A friend of mine was over once while I was doing my beloved once in a couple years ritual of shuffling notebooks, ripping out concepts and organizing ideas, fiction, etc into piles with clips and re-used folders.
She opened a blood orange Moleskine journal and read the first line out loud, “Be Like Water”.
“Erin.” She said.
I remember her looking at me and telling me how true that felt.
Mobility, Flexibility, Adaptability.
Relaxed, Able, Life-Giving, Refreshing.
To be these things allows peace.
Even the most turbulent water ushers in a quiet after math; the settling in of the new day, the next morning, the next step.
For me, as a parent / stepparent of 5 kids in a young marriage, being like water means changing ideas I have settled into over the course of my life in order for the days now to feel more at ease. It means changing my opinions on timelines and holidays and plans and schedules.
There is a stoic thought I use when I teach on self control. It’s from Marcus Aurelius Meditations 3.9, “Treat with respect the power you have to form an opinion.”
“Treat with respect the power you have to form an opinion.”Marcus Aurelius Meditations 3.9
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I find awareness of when you are exercising an opinion or experiencing an emotion bc of an opinion is so helpful in strengthening the muscle you ultimately need to use to curb major habits, make big decisions, trust the overall process enough to try something new.
Self control in exercising an opinion or controlling the extent to which an opinion (yours or somebody else’s real or assumed opinion) is affecting your reality is a pre-req (imho) to experiencing peace.
Peace is – by definition – stillness, tranquility, freedom from anxiety / distraction.
One of the most common causes of mental unrest? Competing opinions.
One of the most common disruptions of a good night’s sleep? Back and forth judgments, self criticism.
One of the most common reasons we feel trapped? Because “WHAT WILL PEOPLE THINK?!?”
By seeing that all of these things boil down to “an opinion” at play, you can then also see why treating with respect the POWER of forming an opinion even matters.
Because… it is powerful. Opinions drive things.
Opinions change things or do not change things.
Opinions decide. Judge. Invite. Exclude.
To Be Like Water means you move and adapt to the conditions: around bends, simmering when heated, becoming still when cooled. It means you are connected with others who are also like water, similar in essentials and different in qualities. Imagine if we were all aware of this!
The idea of connection and adaptation to conditions brings freedom as life is no longer about being right.
It’s becomes about being aware of who and where you are…
Aware of the ever-changing conditions…
Aware of the over-arching connection…
In hopes of the ever-lasting…