Mind Like Water – Mastering Overwhelm


Heather Edwards Psychotherapist & CoachRaise your hand if you’re feeling overwhelmed.  Whether work, family, charity, your creative mind, or any other plethora of possibilities are pulling at your heart and psyche – overwhelm threatens your ability to give, forgive, focus, and be truly present.

Maybe your inner chatter is telling you things should be different, you could be better, and wondering ‘why bother’ because it seems too hard to be the way you want to be, and feel the way you want to feel.

Life is tough. Truth.

Behold. It’s time to wake up. Step up. Let go. Be here now.

The Taoist practice of “mind like water” is the embodiment of letting go. It is an open awareness, acceptance, and presence in the only moment in time that currently exists – this moment.  The here and now.

Water does not stress, wish, or believe things should or could be different. It doesn’t expect the universe to take care of things for it. There is no magic. There is no right or wrong, good or bad, competition nor comparison.  There is only what is in this moment. Simply notice it.

Look around your room. The one you’re in right now. Go ahead. Breathe. Feel the breath entering and leaving your body. Truly experience the details of your environment. It’s beauty. It’s mess. No judgement. No wishing.

Hear, smell, taste, touch, see this moment.  Engage your senses in it, for now. It awakens, grounds, centers you. It quiets the critic. Revel in the sensations the temple of your body provides.

Water flows freely through and around rocks, trees, and leaves in its path. They are not obstacles, roadblocks, nor naysayers to its purpose and intention. They simply are.

The water moves, harmonizes, acclimates. Like a crook in a stream, a waterfall off a cliff, or the rapids on a river it tunes into the challenges, and persists through seeming adversity.

Water responds to its environment, not overreacting or under reacting. It follows the path of least resistance and eventually reaches the basin, ocean, or lake – it’s destination. It’s intention manifested in serenity and fervor.

We all need to do the same – for our hearts, minds, and psyche – collectively and individually. Flow. Adapt. Change. Trust. Acclimate. Adjust. Let go of expectations. Move with the moment.

“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.” – Bruce Lee

Be the water. Trust that you will reach your destination with flexibility, fluidity, and purpose. Embrace this moment, whatever it brings you. In open awareness, you can respond in a way that yields the best possible results.

The path may look different than what you expect. Be okay with that.  Be engaged.  Be mindful. When you respond to the inevitable snafus of life and purpose, you will successfully, mindfully, and heart-fully master them.


About Heather Edwards

Heather Edwards is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Board Certified Coach, & National Certified Counselor. She is a frequent contributor to Psychology Today. She provides individual psychotherapy and couples counseling, corporate and life coaching.

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