“Be Like Water”

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.

Why?

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…

Namaste.

Erin

5.1.20 On the Road

Started into a podcast this morning when Maddox, our youngest, asked for music for a little bit. He is so sweet, I obliged.

As I scrolled for a good easy song to play, I stumbled upon Oceans and said to David, “I think I’ll start us out with a little worship music.”

“I really don’t want to listen to worship music.” He said, with his loving laugh voice which I’m thankful exists.

“Well then that probably means you should” I say in my loving laugh voice which I’m also thankful exists. It was a sweet exchange.

I looked out the window at this beautiful sunny morning, headed into our 9 hour journey to Black Hills National Forest. My heart started to tremble:

// spirit lead me where my trust is without borders //

Listening to the repetition of the prayer while watching the landscape with the lingering smell of a PBJ in the truck cab (made for Aria) made me aware of this reality that I have been led to an adventurous man.

This commitment we are in has me on a roadtrip, through a part of the country I have never been in, using strengths my life has equipped me for (like making three kids comfortable in a backseat and making sandwiches from a front seat – wrapped in a folded napkin with a quick scribble note to the recipient on it) and in a landscape of people so wide and deep that the only realistic expectation I can have of myself to help guide and mother is to stay present. To pay attention.

When I consider the whole of all that is on my mind and heart and how much is unknown, I am led just to consider its opposite: “known”.

I considered seasons of “known” (where nothing major was in question or in flux) and realized those seasons were seasons of plans, concrete planning or where plans were in motion.

If what is “known” means to me that I know the plan then, very much so, my life right now is “on the fly”. Big stuff: I don’t know what June looks like, yes. But even daily stuff like tomorrow night, I’m sleeping “in Montana”.

I did a little word math, a way I journal to try and make sense of complex ideas, to find my center. And I saw quickly that living “on the fly” and living “planned” have the same root: my intention.

If living present, per my true honest root, my intention, I believe, would not make my plan that much different than what I would come up with in a split decision. Said another way, what I come up with in a split decision is probably similar to what I would have planned… I think this is where the lyrics got me, spirit lead me where my trust is without borders.

Maybe living spirit led allows them to be the same: making plans and winging it. Just like Covid changed the best of plans, a boon can change the worst of winging it. If you’re true to your intention, to being spirit led, your trust is without borders.

To close, I’m stunned at how much of my life with David rings true to what I am accustomed to – like long road trips and lots of people – while also having me in unknown territory where I am reminded to rely heavily on the spirit. In yoga, we call this the balance between effort and ease – and when we find this place, we have just the right amount of tension to grow and explore newness with just the right of softness to trust and relax. It’s humbling: how simple the complexities of life can be.

Lots of love. :) me

Iowa. <shrug>