Be water, my friend
“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 friend.” 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.