Day Two, Water Week

November 10, 2008

I love water. I don’t know though that “love” is a strong enough verb for my feelings about water.

I dream of water, frequently. Big bodies of water. Magical rivers of water. Water with turtles and water with boats and flowering plants. In my dreams, I enter the water as if I am entering myself–as if we were parted and are being re-joined. A melding.

Warm water, including warm rain. But not cold rain, or the coldness of rained-upon clothing. However, frozen water is good, too, and even, steam.

I love the sounds of water, even the sounds of cold iceberg chips lapping against each other on the shore, making bell-like music.

I have been reading, “The Healing Wisdom of Africa” by Malidoma Patrice Some. The cosmology of his tribe, the Dagara, centers on a wheel of five elements: water, fire, earth, mineral, and nature. Every person embodies all the elements, but each person “embodies one of these elements as their essence . . .”

He explains, “To seek water is to seek the vitality and blossoming that comes from successful self-immersion. Water encourages a positive slow down that permits one to notice things that are usually overlooked at high speed, and for this reason water is associated with focus. The water person is slow, shows great understanding, and is eager to make things work for the greatest good. He or she perceives the world in terms of possibilities. The water person thinks of community, relationship, love, and harmony. Water is therefore also grief. Among other causes, grief arises from recognizing the loss that occurs from our failure to notice, and grief comes also from recognizing the wide gap between what is possible and the impossibility of getting there. The salted taste of tears of grief is the cleansing taste of reconciliation, of the desire to reconcile, because water cleanses and washes away the impurities of our failures. Grief is the enemy of denial.”

So last night I shed buckets of tears. When I feel into sleep I was so sad and without any imagination of my future. I felt deep grief. As Somé says,” grief arises from recognizing the loss that occurs from our failure to notice” and I feel it very fair to say that the ending of my marriage is consequent to our failure to notice (and to acknowledge).

But upon waking this morning I surprised myself with some glimmers of what might be called, hope. And in reading Somé again, and in embarking on today’s exercise in “Soul Coaching”, I feel more confident that my hopeful feelings are not just a passing whim.

Today in “Soul Coaching” was about taking a look at the meaning we give to our lives, to our experiences. This is an invitation to re-define that which troubles and displeases us.

I’m a formidable believer in the power of meaning or definition. We define our experiences; our experiences do not arrive pre-defined. Our experiences have no inherent meanings; they mean nothing until we ascribe a meaning. And therefore, we can make choices about the meanings of our experiences.

Now, this is a little difficult in the face of major pieces of life unraveling. “Why me?” and “What did I do wrong” certainly leap to the forefront of questions.

But today I seek to ask instead such things as, “Where will this take me?” and “What is my path ahead?” To perceive the world in terms of possibilities.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jamie November 11, 2008 at 4:33 am

The Healing Wisdom of Africa sounds like a powerful book. It’s so awesome to have these guides/companions as we travel.

Tears as reconciliation – what a beautiful concept. Perhaps releasing your tears made room for hope. May that hope continue to grow :)

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