for whatever. That usually means they simply intend to use you for as long as you will allow.

Why not take the most precious thing that life allows humans to experience together and leave it all up to chance? Going with the flow is so much easier. No expectations, just a collection of spontaneous experiences. Whatever happens, happens. That’s the perfectly natural way to do things, right?

Wrong. Absolutely off the mark. Couldn’t be wronger (as fundamentally wrong as that grammar).

I’m not the boss of you, but I’ll go out on a limb and suggest that you stop being fooled by people who avoid reciprocity and meaningful connection by saying that they just want to let your liaison “unfold naturally”. And if you’re the one using that coded language, you may want to stop kidding yourself and trying to bullshit others. You’d garner more esteem (and probably get laid more) if you’re just honest.

The problem is that we’ve come to think of nature as something wholly wild and willy-nilly, as something that is primarily founded upon mystery and chaos. We often do that to people and things that we want to diminish and conquer.

We equate nature with womanhood, and since womanhood has historically been dismissed as irrational and unknowable, we take ideas about natural phenomena, like the Big Bang Theory, and run with it, as if it is not only one of many possible theories. Our primary takeaway from this theory is that worlds can be formed with no initiating order or intent whatsoever.  We take that notion as law.

You can’t even initiate a trip to the toilet without intention, so tell me where the hell they do that at…

by Tobias Bjorkli, Pexels

And it sounds so fun and breezy, doesn’t it? When a potential boo whispers that magic word  in your ear, it conjures images of birds and honey bees, fragrant flowers and fruit trees, of endless sunsets and running barefoot along beaches.

And of course, sex. Au Naturale! It doesn’t get any more natural than that. The word, “natural”, drums up all these wonderful feelings and hypnotizes us with dreams of heaven on earth. And that feels good. We want what feels good. 

Yet, Nature does nothing without intention. Nature is one of the strictest disciplinarians you will ever encounter. She is both a Master and a masterpiece of order and consistency. Her order lives in wedded bliss with beauty and a touch of the unexpected. Cycles are the threads holding this world and the universe together. 

Galileo is credited with saying,

“Mathematics is the language with which God has written the universe”. 

by Andreas Gucklhorn, Unsplash

Nature is replete with pattern and structure. Whether or not you believe in a higher power, it cannot be denied that the planets orbit their stars, the sun and moon traverse the horizon, the tides ebb and flow, seasons change, oceans slowly morph into deserts, volcanoes erupt and islands emerge from dried lava, glaciers grow and melt, and poles shift, according to processes that haven’t fallen off since the beginning of time. Ice crystals, snowflakes, and seashells form, animals evolve adaptations to their environments, and diseases ravage bodies according to natural codes that astound our brightest scientists. 

Nature is no effing slouch. She ain’t out here drifting on waves in the Pacific trying to figure out her next move. In fact, while y’all bitches playin’, I truly believe Nature’s intention to purge this place of the arrogant, greedy, disrespectful, humans who threaten to throw her off, is in full effect. Like an organism fighting off an illness, as below so above. Nature always finds her balance, and she won’t get caught sleeping. 

by Zetong Li, Pexels

Nature is nothing if not intentional. And what are we if not, well, natural? If we are part of nature and nature is intentional, life and love must be also.

At the core of nature is the aspect of time. I think it’s safe to say that anyone who evokes nature to defend a shallow, standoffish approach to love has no idea what nature is. They, therefore, have little understanding of or respect for time, especially yours. 

Opposites Attract

1.20.16 OppositesOpposites attract. I hear people say it all the time. I’ve said it myself. I can relate. Though my husband and I have some things in common, we also have quite a few fundamental characteristics that are opposite. Because of this, in many good ways we complement one another. It’s like a natural system of checks and balances within the family unit. Opposites indeed.

But are we really all that different? According to some spiritual thought derived from the Tantric and metaphysical traditions, like attracts like. In many ways, what shows up in our lives is an indication of ideas, beliefs, or expectations that we hold on some level. In essence, we attract what we are. And though you may sometimes seem very different from the one you love, the two of you very well may be two sides of the same coin.

I’m a big fan of Carl and Kenya Stevens, relationship coaches who believe that the purpose of relationships is growth. According to them, we begin to reap the rewards of our relationships when we understand that our “mates are our mirrors” and we do the work of developing our character as a result of the reflections we see. So, for example, if you attract a mate who has problems with honesty, you yourself may have some hidden difficulty with being honest with yourself or others. You may have a subconscious expectation of dishonesty from a partner. You may be a doormat who condones dishonesty on some level. Your ideas, beliefs, expectations act like energetic requests and the universe simply responds with your order. Like attracts like. Birds of a feather… you get it.

It’s in keeping with the idea that we truly are not separate from the world around us. Everything is connected, there are no (or there are at least very few) true dichotomies. Take Jesus and the Devil for instance. (I know that’s a loaded one, but take a walk with me for a minute just to test the logic.)

Christians believe that Jesus is the blessed sacrificial lamb, the one who has taken the blame for all of humanity’s sins and made it possible for us to be in good standing with God. This is “Good” – Side one of the coin.

However, Satan has also been the one upon whom humanity has symbolically heaped the blame for all of its “sins”. He is the horned one, the scapegoat. This is “Evil” – Side two…of the same coin. Opposites, but not really…

See, we have all this polarity in our lives, in our relationships, in our society. We love to cling to sides, favoring labels that pit one extreme against the other: gay v/s straight, religious v/s nonreligious, republican v/s democrat, rich v/s poor, victim v/s villain. Too often, we don’t take the time to acknowledge that there is a spectrum that exists in the middle of these binaries. Most importantly, we don’t realize that the shared life experiences of the gay and the straight, or the shared zeal of the religious and nonreligious, or the shared pain of the victim and the villain make them all two sides of the same coin. We’re really not all that separate. We’re really not all that different.

So which is it? Do opposites attract or does like attract like? Call me crazy but I think it’s both. Look into the mirror and find out why.

“You can’t hide from yourself. Everywhere you go, there you are.”

-Teddy Pendergrass