Like Water

IMG_1153“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves. 

Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. 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.”
― Bruce Lee


Until last week, I had never heard or read this quote before. I was part of a lengthy discussion about a serious family situation and this was the advice someone offered. It resonated me to the point I burst into tears. They say when the student is ready the teacher arrives.

Bruce Lee with his martial art moves and his Zen thinking came to me when I needed a nudge and a visual as I continue on this journey to forgive the past so I can live fully in the present.

“If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.”

Forgiveness emits from the heart’s energy center or the 4th Chakra if that’s how you roll. I’m still a little iffy on the Chakras but I do grok and accept the energy field an accepting, forgiving, appreciative heart creates. But the heart is a muscle and a healthy muscle is supple and is not rigid. A rigid muscle is atrophied and dying. All this crap locked around my heart is squeezing it down little by little. Sure I nourish the heart with my gratitude project and meditation and affirmations. But it’s two steps backwards when I refuse to let muscle expand to move old hurts and resentments and fear out of my heart.

I wish I were a better artist because the visual I have is remarkable. A colored pencil drawing of a light red heart with waves of blue water flowing out of it, a ribbon of sorts leaving the middle and gushing forth. The water’s current is illustrated via words, phrases, and descriptions of the things I need to forgive; both the real and the perceived. They move away from my heart to be dispersed into the Earth like raindrops and once in the Earth this putrid energy serves as compost and something beautiful will grow.

One of my favorite sayings is Dyer’s supplication: “Your heart is not breaking but rather breaking open.” Usually, my heart breaks open after I have lost something precious: a relationship, a personal battle, an opportunity. But this time I’m breaking my own heart open through fearless loving of myself. And at this time in my life I’m finding myself surrounded by people who nudge me—completely without conscious knowledge—towards a more complete self-love and acceptance.

The other night Dr. Doctor and I broke the “No texting important stuff” rule. Tone, intent, body language cannot be conveyed by emoticon alone and we’ve seen our friends (and ourselves once) get completely sideways because of text conversations. I’m still not sure why I needed the emotional protection of the text messages and I even asked at one point—when I was getting confused–if he wanted to talk. But we continued with text and as the conversation unfolded I was grateful it was written because I have a permanent record of one of the most loving, firm but friendly, accepting discussion I’ve ever been privileged to engage with a lover. I think I needed the distance because I was sharing the essence of my heart. This type of intimacy always holds the fear of rejection for me. It’s such a pungent fear that I’m often stopped short of such bare emotion even in written form. I let my heart stay silent.

He needed to know that via him–and this “us” we’re created by our own rules–has led me to fall in love with myself. Before you start banging me with a co-dependent stick let me explain: I was already on the path to thinking I was a worthwhile, interesting, intelligent, sexy, fun person who would make someone a great girlfriend. But I didn’t believe it all the time. In fact, I didn’t believe it most of the time. Now I believe it all the time because I get to see myself through his eyes via his actions and acceptance of my foibles and quirks.

Having him in my corner is making it easier for me to be like water. I have a feeling if he weren’t in my corner I would still be like water as I let all that yucky past stuff flow out of me so “now” isn’t a muddied with “back then”.


About Laura

When my nest emptied I moved from the big city to a little big town to tend to a ramshackle yellow house on the edge of town. These are my Yellow House Days.
This entry was posted in at the heart of things, dating games, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Like Water

  1. It’s said that the unexamined life is not worth living.But the examined life can be hell. Been there. Blessings to you as you walk through this. Or float. Or even swim.


  2. Just a little observation. Texting really can be a good way to have distance but get close. It’s fascinating, my husband and I just use a couple of emoticons somedays and it makes my day. I’m here, he’s there, and it’ll be ok. Maybe it’s the equivalent of whistling to each other like our ancestors did when in the bush? Good luck, you cool.



    • Laura says:

      Flirtatious texts, sexy texts, and single emoticons are a favorite of mine, too. I feel connected when he is out of town just by a single yellow face blowing a kiss.


  3. That was a beautiful quote and one that I don’t want to forget. I think that if we could accomplish that one thing life would be so much better. I’m quite a few steps behind you and am still trying to figure myself out, most of the time I get frustrated and give up too easily or I let others sidetrack me. This helped though, thank you.


  4. Love this post, you know I have become a fan! It reminded me of an interview I did with an author named Ken Druck, who talked about hearts broken open:


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