“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way round or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves…”
Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
I’ve got a friend. He’s a managing director. It can be quite a stressful job, but he is never stressed as far as I can tell.
Life seems very easy for him. He takes change in his stride and gets things done.
He told me that he used to try to control everything. He wouldn’t sleep at night. In the end he realised that if he ever actually got to the point where he controlled everything his life would be ruined. He would never get a moment to himself. He also realised that his need to control was unhealthy. It was making him very stressed, frustrated and ultimately unwell.
The secret of his transformation, he tells me, was to flow like water.
The way he explains it water can find its path no matter the obstacle. It can run around, sheet over or slip through the smallest crack. Water will eventually get where it is going.
He embraces circumstances as if they are by his design and then he flows the easiest path to his destination.
I’ve watched him and I can recognise the fluidity and flexibility in the way that he works.
When the way is clear he is a rushing torrent. When the path is blocked he quietly tests alternatives looking for any way to trickle forward.
What I like most about this is how relaxed he is even in the face of serious problems and critical challenges.
I’m trying to follow his lead. To let go. Trying to flow. I’m not fluid yet, but I’m trying.