I’ve been a fan of Henry Rollins since his days in Black Flag, and was introduced to his storytelling and spoken word albums through a friend. He often speaks with a caustic, dry wit riddled with sarcasm and hostility, but he has a natural knack for telling an entertaining and funny story. Many of his tales revolve around his touring experiences with Black Flag and Rollins Band. On one of his many overseas adventures, he explains how he took a poorly translated sign in a hotel room which was meant to communicate that the water was safe to drink and made it into a very simple reminder to just go with the flow.
I first heard this many years ago and thought it was a nifty expression, but didn’t know just how relevant it would become for me as I got older. As I began to unpack and leave aside a lot of stress in my life, it became more and more of a motto of sorts. When I saw a quote by Lao Tzu about water, it made even more sense.
In other words… be drinkable. Be like water.
In my job I have to work with clients who lack the impulse control and basic awareness of danger. Things we take for granted, like walking out into the street, or grabbing something out if the hands of a complete stranger. I’ve seen other staff members flustered by this. Hell, I’ve been flustered by it, but more and more, the solution is evident… be drinkable.
I have to roll with whatever they throw at me and while I can redirect or anticipate what they might do and avoid it, sometimes I have to readjust my actions and go wherever the flow of the moment takes me.
My job is an everyday exercise in mindfulness.
I’m very thankful for that.