Go with the Flow

I often hear people say “go with the flow”… What do we actually mean by this? Could it mean: Go along with the flow as in the flow in the river??? Or could it mean: Go along with the flow in the way we go in life? This is an interesting statement for me because i have worked on flooding issues as a Landscape Architect and I have had issue with the way we think about flooding and how we manage the flow!

Contrary to civil engineers I think the very very last resort should be to build walls to solve flood problems, instead, we should focus on natural solutions…

I have a theory (yes, another one), that we need to find the flow of the river just like we find the flow in life…

Finding your Flow

I think there is an analogy between floods and people… flooding has increasingly become a  threat, just as anxiety has became a modern epidemic!!! For instance:

I think when looking for solutions for flooding we need to look at how we treat anxiety patients!… hydrologists can learn from sociologists….

If flood experts thought of a water basin more as a human, they would appreciate that natural and free is better than controlled and repressed. They would realise they need to let go and leave the water basin to find its’ own path in life… because then it will look after itself.

Think like this:

  • If a young child spends his childhood being forced to learn information about stuff he doesn’t understand, like or enjoy, he will not be in his flow state. These stresses on his mental wellbeing could eventually break through into his attitude, and there is every chance he could end up as an 18 year old who is angry, depressed or has some other expression of anxiety.
  • The same is true with a river upstream…. force all the water from the fields immediately into streams, concrete culverts for ditches, and it too will not be entering its’ natural flow state…. And there is a chance that this river will be under so much pressure it bursts banks later down stream…

An 18 year boy with anxieties, anger and depression, or an urban river wanting to bursts its’ banks …. What do you think the consequences could be?

Upstream Thinking

How would you deal with someone who acts, thinks and affects people negatively..? Know this and you will know how to prevent a fast flowing urban river from flooding….

Let’s go back to the anxious 18 year old….

WE meet him again five years later and he has been dealing with depression and is finding it hard to control his anger…. He has walked into a job with the skills that he didn’t want… and gets through the day with a variety of medication to control his temper and depression…

What next for him? Well let’s ask his doctor, psychologist and social work, and they will tell you that we should let him find his natural path in life. Encourage him to find jobs and hobbies which he enjoys….

In short, to free him and let him find his flow state, and his flow in life…. And he may not need as much medication….

Of course you can’t remove the medication overnight, you would wait until you realign the wider problems, let him find his natural flow and then slowly remove the medicines….

So what does this mean for the fast flowing urban river? Well… Just like we wouldn’t remove medication over night, we wouldn’t remove the flood wall overnight… Instead we would realign the wider water course, remove concrete culverts, plant trees, leave landscape to hold back the water naturally, and this will result in the river finding its’ flow… and ultimately this river won’t flood, but instead become an asset to us all…

Prescriptions and Walls

It is okay to build flood walls or to prescribe medicines. But I think that over time, the more we solve the issues upstream the less we need artificial built walls and prescribed medicines to solve problems downstream…

Everyone, and every landscape has a natural flow state, it’s just a case of finding it, freeing it, and supporting and celebrating it for us to all enjoy…!

So the next time you hear someone say ….“lets go with the flow”… where will your flow take you?


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