It was sometime in the middle of my art teaching career, there were four sixth grade girls of note. They loved art so much that they had nicknames for one another. The first three names made sense to me: Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and Michelangelo. We’d been studying those particular artists. The fourth name, however, was Bob Ross! We hadn’t talked about him in class. While Mr. Ross isn’t found in art history books, his television show did encourage many to pick up a paintbrush and even make a life path of art. I do admire this happy little tree guy with his upbeat attitude as well as his ability to bolster the self-confidence of budding artists.
Even though teaching about Bob Ross wasn’t on my list of priorities, toward the end of my career, I did show a brief video of him just because it was a fun and optimistic piece to show at the end of the year. There was one single line in this clip (see below) which had always intrigued me, “think like water.”
I decided I wanted to go explore the concept of thinking like water at a nearby hiking trail. A river winds through this nature preserve. It was quite nostalgic when my husband and I were there as we spent many peaceful afternoons on this path with our children when they were young. This seemed the best place in the world to contemplate how to think like water.
Here are ten ways I perceived we could think like water.
1. Water is necessary for life. Play an indispensable part in the lives of others.
2. Water seeks the path of least resistance. It is most natural and productive to go with the flow.
3. Water goes around obstacles, ever flowing. If, in the process, the obstruction is stationary, water wears it down. Go around barriers, wear them out, and be persistent toward your goal.
4. Water is capable of being solid, liquid or gas. Be flexible to change when given different environments.
5. Water is nurturing. Not only does it provide habitat for critters of the air, land and water, it also creates endless entertainment for humans who love water activities. Be an uplifting and supportive presence.
6. Water may be the most refreshing drink. Have a welcoming, revitalizing spirit for others.
7. Water is cleansing. Leave a place cleaner than when you arrived. Whether you are camping or shopping or anything in between, the only evidence you were there should be a tidy and clutter free space.
8. Water puts out fires. Settle disputes being cognizant of the quantity of your inner resources.
9. Pools of water contain many wonderful things at the bottom. Know that at your inner core you hold many hidden treasures.
10. Water has the capacity to match the essence of what is near. If it is a calm day, the beautiful hillsides and graceful trees reflect upon the still waters. A stormy hour is mirrored by the whip of white caps. All the while, the water remains comparatively placid in the deep. Echo the being of others back to them, allowing a calm demeanor to shine forth through your eyes.
These are my ten thoughts of how we may think like water. As our bodies are comprised of a high percentage of water, perhaps this is
food water for thought. We could each easily say, “I am water”, so join me by thinking like it, too!