Be Water

After reading an old proverb, “Water is not clean until it has flown over a stone seven times” I thought its message seemed like an oxymoron. Doesn’t water clean the stone instead of the stone cleaning the water?

On second thought, maybe not. If our bodies are made of 70% water and if our brains are made of 75% water and if our first nine months of life is lived in amniotic fluid, which is 99% water ~ then doesn’t the stones of trauma – anger, stress, distrust, anxiety, nightmares etc – toxify the brain and weighs down the body? That gave weight to the proverb as did my following thought: Sometimes there are not enough tears to clean the spirit of our stones.

Water has always been my source of meditation. It soothes my mind. It calms my muscles. It washes away stress. If you find me in a bad mood, throw me in a pool and watch a new woman emerge.

One overwhelming morning a special surprise awaited me at the CSULB pool – no other swimmers. I literally had the entire university pool to myself. To warm up, I treaded water and enjoyed watching steam dance like a ballerina along the warm water’s surface, and through its mist I spied a black rubber band, a hair tie, resting on the pool’s sky-blue floor. I thought, later I’ll swim down and pick it up, but within minutes I spied –no hair tie. My treading caused it to move along. The minute motion of treading created an undercurrent, and in its midst enacted The Butterfly Effect.

The Butterfly Effect is a cause/effect concept. It’s also called the Chaos Theory, and its concept was derived from weather patters. For example, a butterfly flaps its wings and in a few weeks that current causes a hurricane in a distant region.

Water and trauma’s chaos share a struggle for harmony – fluid vs. solid, liquid vs. vapor, good vs. evil, chaos vs. peace. Both can destroy, freeze, drown, transform, stunt or grow life.

Seeking ways to grow and thrive from trauma, I studied the philosophy of others who who found harmony, and one teaching resonated. It was from the actor and martial artist, Bruce Lee. He believed that any knowledge ultimately led to self-knowledge, and with all his complexities, he chose to live as water.

He said, “Empty your mind! Be formless, shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. Put it into a bottle, it becomes the bottle, you put into a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow, or it can crash: Be water, my friend!”

If we become water and if water is our source of life, what happens to life when trauma toxifies thoughts to flow thru it? In the 1980s Masau Emoto, a Japanese water researcher, set out to answer a similar question. He wanted to know if the human consciousness has an effect on the molecular structure of water. In other words, does water have a memory?

Emoto created two groups of glass jars. He filled each jar with water, exposed them to kind or negative words. Than crystallized the water to observe under a microscope.

Kind words -love, trust, gratitude, Mother Teresa, – formed crystals with brilliant, colorful, unique patterns, like snowflakes.

Negative words – hate, mistrust, ugly, Hitler – formed crystals with dull grey and black colors, and incomplete asymmetrical patterns, like spaghetti.

That amazing revelation demonstrates water’s ability to memorize our body’s words, attitudes and thoughts; it’s ability to enhance our life with harmony or chaos. With that insight I became mindful of each internal spirited stone, acknowledging their power, and how I equally have the power to choose to thrive or create waste with the force of a tidal wave, to thrive despite trauma and become who I was meant to be – an Ironman.


This post is adapted from a book I’m publishing.