Recently, I was taking part in a seminar on Somatic Experiencing led by Nancy Napier. During the morning, she offered us the invitation to ‘Let Water be Your Teacher in Life’. I felt myself lean into her invitation and her words have been with me for days.
I have always been drawn to working with the Elements and I know that water is a teacher of mine this year. In January, I committed to working with the word ‘flow’ and to allowing more flow in my life in all ways. Often an image of a river comes to me along with the invitation to relax into the natural flow of life. I am learning that as I relax into the flow, life carries me to exactly where I need to go. I am learning to let go of struggle and to trust that where I am is exactly where I am meant to be.
Yet, Nancy’s invitation to let water be my teacher in life has expanded my view of the word flow. I happen to live in an area that is surrounded by water. Where I go walking, I look out over the Bay of Fundy in one direction and at the Saint John River in another direction. Almost every day, I drive the bridge over the Saint John Harbour, the place where the Saint John River empties into the ocean waters of the Bay of Fundy. I love watching the movement of the tide here, it is a reminder that we live on a planet in motion.
I have spent the last few days reflecting upon my experiences with the river, the ocean and the lakes that are nearby. I have been asking myself what their movements can teach me and how I might allow my life to be more informed by the way that water expresses itself.
The first image that came to mind was of standing at the edge of the river on a very calm day. I remember looking at the water and feeling a sense of reverence for its stillness. There was barely a ripple stirring its surface and the trees along the river bank reflected in the water, creating a mirror image of themselves. That day, the water was teaching me to be still. It was teaching me to find that inner place of calm, where my thoughts are settled and everything within me reflects clarity, calm and focus.
Another image of water comes to me from the ocean. I remember standing on the beach beside a cliff, quite close to the water’s edge. With each wave that rolled in, I could feel the earth rumble under my feet and then felt a shudder when the water hit the cliff-face. The force of the water resonated through my whole being. That day, the message the water gave me was to stand close to my own power and to feel it rumble. It was a reminder to stand my ground and that a strength lives in me that is just as strong as the force of the water. I had needed that teaching that day.
Last winter, I stood at the edge of the Grand Canyon, looking down at the Colorado river and was speechless. Water helped create this magnificent crevice in the earth and had carved beautiful sculptures in the Canyon walls. That day, water was teaching me about the impact of endurance, persistence and consistency. Great works of creation take this kind of steady movement that slowly etches away at forming the project at hand.
Water does have much to teach by the way it moves. Sometimes its movement is almost imperceptible, sometimes it comes rolling and crashing in with a thunderous sound and a power that can be enlivening and refreshing. On stormy days, the ocean rolls and boils. It stirs things up and tosses them around, rearranging the face of the beach with a force that is to be respected.
One consistent thing about water is that it is ever changing.
How can water become your teacher in life? What does water reveal to you by the way it moves?
May you become curious about water each time you encounter it today. Curious about how it flows through your taps, where it comes from, how it feels when you drink it, bathe in it, or sit on the shore and observe it. May you let water speak to you and become your teacher.