Embrace challenges and ‘flow like water’

By Michele Zirkle Marcum - Guest Columnist

Editor’s Note: Listen to the audio version of this column.

Water is a master transformative creature and a sneaky one I try to emulate.

I didn’t always utilize its power, but I did gravitate to large bodies of it when I needed to ponder where my life was heading or to make one of those life-altering decisions we all encounter. I’d pull into my favorite spot under the tree at the levy, and as I watched the water weave around the banks of the Ohio, my jagged mind was soothed. It was as if the flowing river said, “Follow me. Keep moving.” And I did.

I kept moving and making decisions even though those choices often provoked an uncomfortable change. But I preferred feeling out of my comfort zone to drowning in a stagnant pond. The mantra, “Flow like water,” still reminds me to embrace challenges.

Imagine you could be water and change forms to suit your circumstances. Maybe you’re in a heated argument with a colleague and you morph into a refreshing shower that cools you both off. Or, say, you freeze like an ice cube when you see that person in the store that you really want to avoid and they actually look right past you, not noticing your stiff shape.

Or, what if when you’re locked out of your house, you could seep around the edge as water could and mold yourself into a set of frozen fingers that unlatch the lock? Even more fantastic, what if you could unlock all the figurative doors of your life that seem inaccessible by shape-shifting like water does.

Sure it sounds fanciful to want to shape-shift — to become a more pliable form to suit our needs, but life calls for innovation, for change.

By shape-shifting, we can overcome our obstacles that appear like a Sphinx at the gate who insists we answer the riddle correctly before getting inside the walls housing our desires. Often the riddle comes in the form of limitations we perceive. We tell ourselves we can’t secure a job in a field for which we have no formal education even when we’re naturally gifted in the area. We condemn our bodies — wanting to be thicker here or thinner there, not appreciating our mobility or the breath of divinity available with our every inhale. We place our heart on hold fearing that because we loved once, subsequent relationships will also fail, hurting us in the process.

But life is a process — one of busting out of old patterns, some established by us, some by others. Our quest is to adjust our perception as we would a pair of glasses we’ve outgrown. Our perception must shift before we can manifest visible changes.

What if, during the shift, we would imagine ourselves as an endlessly changing source of water — water that morphs into whatever it needs to be to move our mountains like a storm erodes the hillside. In order to outsmart the Sphinx, you may have to flood the gates or jump into a cloud and pour yourself inside the fort as rain.

Whatever you do, remember you have various forms from which to choose. So seep inside the enclosed space that holds your desires captive or drizzle through the cracks of an established foundation. You may just be a molecule away from answering the riddle you’re trying to solve.


By Michele Zirkle Marcum

Guest Columnist

Michele Zirkle Marcum is a native of Meigs County and an author. Her column appears each Tuesday.

Michele Zirkle Marcum is a native of Meigs County and an author. Her column appears each Tuesday.