We are happiest when we are not fighting life. Being like water is moving around obstacles the way that water in a river freely moves around rocks. Fluid, accepting, allowing. Finding the easiest course. We are like water when we go with the flow.
But we often don't in small ways and in big ways.
Small: The wind blew a neighbour's garbage can right into the road. I had to get out of the car to move it so I could get by. I thought nothing of it. It was a force of nature.
Medium: Someone parked so close to the back of my Jeep in the parking lot that I had to move the Jeep ahead a bit to get my grocery bags into the back. A bit annoying, but no big deal.
Big: We were about to leave for an important family get-together. I was ready at the door for an hour, but Tom wanted to check the brakes on the car since it is a long drive. He decided that brakes were not good enough so took them apart to fix them right then. We were hours late. I hate being late. I wanted to spend quality time with the family. I didn't want them to think I was being rude. I didn't want them to think I was married to a rude husband. I wished Tom had attended to the brakes yesterday. This was not the plan. You see how quickly a simple thing has escalated to become a big deal? The deal was all in my head. Tom is like a rock in a river. He is a force of nature. I could no more prevent him from looking at the brakes than I could prevent the sun coming up.
Humungous: Well, some things are almost too big to talk about. When Clift and June got older, they set up their finances figuring that when it was time, he'd go first. But June did instead. Clift said, "This isn't what we talked about. This isn't how it was supposed to happen."
The garbage can was pretty easy for me to handle gracefully - a small rock for me to flow around. But maybe that's the way to look at this. When we meet with the small stuff and handle it reasonably well, that can give us practice to move up to the big stuff - the stuff that really scares us.
Who knows why life does what life does? There are a thousand, thousand causes and conditions that bring about each event in our lives. As brilliant as our plans may be, we can't begin to take all those thousand, thousand things into account. There's no point in getting annoyed at the rocks in our river. Big or small, they're a force of nature. We just need to move around them the best way we can.
That's when we are at our happiest. When we are not fighting life, but flowing, accepting, allowing and moving into the easiest course. We are at our happiest when we are being like water.
First published March 2010 in my free monthly email newsletter, Starry Night. Sign up here.