Be Like Water

Today’s walk was a solitary one. The water was cool and the air was warm. The surf was larger than usual, and the number of surfers were too.  The warm weather had brought out a large number of people – walking themselves, their partners, their kids, their dogs.

The waves crashing on the shore seemed felt like the emotional waves I ‘ve been hit by the last few weeks: at work, at home, with friends.  Most times, I’ve felt compelled to be like like the rocks that the waves crash on. The rocks don’t seem to be affected when a few – or even a hundred – waves hit them, & the waves will soon stop, right?

I sat down for a moment to watch the waves roll ashore, and to give my legs a little break, when I took this picture.

Looking at the picture as I sat down to write, Bruce Lee’s words again came to mind:

“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.”


Shannon Lee reading a poem from the Bruce Lee Archives [Video]

Bruce Lee, in case you were unfamiliar with his life, studied philosophy at the University of Washington, and  was an avid fan of the spoken word. One of his favorite poems was “IF” by Rudyard Kipling. He had it put on a plaque, hanging it in his home as a constant reference and source of inspiration. His daughter Shannon Lee reads its from the Bruce Lee archives and reads it here.

Bruce Lee had also translated another of his favourite poem by Tzu Yeh called “The Frost”. Watch a feature video version featuring his handwritten translation here