| USA TODAY
Big money for Bruce Lee items at auction
Hollywood actor Bruce Lee’s famous yellow nunchucks sold for $69,000 on Thursday at an auction in Hong Kong commemorating the 40th anniversary of the martial arts legend’s death. (Dec. 5)
Many people know Bruce Lee, the iconic martial artist and instructor, or Bruce Lee, the actor. But his daughter, Shannon Lee, is introducing the world to her father’s “core philosophy of self-actualization.”
“Yes, Bruce Lee was a philosopher,” Shannon Lee quips in her new inspirational book, “Be Water, My Friend: The Teachings of Bruce Lee” (Flatiron, 240 pp.), out Tuesday. “He worked not only at sculpting his body but at shaping his mind.”
Shannon Lee considers herself the safe keeper of her father’s beloved legacy, like when she called out Bruce Lee’s “caricature” portrayal in Quentin Tarantino’s 2019 film “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” But she says her efforts to keep the “Enter the Dragon” star’s memory alive and unscathed since he died in 1973 at age 32, when she was just 4 years old, is a unique challenge.
“I don’t have many of my own stories or dazzling pieces of wisdom he passed on to me directly the way his contemporaries do,” Shannon Lee, 51, says. “And how could I explain that, despite this, I feel I know him so essentially?”
She continued: “I know his love, his energy signature. … My father shined his loving light on me, and I remember that clearly. I remember his essential nature. I remember him.”
Shannon Lee’s book is named after a saying Bruce Lee used to share:
“Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless – like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle, 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.”
The author relies on intimate anecdotes and excerpts from Lee’s personal journals to lay out an insightful guide to help readers “practice and nourish our best growth.”
“Writing the book was a journey for me,” Shannon Lee tells USA TODAY. “I felt like as I was working on the book, the book was working on me, as well.”
Here are two ways shared in the book to develop your potential, find your purpose and “become the best you” through Lee’s powerful life philosophies, his daughter says, noting they are principles that “deeply moved and healed” herself.
Have you ever heard the phrase “Go with the flow”? Water continues to flow despite any object that interferes with its path. The same principle should be applied to life. “To be like water is to adapt in response to your environment,” Shannon Lee writes.
When life throws you for a loop, respond flexibly. Remain fluid so you don’t get knocked off balance and can simply flow around any obstacle: “We learn how to accept the ever-changing nature of life and to work with rather than against it.”
The opposite of pliability is rigidity, which keeps you from learning.
“If you cannot be pliable in your thinking or your response to a situation, then you have limited your options for success, for growth and for joy,” she writes.
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Empty your cup
Lee believes everyone should liberate themselves and leave behind the burdens of one’s “preconceived opinions and conclusions” – in other words, empty your cup.
Emptiness isn’t a negative thing like one would think, Shannon Lee explains. Emptiness is a state of openness and neutrality that allows you to consider a new point of view that’s unclouded by your beliefs, judgments or preferences. “Without being open to the possibility of what there is to discover, you’ll never expand your knowledge, and your growth as a person will be stunted and slowed,” she writes.
Paired with a “human first policy,” she adds, impartiality can be beneficial to improving the current division present in our country now more than ever.
“It would be so helpful to focus on treating one another with a certain amount of care, compassion and respect for their humanity by getting away from this judgmental thinking,” Shannon Lee says.
“We are all equals. As my father says, ‘Under the sky, there’s but one family.’ All these differences we have are outward embellishments but we are all the same internally,” she adds.
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