“Don't get set into one form, adapt it and build your
own, and let it grow, be like water. Empty your mind, be formless,
shapeless — like water…. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my
The image that comes to mind when I think of this quote
from Bruce Lee is that of a river rapid.
Of water gushing downstream, gurgling and foaming as it navigates around
the rocks. Strong and powerful but also
smooth and gentle. There was a time when
I was lost and felt as if I were rushing down a river without a paddle, without
even a boat. I bounced from rock to
rock, scraping and bruising all the way.
From the bank, people watched. I
cried for help and they answered, “We will cheer you on from the shore.” I felt alone and I was angry at the water
that hurried me along. I resented the
rocks. The tree branches on the shore
were too far to grab. Then I remembered
to sit in the rapids with my feet in front of me to push away from the
rocks. I joined with the flow of the
river and gently bounced off obstacles in my path. I was in control, not of the water of course,
but of my journey. Rocks and obstacles
remained but I was able to propel myself away from them as I touched them with
the soles of my athletic shoes. I became
one with the water as I adapted my body in order to work with it. I reached a beautiful still stretch of the
river and turned over onto my back to float.
I rested and no longer yearned for shore. I’m not sure I could ever be as powerful, as
soft, as refreshing, as useful as water.
It is enough to let it be a friend.