Traveling By Train: Lessons On Going With Life's Flow

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Traveling By Train: Lessons on Going with Life’s Flow

By: Dani from Positively Present

I am walking down the aisle and the train (and my body) is swaying back and forth with every step I take. If you have ever walked on a train before, you know what I am feeling. I am unsteady. I am wobbling and imagining that at any moment I will be lying face-first in a complete stranger’s lap. Occasionally I grip the side of a seat or a passing headrest, but for the most part, I’m on my own – on my own unstable feet. Of course, I’m turning this experience into a metaphor in my mind even as I’m walking. I’m moving forward – I have no choice if I want to make it to the dining car – but I’m struggling. And isn’t that just the way sometimes? Sometimes we find ourselves heading in a direction in which we need to be traveling, but we’re struggling to get there on our own two feet. Sometimes we find ourselves wobbling from side to side, not entirely certain that we’ll be able to remain standing.

As I was walking and thinking I began to pay attention to what I was doing. I began to think about how, if I tried to resist the falling motion causing me to lean to one side or the other, it seemed like I overcompensated and almost always felt that I was going to fall the opposite way. When I made jerky, quick movements, I found myself wobbling more and rarely was I able to stay in my pathetic attempt at a straight line. However, I also noticed that when I tried to center myself, to really focus on what I was doing with a peaceful mind, it was much easier to move forward. When I focused on the walking, on the act I was doing, instead of the possibility that I would trip or fall, I was able to make more progress more quickly. At times I even found that I need to lean slightly into the direction I felt like I was falling in order to right myself. I found that, more often than not, as I walked down the aisle I found that I would need to go with the flow instead of against the flow, even if that flow seemed like it would land me right in the lap of a fellow passenger.

And so it was that I came to the realization that this all could be applied to my life. I could see just how similar this walk down the train aisle was to various points in my life that I have struggled. I’ve found that the more I resist pain – the less that I just go with the flow of what’s happening to me – the more stressed and the more unstable I become. Likewise, I find that when I focus on what I’m doing and what I want to get down instead of the obstacles in my path, I am much more likely to succeed. In the past it’s been hard for me to go with the flow. In the past it’s been hard for me to focus on what needs to be done (instead of what’s hard to do). But every day I find that I’m learning to move more with the movement of my life. As it’s gliding beneath me, I try to stay in tune with it. I try to focus on it. And, most importantly, I try not to resist it.

Needless to say, I made it to the dining car without any major mishaps. But on the way back found myself faced with an even bigger challenge. Now I would have to walk back to my seat with no free hands to grab onto a seat or wall if needed. I would be required to rely only on my feet and the ability of my body to move with the train coasting along beneath me. It would most certainly be a greater challenge for me, this walk back to my seat. I scooped up my snacks and took a deep breath. One foot in front of the other I made my way back toward my seat, moving with the train, ebbing and flowing with the cars beneath me. I cannot say it was a perfect walk back to my seat (there was one close call in particular, before I managed to right myself, in which I felt for certain I would be torn between falling face-first to the middle of the aisle or taking a quick and unexpected seat on the knee of an unsuspecting businessman!), but it was successful. By going with the flow, by focusing on walking and not on falling, I made it back to my seat and I understood then that, really, the most important thing we can do to make our lives happier is to just go with the flow.

Dani is a twenty-something who, after years of living under a dark cloud of woe-is-me, has decided this will be the year she learns to live positively in the present moment. Through the creation of her blog, Positively Present (along with some pretty awesome therapy and the help from family and friends), Dani, a self-proclaimed former Eeyore, is working to spend more time living in the present and making her life more positively aware. Dani’s blog embraces the idea of “living happily ever after now” by focusing  on all things positive— quotes, books, stories, songs, situations, people, blogs, websites, ideas, images, notions, emotions. Dani is also the creator and author of Hope Springs Internal, a blog focusing on the positive representations of women in the media. You also find Dani on Twitter @positivepresent.



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  • Positively Present December 15, 2009, 6:59 am

    Thanks so much for featuring my post on The Bold Life today. I’ve always loved your site and it’s great to be a guest writer on here! 🙂
    .-= Positively Present´s last post…the best ways to embrace solitude =-.

  • Mark December 15, 2009, 7:54 am

    Dani,
    This is a great analogy and a testament to your awareness of what is happening in your life. I love that you are so aware that even as you were managing the flow of the train and you walk from car to car that you were thinking about how you could apply this to going with the flow of daily life. Excellent job, thank-you for sharing your insights.
    .-= Mark´s last post…Sudden Death =-.

  • Hayden Tompkins December 15, 2009, 9:50 am

    What you’ve described is so so true. The more we tense up and resist, the worse our experience is.

    I’ve actually been in two MAJOR car accidents. (highway + 2 story overpass + drunk driver = not good) During that first accident, I had a flash of memory.

    I’d once read an article that talked about the reason that drunk drivers walk away from accidents that seriously injure other people. It was postulated that being in a completely relaxed state substantially reduced the possibility of serious injury.

    So I just let go and relaxed.

    Dani, I walked away from that accident with only two “injuries”. Seat belt rash and a black eye from where the airbag hit my glasses.

    My car went over the side of the overpass at 70 miles an hour and landed nose first two stories below (luckily not ON anyone) and ended up upside down.

    Going with the flow can literally save your life.
    .-= Hayden Tompkins´s last post…House Sitters Gone Wild! =-.

  • Peggy December 15, 2009, 10:14 am

    Nice to see Dani here!

    Be like water…go with the flow…because resistence is usually what gets us into trouble (we become rigid, tense, unyielding…)
    .-= Peggy´s last post…Your Moment of Bliss =-.

  • Quinn December 15, 2009, 10:56 am

    This reminds me of the beginning of lathe of heaven by Ursala K. LeGuin. She talks about how the jellyfish is the softest most delicate creature in the ocean but because it moves with the power of the waves and lets it self go it becomes strong. This is of cores a horrible paraphrase but a beautiful analogy for going with the flow.
    .-= Quinn´s last post…Called shots =-.

  • Jannie Funster December 15, 2009, 11:35 am

    I love trains! Love the dining cars! Love wobbling down those aisles too.

    What you say here… “when I tried to center myself, to really focus on what I was doing with a peaceful mind, it was much easier to move forward” is indeed wisdom to take into any and all areas of life. For me I am especially thinking today of how this applies to my parenting.

    Great to see you here, Dani!
    .-= Jannie Funster´s last post…Kelp Bikinis & Squirrels With Waivers?!? =-.

  • Jodi at Joy Discovered December 15, 2009, 11:52 am

    It’s nice that you made this analogy so quickly as you were wobbling down the aisle of that train. It’s nice you noticed immediately how much more centered you became when you focused on just one step at a time. Great post, Dani!
    .-= Jodi at Joy Discovered´s last post…Love, Love, Love =-.

  • Patricia December 15, 2009, 6:06 pm

    I love to ride on trains – not as much as my Father, who put himself though college being an engineer on a the CP in Canada….or my oldest daughter, but I love riding on trains…

    ….trying to figure out why my knee gets so messed up on trains…how I am not going with the flow…??

    I also like how it takes a few minutes to be able to feel grounded again when you get off….after 20 hours on my last trip…I got into bed 4 hours later and still felt the motion and the sway… no squealing wheels though..
    Fun post Thank you for sharing Tess and Dani
    .-= Patricia´s last post…Donuts, Coffee and the Wisdom of Daughters =-.

  • Joy December 15, 2009, 8:19 pm

    Dani,
    We can find lessons anywhere!
    My first thought is that you must truly have wanted those snacks-LOL:)
    But that is the truth. The thing that keeps you moving forward–even if you have doubt or fear–is the knowledge that what you are moving toward is somehow essential and worthy of the process. Everything I’ve read and experimented with says “don’t resist, lean in”.
    My hardest lesson in sailing is that to exit the harbor properly on windy days, I actually need to aim toward the very jetty rock formation I want to avoid and get super close in order to pocket the wind and turn when I need to. Aim toward the thing I’m tryingto avoid! And I find that has a direct corelation to lots in life:)
    Thank you so much for sharing such an insightful peace…

  • Daphne @ Joyful Days December 15, 2009, 8:29 pm

    Dani,

    I love trains and the way you picked out lessons from just walking about a train is heart-warming. I have huge issues with going with the flow, relaxing into life etc. Thanks for this beautiful and timely reminder.

    Tess,

    Great job having Dani guest post here! You’re the best!
    .-= Daphne @ Joyful Days´s last post…Can You Pack Your Life Into Two Suitcases? =-.

  • Megan "JoyGirl!" Bord December 16, 2009, 6:39 am

    What a brilliant metaphor and one I could “feel” at the very core of who I am. Tess, thank you for featuring Dani, and Dani, this is one of my favorite posts by you. It’s so simple, and yet so profound.
    And I even found myself laughing at the idea of you and that businessman sharing a close encounter of the train-mishap kind. (smile)

    Focus on the present moment, and sway gently with the flow. I can do that!
    .-= Megan “JoyGirl!” Bord´s last post…Funny Cookies =-.

  • suzen December 16, 2009, 9:30 am

    Hi Tess and Dani!
    Wonderfully visual post! Tensing up is the worst thing we can do, physically, mentally and emotionally – you are spot on with that! Reminds me too of skiing lessons years ago – keeping bent relaxed knees saved me from broken legs I’m sure!

    To do ANYthing well, relax and go with the flow – great recipe for life!
    Hugs to you both!
    suZen
    .-= suzen´s last post…Letter to Santa – or – Venting is Therapy! =-.

  • Laura Hegfield December 16, 2009, 9:54 am

    Wonderful analogy to living our lives and “going with” what is instead of fighting it or trying to hard to get ahead all of which takes us out of the present moment and into fear. It was especially fascinating for me, reading this as I was diagnosed with MS recently…for me this walking on the train, trying to find balance is much like my daily life for the past year on multiple levels. Thanks so much for posting this thoughtful entry.
    gentle steps,
    laura
    .-= Laura Hegfield´s last post…A Gold Star Moment: Shining Our Light =-.

  • Robin Easton December 16, 2009, 9:58 am

    This is a wonderful story. Like Megan said I too could feel this. You are a wonderful writer, one that keeps the reader right with you. I forgot that I was sitting in my office chair at my desk and was with you in the aisle. I could even feel my body responding as you moved along, my muscles torqued and turned. LOL!! That’s some GREAT writing.

    When I was just a bit younger than you are now, which was MANY years ago., LOL! I traveled through Europe by myself for many months. I bought a Eurail pass and rode the trains all over the place. I LOVED it. I loved just the sound of the train, the rocking, and so on. It was like an immediate meditation for me. Loved watching the countryside go by while I ate melt-in-your-mouth chocolate from Austria and French pastries that took me to heaven. 🙂 I loved how the trains there went into even the teeniest of towns.

    Thank you for sharing your story and wisdom. I was deeply moved by your little bio at the end of this post. Good for you!! I am an eternal optimist and always have been. So I love positive people and the energy they share. I ‘ve added you to my RSS Fee and to my twitter. I found the writing on your blog intimately beautiful, deep, soothing and real. Thank you, Dani. Robin
    .-= Robin Easton´s last post…Share Your Legacy? =-.

  • Tess The Bold Life December 16, 2009, 10:17 am

    Dani,
    Thank you for being our guest!

    Mark,
    Yes Dani is truly a path blazer for personal growth. I love how she writes as she walks her talk.

    Hayden,
    It’s so true about car accidents and drunks being relaxed. I’m so happy you had that moment because we love your presence in our world.

    Peggy,
    My most rigid moments never last more than a few hours. Thank God for the willingness to grow and become spiritually mature. Now that I’ve declared that I hope I don’t draw any lessons to me!

    Quinn,
    I love jelly fish and their beauty even their survival method. We could probably write an entire post on how we’re like jelly fish. Do you think we project on jelly fish. Thanks for stopping by and getting my imagination going wild.

    Jannie,
    Oh yeah prepare for those teenage years by going with the flow now. You wise fun friend!

    Jodi,
    That the way to go through life…focused and one step at a time. I’m sure we’d all do less rushing and more enjoying. Like Dani we can all enjoy the ride!

    Patricia,
    I’m amazed by your father’s accomplishments. Know I know how you became the person you are…what a role model to have. Was he as compassionate and caring as you as well?

    Joy,
    I love your boat analogy. I’ve been in my friend’s sailboat plenty of times and understand what you’re saying.

    It reminds me of addictions or bad habits we try to cover up. Only aiming straight at them will cause us to heal rather than avoiding them and putting them under the rug.

    Daphne,
    I hope you are doing well. I haven’t heard from you for a while and miss your inspiring posts. Yes Dani is clever and wise for her age! I’m glad you enjoyed it. Take care and happy holidays!

    Laura,
    Thanks for stopping by. I wish you love and peace as you find your way through your diagnosis. Let me know if I can help you in anyway.

    Robin,
    I got goose bumps when I read your message to Dani. And my mouth was watering as I rode with YOU on the train. Last night I was tempted to open some chocolate that I had prepared as a gift for a friend;)
    .-= Tess The Bold Life´s last post…Traveling By Train: Lessons On Going With Life’s Flow =-.

  • Positively Present December 16, 2009, 11:00 am

    Wow, everyone! Thank you SO much for all of your wonderful comments and feedback! I’m so glad everyone liked and could relate to my post. It was kind of a revelation when it was happening to me, since I’m not so much of a go-with-the-flow type, and it was really fantastic to be able to share it with you all here. Thanks again for all of your wonderful comments!! 🙂 -Dani
    .-= Positively Present´s last post…how to let go and reclaim your life =-.

  • Evita December 16, 2009, 12:51 pm

    Hi Dani

    What a treat to see you here on Tess’ blog today – thank you so much for sharing your experience – I am really big on going with the flow. There is just so much less resistance in life this way, but again each one of us has to do what works for them.

    Tess – thanks for the new guest author!
    .-= Evita´s last post…Make Every Holiday a ‘Holy Day’: Redecorating the Landscape of Life =-.

  • Tess The Bold Life December 16, 2009, 2:29 pm

    Dani,
    Thanks for stopping by. Everyone loves you!

    Evita,
    I’m currently waiting standby at the airport. The flight is overbooked by 4 so who knows if we’ll get on. If not we go with the flow and take the next flight. It makes a world of difference when you’re at the airport…going with the flow.
    .-= Tess The Bold Life´s last post…Traveling By Train: Lessons On Going With Life’s Flow =-.

  • Karl Staib - Work Happy Now December 16, 2009, 2:29 pm

    I love the train analogy. Too many times I’ve tried to force the issue at hand. By being more flexible with my thoughts and actions I find life is so much more enjoyable. People enjoy hanging out with me more too. Just a little added bonus.
    .-= Karl Staib – Work Happy Now´s last post…Work Happy Tip – Lucky Pen =-.

  • Wilma Ham December 16, 2009, 3:25 pm

    Hi Dani,
    I had to laugh because somehow trains look like the most sturdiest and most unmoving form of transport you can think of.
    You think they do not deviate, they go straight on their tracks and yet look at the movements you had to overcome on this so called steady moving object.
    Wherever we go, we end up in an every moving flow, and indeed as many said we can learn to go with it or fight it wanting a rigid train ride and become rigid ourselves.
    Dani, great way to make me see that even rigidity is nowhere to be found, go with the flow and you will end up like Robin, arriving in a calm peacerful state of mind enjoying mouth watering experiences. Oh yeas Tess, I too looooove chocolate.
    It is funny, Dani, I have seen you all over the blogoshpere and never really connected. Thank you for your biography, it makes me realize where you are coming from and I treasure your sharing.
    Tess and Dani, go well on your rides over Christmas and may you end up peacefully in your seat to enjoy the goodies.
    .-= Wilma Ham´s last post…Context is King. =-.

  • Angelia December 16, 2009, 4:39 pm

    Dani,
    Excellent writing! I enjoyed my walk to the dining car and I hope we got something yummy. 🙂
    Your post reminded me of walking in truth. Knowing and being in the moment. I love your story of how you came to blog. Wonderful post.

    Tess,
    Thanks for another blogger jewel. Airport flow is the best. Hope the flight path flowed with you on it.
    .-= Angelia´s last post…I’m Radioactive =-.

  • Lana - DreamFollowers Blog December 17, 2009, 12:03 am

    This post is exactly what I was thinking about a lot lately – how can we be more in tune with the flow of our lives and just go with it? How can we listen more to our intuition and not let fears and worries to change our focus and move us off track? Thank you Dani and Tess, beautiful and inspiring!
    .-= Lana – DreamFollowers Blog´s last post…You are NOT responsible for anything and how it can help you reach any of your goals. =-.

  • Anita December 17, 2009, 8:41 am

    Great post! Going with the flow can be challenging for all of us because we want to control things. Your train lesson reminded me of something I heard….”When people put their boats in the water they face it upstream, and they struggle. If they stop trying to row, stop struggling to go upstream, the boat will automatically turn itself downstream — the way it naturally flows. Everything they want is downstream.” Thanks for sharing this lesson.
    .-= Anita´s last post…My Wish for You =-.

  • Hilary December 17, 2009, 10:49 am

    Hi Dani and Tess – good to see you here Dani: the train rattling and rolling walk is true .. just let go and you’ll be fine, you’ll adapt .. and of course occurs with so many things – riding a motor bike, not my favourite occupation – lean into the corners, the same with gliding, skiing, skating .. and more importantly go with life, it’s so much easier than trying to control it all – especially now ..

    Tess – did you get away?

    Have good weekends enjoying the pre festivities
    Hilary Melton-Butcher
    Positive Letters Inspirational Stories
    .-= Hilary´s last post…Kissing under the Mistletoe – how did it all begin? and Asterix! =-.

  • Stacey Shipman December 17, 2009, 9:02 pm

    Great awareness and metaphor. I couldn’t agree more…we try so hard to control things in our lives instead of “letting go and letting it flow!” It does make a difference. Thanks for sharing your experience.
    .-= Stacey Shipman´s last post…There is No Failing When You Go For It =-.

  • Tess The Bold Life December 18, 2009, 5:57 am

    Megan,
    I agree it is a great metaphor and I’ll join you in the present moment and swaying with the flow… a good way to rock the new year!

    Karl,
    More flexible with my thoughts and actions is a good way to put it. I love the added bonus of people enjoying us more when we do. Everyone wins!

    Wilma,
    My ride has taken me to MI for the next week and you can bet on me enjoying my week and oh…I just ate chocolate for breakfast. Don’t tell Evita or Stacey!

    Angelia,
    Oh yeah the flow of the airport is another post in itself. I think I’ll follow up on it and write about my trip. I’ll wait until I get home so I have the entire experience behind me. Yes the flow of the airport…it’s all what we make it.

    Lana,
    Welcome to my blog and I think Dani’s post is so appropriate for this time of the year when everyone is visiting with family and friends. Too often we live in our stories about each other rather than enjoying the moment and going with the flow.

    Anita,
    I didn’t know that about boats but it makes complete sense and true about humans as well. Welcome and thanks for stopping by.

    Hillary,
    You are so right and I never thought of all those other activities being the same. Thanks for pointing that out. I’ll think of that when I rollerblade. Being older I want to stiffen up out of fear of falling which is of course exactly what causes me to fall.

    Yes I’m in MI at my daughters house sitting at the kitchen table ( the one my kids sat at) and I even commented to my grandchildren “if these chairs could talk.” Hey that sounds like another article.

    Hey Stacey,
    You are an inspiration for all of us. The more I think about it the photo of you and your hubby in the boat going with the flow is why it’s one of my favorites.
    .-= Tess The Bold Life´s last post…Traveling By Train: Lessons On Going With Life’s Flow =-.

  • Patricia - Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker December 23, 2009, 8:58 am

    I have never ridden on a train. Your story reminded me of a few bumpy rides on international flights on airplanes across the Atlantic Ocean during storms. Going with the flow really does make life so much better with fewer bumps and less energy spent to reach your destination. Wonderful lesson taught and received. Merry Christmas.
    .-= Patricia – Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker´s last post…The Spirit Of Christmas =-.

  • Cheap Car Insurance Stats January 6, 2010, 8:33 pm

    @hayden – This is true, those under the influence are usually in a more relaxed state and less likely to stiffen up and break bones. Of course this is no excuse to drink as the consequences are great

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