Sunday, January 9, 2011

Being with what is …

leaves in water

I have a wonderful, grace-filled friend who has a debilitating chronic illness; each day, her symptoms can change, and they’re usually not very pleasant changes. And yet, she remains a whole, wonderful, amazing gift to those who know her and are inspired by her and her wisdom and grace.

Recently she posted:

“Time, patience, sitting, being with what is, watching it unfold, turn, expand, shrink, stay, move forward and onto another awareness altogether …”

I told her that I should write “being with what is” on my blackboard as a reminder. Her response:

“We so often think we can avoid "what is" particularly when "what is" is still "is". ..well until it becomes "was"...or we run towards "will be"...but come on, lets face it ..."IS," is where we are actually living and breathing.”

How often do we resist “what is?” A chronic illness, loss of a job, divorce, death … some things cannot be changed, others can be changed over time, but in the meantime, we have to be with what is at that moment. I’ve shared many times that one of my favorite mantras is “Receive what you have been given.” When I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 1995, I did not receive or accept the diagnosis; I resisted. I continued to search for other answers, something that could be fixed. I finally had to receive what I’d been given and once I did that, I could learn and grow and find what modalities would work for me in managing the pain and avoiding situations that triggered it. It took several years, but I do OK now. I spent too much time, though, not receiving, not being with what is. Resistance was futile. As my friend reminds me: All is welcome. ALL is welcome. all IS welcome. all is WELCOME.

The Buddhists believe that resistance causes needless suffering. When we resist what is, we can’t move forward. We uselessly fight what is un-fightable. Through the usual gamut of life challenges, I feel I’ve learned the lesson pretty well now, not perfectly, but pretty well. When I was laid off last year, I didn’t spent time fretting over it.  I worked at finding a new job, but I didn’t worry. I accepted my situation and worked to change it over time. I now trust that I will land where I’m supposed to land and that things will work out the way they’re supposed to (even if it’s not what I would choose).

Bruce Lee expressed this lack of resistance as being fluid, like water:

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.

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.

May we learn to Be with what is. Be like water.


Thank you, Laura!


Debra She Who Seeks said...

Yes, Laura is an inspiration! I knew you were talking about her right from your opening line.

LauraX said...

Rose I am so honored that you quoted me and to know that we are part of a circle of compassionate supportive friends around the world. I too feel blessed and inspired by you so often. I love the water analogy from Bruce Lee...beautiful. friend, how comforting it always is to know that you are a vital part of this circle too...I sense that we are all born of the same drop of water expanding outward like a lovely ripple on this lake of's essence calm, clear and peaceful.

gentle steps

Stacy Wills said...

beautiful wise words...thank you rose and laura!

Darla said...

Rose, I love how you bring these messages into your own life and embrace them and share them in new ways. It is difficult not to identify with or attach ourselves to roles or diagnoses, and yet, when we open to 'being' and accept 'what is', then we no longer need those 'names' because we are all Beings in One, yes?

Lori Webster said...

Wonderful words filled with wisdom. Perhaps we can all learn to just be, especially in light of the violence in Arizona the other day.

Thank you, Rose.

Shell said...

That is one of my favorite quotes. Love Bruce Lee.

Connie said...

Rose, my beautiful, sweet spirit friend you always write the best messages. They always make us stop and think and give us something to "dwell" on. Bruce Lee was one of my favorite people. Thanks for sharing the "water" message. I remember him saying it but hadn't heard it for awhile. He was such a neat person - I was so sad when I read about his passing. I just feel so Blessed to be a small part of your world.
Love you sweet Rose,

Rose - The Center of My Self said...

Thank you for your thoughtful comments, Debra, Stacy, Lori and Shell!

Dear Laura - Indeed, we are all born of the same essence. Joyful to share this journey with you!

Darla - Yogis call non-attachment "vairagya," a very freeing concept. You're so right about not needing the names; I believe in the power of words and never say "MY fibromyalgia." It's not mine and I'm not attached to it. It simply is.

Connie - I love you.

Darla said...

Wise you are, lovely Rose. (((bighug)))