SPEAK: Rejuvenate By the Spirit – Like Water…

SPEAK! … By the Spirit™ with
Erica A. Hawthorne

Like Water…

© 2010 Erica A. Hawthorne

August 18, 2010

“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way round or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.”  -Bruce Lee

I am like a lot of people.  I don’t like what I perceive as discomfort.  I don’t want to be too hot or too cold or too tired or even too obligated to do one thing or the next.  I am made most aware of how much of a work in progress I still am when faced with what seems to be immovable situations.

And then…an ever so small occurrence, a comment from a friend or “happening” across a quote seems to put it all back into perspective.  Sometimes we all need to rejuvenate our thoughts and perceptions, releasing rigid, tense reactions to what is to make room for what can be.

“Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water.”*

One of the most precious practices I return to is one I learned by doing yoga.  With my legs stretched out before me and my torso reaching towards the sun, my arm equally extended in some more extreme opposite direction…Gumby didn’t have anything on me!  At the height of what felt like my threshold for uncomfortable situations, the yoga instructor would remind us to simply…breathe, or in her words “add breathe” to the position.  I would realize that in fact I had been holding my breath in much of the same way I was holding the contorted position.  Not only was I holding my breath but I was also telling myself all kinds of crazy negative things like “This hurts so much!” or “When will this be over?!” “I can’t believe I’m paying to be in pain!”

So the battle, I found, was physically on the mat as well as in my mind.  My thoughts about the situation added just as much difficulty as the position itself. I was holding my breath as some crazy attempt to control the position, thinking that by holding on tighter somehow that would free me from the discomfort.  The irony of that is obvious.

Upon hearing the instructor’s voice I first had to silence the thoughts that worked against me acknowledging the present moment and what was.  And yes, I thought seriously that I could have sprang out of my pose and ran for the door, yoga mat be damned…but what’s the fun in that right?  The practice would have followed me off the mat and out of the door until I faced it.  So instead I challenged myself to do just the opposite.  I invited myself to consider what would happen if I didn’t fight the moment, if instead I became more like water. I exhaled deeply and felt my body settle a bit deeper into what I thought was my maximum reach.  I became loose, less shaped, my physical form fell into its current reality until I found myself in full yoga pose that I previously thought was too difficult to maintain.

I learned I can do the same thing in day-to-day life.  Learning to become more and more like water and flow through life rather than vigorously rowing up against the tide. A friend recently pointed out that when I talked of working on my personal projects or goals I always spoke as if I was going into a battle of sorts.  I used a lot of warrior words like “grind” “go hard” or “go hard or go home”.   She pointed out that even my mindset was that of battle and struggle at a time in my life when I was looking for peacefulness and flow.  So lately I’ve being extra mindful of the language I use as I approach my work and projects and seeing how changing my very words can usher in a different flow in my approach to life to one that is more like water.  Of course this sometimes feels as though it’s easier said than done, but the truth is in the practice.

Sometimes rejuvenation means stepping away or pausing and other times we are not able to “get away” and the very thing we need to refresh is to stay present and become more malleable. Yes, it may feel uncomfortable as whatever it is brushes up against our comfort zones and seems to ask us to hold compromising positions.  And it may be that it is time to leave or change or do something different.  But sometimes even the process of change begins with first being aware of what is true about the present moment, what really is and we can only do that by being fully in the situation, if only to recognize the details around us and become clear about the details that should change.  My grandmother called that not “jumping out of the fire into the frying pan…” so to speak.

So this week, let’s practice being fully present in our current circumstances, giving breathe to the moments where we feel especially stretched and as much as possible, being more like water as we find our flow in the direction of our true purpose.

“If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water my friend.”*

*Quotes from Bruce Lee

SPEAK Song of the week: Just Like Water by Lauryn Hill

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One Response

  1. I will try to think of it that way and let you know just what
    happen.I have made a great change in my life and i’m feeling a little better and i’m trying to get where you are and put my own stuff out there to see how people like it and if they feel me.when i read all the post sisters write i feel very good. you don’t know how long i have been waiting for sisters to get together and work together.i enjoy what you all put out and i enjoy looking at the things that ur about and the accomplishments that you all have made. i’m gonna get there i just have to work a little harder.
    Tell next time much love sisters i’m out.

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