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. 

Why do Fools Fall in Love? | Because they’re foolish.

Ezekixl Akinnewu, Pexels

Spring is in the air! And I’ll admit, I’m feeling the fever. Operation Lose These Pesky Winter Pounds is in full swing. (I can’t even call it quarantine weight, y’all, cuz I been working outside my home all through the pandemic. And that in itself has carried it’s stressors, so dammit, food. Don’t judge me.)

I’m nesting around the house, which means that the month-long process of spring cleaning, purging, and garden prep is underway. I’m touching up my wardrobe, getting the lineup of new sneakers, sandals, and everyday cute flats in order. I’m looking at these neglected nails, which frigid temps and frequent hand washing have forced me to keep short, and penciling a trip to the salon onto my calendar. And I am friggin ready to go to a Brazilian steakhouse with my friends and eat and drink until my eyes blur…on a cheat day, of course.

I want out! Away from work and the shadow of 2020, that is. To let go, to release this season and barrel into the next like a freight train. But that’s not quite how life works. This transition needs to be smooth. There are certain protocols for change that nature has set, and trying to skip over them always produces lackluster results. 

Love is no different. So, here goes my analytical brain again, splitting hairs. Before you throw on your wig and maxi dress (or your man weave and joggers) so you can snag a new boo in the park, bear with me, because I think this deluge of unpopular opinions and old school relationship advice will ultimately reward you.

Hernan Pauccara, Pexels

I KNOW,

People use the phrase, “falling in love”, to refer to that wonderful sense of abandon and freedom that one feels when they let go and simply ride the waves of a new love interest (and I use “new” quite intentionally). Trust feels so good, doesn’t it?

There’s nothing wrong with being fully present in and savoring the moment. I co-sign that! There’s nothing wrong with being overtaken by gratitude whenever you have the chance to experience this wonderful elixir of life called Love. 

But…

Isn’t falling, like, one of the top human nightmares? I’m just sayin’, the human mind associates FALLING with deeply rooted fear, as the memory of untimely and tragic deaths that have occurred over millennia – memory that is lodged in our collective unconscious. (How symbolic…) It’s like, in our dna. There are rational, levelheaded people in the world who walk around with a notion that if they hit the ground after falling in a dream, that will signal their real life demise.

Can you name any instances where falling would be preferable to controlled motion? Maybe you can. Maybe you’re a glut for adrenaline and find things like bunjee jumping or sky diving exciting rather than nauseating. But in everyday terms, I think I’d rather dive into a pool, gracefully step off a treadmill, carefully descend a mountain, and only fly in planes with fully functioning landing gear.

Even in situations where adventure is the pursuit, the parameters for play are carefully studied and risks heavily mitigated. Yet, people often do not employ such forethought and care when jumping into love with their very hearts and souls.

Read “Love is a Hormone Martini”

So, might I suggest – so that you may gain maximum enjoyment and fulfillment – that you take a leisurely stroll into love, all senses wide open and feet firmly planted on the ground. Stroll as if meandering through a fragrant garden…rather than falling into it naked and disoriented like Kyle Reese in the first Terminator movie. 

Did I lose you? If not, hold that classic movie moment from the 80’s in your mind as the best possible visual. 

If you’re a culturally deprived soul unfamiliar with the film, let’s try again. Step elegantly into love, as if you’ve arrived fashionably late to an evening, lakeside wine tasting, flawless in your best attire…rather than falling into it like a swatted bug, flat on your back with your little bug legs flying frantically in the air.

Jennifer Murray, Pexels

Why do I suggest you do this? Because so many of our phrases and concepts around love are based on a notion of helplessness and dependency. We celebrate denial and destructive lack of awareness and call it love. We praise self-loathing, draining possessiveness, and irresponsibility for everyone’s well-being, and we call it love. We refuse to take the journey of inner healing and growth, choosing to feed on another person’s energy instead — no matter how altruistic and deserving of better, or toxic and deserving of being shown the door, that other person may be — and we call that codependent shitshow love. 

And we race into it at warp speed so we don’t have to THINK about any of it. We allow ourselves to be rushed into it by others so that they can con us out of whatever we have to offer through love bombing. By the time we realize the cost of what we thoughtlessly gave away, it’s gone. We suddenly realize that what we gave away was so much more valuable than any fleeting feeling based in biological chemical processes and unreliable, airy fairy notions of “soulmates”. And there’s no one to blame but the one in the mirror. 

I posit that love should actually be thought about. I posit that love is not scarce, so there is no need to chase after it and claw at the first signs of it like it’s the last chance at a meal that you’ll ever have!

Calm down. 

Find out if it’s really love. Hell, take some time to figure out what love truly is and how it works best for you. Then, when you’re clear that you’ve created a connection that will nurture rather than destroy, sit back and enjoy it. 

Can you do humanity a favor and at least try that?

Subodh Bajpai, Pexels

Love is not blind, you are


Have you been to Inanna’s Temple where we are baptized in the waters of the JoyWell? The truth will set you free in there, but not before pissing you off, making you laugh, and causing you to clutch your pearls!

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We have a clever way of shaking off responsibility for our shortcomings through the use of cute words and phrases. (I should know, words are my stock and trade.) Some of our adages are so short and sweet, and sound close enough to the truth that we often don’t bother to examine them more deeply.

I get a little amused every time I hear someone say, “Money is the root of all evil.” Not only are they simply regurgitating an often misquoted bible verse, but I can immediately see right through to the sense of powerlessness and lazy thinking that would cause a person to latch on to a phrase like that.  

Why do we speak this way? Because it shifts the responsibility for doing something away from us. 

Bruno Feitosa, Pexels

Look it up. The actual bible verse says, “The love of money is the root of all evil”, and the addition or omission of those first three words gives the phrase a totally different meaning. “The love of” makes it clear that evil is not the inherent quality of money. It’s an out of control desire for money and unbalanced behavior in relationship to it that create evil outcomes. 

Here in the good ‘ol USA, another name for our money is fiat currency. That literally means that it is backed by nothing and has no value other than what we assign to it. Whatever circumstances we create in dealing with money is purely a function of our thinking and behavior. It is simply a tool, and we are the builders.

The same logic can be applied to love and the phrase, “Love is blind”. If you’ve uttered these words, I’m placing the bags full of shame, blame, resentment, and self-pity related to your disappointments in love squarely in your lap. Your mind is the only one that you have the power to change. So, I want you to stop what you’re doing, mosey on over to a mirror, look yourself dead in the eyes and say,

“Love is not blind. I am.”

Now close your eyes and think about all the things that you cannot see, all that you’re missing out on, as you accept the truth of your behavior. Ask yourself what you have been choosing not to see, and if you’re afraid of the answers as they come, face them anyway. Write them down for full effect. 

I’m not doing this to make you beat yourself up over your missteps in love, because wallowing in guilt is just as unproductive as self-pity. You can toss those bags I placed in your lap out with the trash just as soon as you acknowledge what’s in them. I need you to understand that taking responsibility is taking back your power, and it is one of the first steps to healing and getting stronger. 

Kristina Paukshtite, Pexels

Now, I’ve seen enough to know that there can seem to be as many definitions for love in this world as there are people. And at times the definition gets so convoluted and watered down that it ceases to be distinct. This is why it is important to maintain the purity of values and ideas to a reasonable degree. The expression of love may evolve with time, but it still has certain fundamental qualities.

I think one of the most invaluable characteristics of love is wanting the best for someone. When someone knowingly engages in behavior that opposes the best interests of someone they claim to love, that so-called love is falling short. Of course, life is complicated and it isn’t always easy to know what is in a person’s best interests, but love tries to learn. 

Yet, I’m not even referring to the hard cases. I’m talking about the cut and dry, no brainer situations where we know that what is happening is bad for us. Whether it’s our own substance addictions, choosing to stay in toxic, abusive relationships, eating poorly and neglecting our physical health, or any number of destructive patterns, these situations reflect a lack of love for others or for self. 

So instead of saying love is causing this unwillingness to see and deal with gaping flaws, maybe we should adopt some new phrases like:

“Fear is blind”

“Codependency is blind”

“Lack of knowledge/Ignorance is blind”

“Loneliness can make you blind”

You get the idea.

Sometimes we make the mistake of fixating our love on the wrong thing, like money. We might chase wealth and accomplishment to the detriment of ourselves and others. Or we may pour out our energy and good intentions on the wrong people. We might make ridiculous displays of devotion and blind faith hoping to be validated in return. We lose sight of the fact that love is not always a gift that should be tossed out like candy from the back of a float at a parade. There are times when the benefits of love have to be earned.

No one gives out the medals before a race even starts.

There are times when love has to be kept on reserve and given only as a reward.

Ladies, I’m talking to you here, because this is especially true in romantic relationships, situationships, and dalliances. Women often make the mistake of believing that if they just keep pouring love into someone else’s cup, somehow their own cups will be filled. That generally doesn’t work with men who prefer a challenge, even if they say they don’t.

Pixabay, Pexels

You know when something’s not good for you. You feel it in your gut. It keeps you awake at night. No matter what you do to drown it out, it just keeps screaming louder and getting brighter and brighter until you shut your eyes tight like vice grips, shutting out the very light that would illuminate your path to freedom. 

Love is in that light. Love is the thing screaming. It sees the flaws of the beloved with 20/20 clarity and chooses to keep loving anyway… even if it has to do so from a distance.

Love is in your conscience, in your heart asking you to see the truth. 

Love is that truth. 

You are the one who’s blind. But you don’t have to be.