Be like water
I came across the saying ‘Be like Water’ a few months ago at a marketing seminar and James Schramko put up this quote as part of his presentation, which is originally an ancient chinese saying, but he also made the point that when water hits a stumbling block it goes over it, around it or under it. It doesn’t get frustrated, it doesn’t kick it, it doesn’t stop because of it, it just finds a way over, under or around it. The statement has remained with me ever since, because so often I do get frustrated and annoyed at stumbling blocks and I can safely say whilst I do my best to ‘be like water’ I sure haven’t mastered that art, yet.
The last number of months, actually 26 to be exact about it, have been challenging to the extreme at times and I have often felt that something was out to break my spirit whether it was conscious or not, intended or not, self-inflicted or not, I am not judging it, all I can say is that it hasn’t been easy. To stick with the water analogy it’s as if I got swept away by a river and at times hit the swirly bits where everything is in overdrive and moving all around you and you don’t know which direction you are heading in anymore.
In the past 2 weeks, things have defintely gone into change overdrive again, but maybe from a good point of view… maybe it’s the waterfall that leads to a gentler part of the river. I am not sure yet where it is leading, but everything is changing all around me and for once I am no longer fighting it.
Actually on a funny note, sometimes the waterfall seems to find it’s way out through my eyes a lot lately and as a friend pointed out to me tears are a promise of a better tomorrow. I sure hope that is right, this time. Tears are a relief and anyone that claims that you shouldn’t, may want to try it some time and see if they feel better after, mostly they are an energy release of some kind.One day last week I was out walking at sunrise and I am naturally drawn to water and rivers, it was so peaceful and serene. Little duck families were out swimming and I thought how often are we like the ducks looking serene and in control above the water to the face of the public that is or isn’t watching, but if they only knew the legs were working like hell under water to stay going. So often have I looked in full flow and control to the outside world and felt the complete and utter opposite below the water.
Those days I tend to reflect either that it was a challenge and one that I managed to overcome happily or the odd time I wasn’t fully happy with the performance or outcome, but it was the best available at the time. So I guess whether we paddle like hell or not, in the end of the day it doesn’t really matter. One thing is for sure though you rarely see ducks paddling against the current and maybe that is the lessons for the paddlers amongst us.The weather has been beautiful over here, when I can I spend time in nature, so I took an afternoon and I spent a good bit of time just enjoying the sunshine, reflecting. letting thoughts flow by and writing or doodling a bit whilst sitting on the river bank.
The next thing this seal swims by, enjoying himself and just going with the flow of the river tide swimming at leisure and then twirling around onto his back and letting the flow take him wherever the river is going. An amazing sight! It looked as if he hadn’t a care in the world and really loved going with the flow, doing his thing, minding his own business, not caring about all the people on the riverbank trying to take pictures of him or not. Although I did get the impression he was playing the viewing public a little bit, but maybe that was just my imagination giving the character a bit of meaning.
Again, nature has a gentle way of giving us lessons, if we care to notice them and to take them on board. To go with the flow is a good one for me, as I have a rather impetuous nature that wants to create flow and totally get’s in the way of myself or any flow for that matter. The other observation I took out of the seal behaviour is that whilst I mostly do my thing, I would often care what other people think and sometimes even too much. In the end of the day it doesn’t matter as long as what you do is enjoyable and doesn’t harm anyone or anything around you or yourself of course.
Those two images stuck with me for the last number of days and I have been doing my best to let the chaos around me unfold itself without trying to control it or me for that matter. I have to admit some of the insights that have come as a result are interesting and even some decisions that I didn’t think were ever within ball park range have come around. I have reflected back and forwards on so many things from work to family to friends to places to live to travel, etc. etc.
I did adopt the be like water approach to let thoughts just pass through, not assigning meaning to them, but just letting them flow like water. The ones that resonate kept flowing with stronger currents and are receiving some attention, but some have just drifted off. It will be interesting to flow towards the ones that hold the solutions or are the key changes, but only time will fill in the details. For now, the motto is ‘gentle on me’ and that effectively means going with the flow of the water wherever it leads to.
Having been so driven and goal oriented all of my life, this really feels strangely alien to me but at the same time it feels right and the right thing to do for now. One surprising idea that has come out is that a change of location may be on the cards and when I started playing with what it would look like and some of the must haves of this new destination, the first thing that popped into my mind was that it needs to be near water!!! I have to say the whole water analogy has grabbed my attention for sure… but yes, I have always found water a really comforting and healing presence… so I guess that is really no surprise.
As for the other changes and decisions, there are a few, but I guess only the inner circle of my friends know these and the rest of you will just have to stay tuned to find out what they are…
For now, go find a river or water near you and see if it has any lessons or messages in it for you, if nothing else stay in flow and go with it!