The past week or two, I have been deep in the weeds of planning and preparing for returning to work, a frustrating and anxiety provoking process with guidelines that seem to chop and change every day. As I was beginning to feel overwhelmed by it all, a poem I love but had forgotten about, popped up in my ‘Facebook memories. I found its text as calming and resonant now as when I first used it in a workshop as a focus for meditation. Then yesterday, as I was driving home from grocery shopping, I caught mention of a new documentary on ESPN about Bruce Lee called ‘Be Water‘. I looked up the title as it brought to mind the poem, and it turns out that Lee had indeed regarded water as the ultimate symbol of strength. To move like water, to be able to go with the flow, shows resilience and adaptability. Life shifts and changes, sometimes without warning but if we can be soft and adaptable like water, we won’t snap and break.
There’s no such thing as coincidence, (right?) so I took it as a sign that I should share the poem AND watch the documentary. Here’s the poem. If you catch the documentary, let me know what you think and we can compare notes!
Flow (attr. Noel Mcginnis)
as water is,
Flow around the edges
of those within your path.
Surround within your ever-moving depths
those who come to rest there—
enfold them, while never for a moment holding on.
Accept whatever distance
others are moved within your flow.
Be with them gently
as far as they allow your strength to take them,
and fill with your own being
the remaining space when they are left behind.
When dropping down life’s rapids,
froth and bubble into fragments if you must,
knowing that the one of you now many
will just as many times be one again.
And when you’ve gone as far as you can go,
quietly await your next beginning.