The piece below is from a writing exercise I completed a couple months ago. My writing group went out to Radnor Lake, hiked a bit and then we were charged with finding a place to hunker down and get creative. Some painted, some took pictures. I wrote by the creek on a bench. That is where I found my inspiration for this….
Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each. – Henry David Thoreau
Listening to the rush of the water is soothing. Its chilly embrace washes over my spirit. Nourishing it with its restorative properties. Bathing it in its cleansing power. Awakening my soul with a gentle reminder to live fully and greet each day with renewed strength and vitality.
It reminds me of the canoeing trips of my youth. You know the ones with the church youth group that were planned from the beginning of the year. Everyone was so excited for July to come, especially if it was your first time. Or the trips with the wild and crazy friends that wanted to party more than float. Those trips were all very different primarily because of the people who accompanied you. But there was something consistent about them too. The river.
Regardless of the river you chose, you could count on it to bring you something unique around each bend. Of course this is the point right? It is about the twists and turns, the calming pools and breath-taking rapids. That is the reason we go. To experience this range of emotions from peace to surprise to fear. And regardless of how close someone came to tragedy, and there were a few close calls, we went back every year.
At least I did. Because that is the core of who I am. I am the girl that enjoys teetering on the edge. I’m not a life long thrill seeker. I’m not an outdoor adventurist. I’m not an extreme sports enthusiast. But I am the girl who has been booked and finger printed because I went a little too far. I am typically the good girl. Not gone bad, but certainly not followed the straight and narrow path either.
Maybe that is why I am so drawn to water. To its ability to pull you down to its darkest depths and fill your head only with white noise silence and the beat of your own heart until your lungs burn. And then, only when you are ready, it releases you allowing the gasp relief of fresh air and brightening stream of sunlight. It gives you back to the world in a spontaneous rebirth, a renewal ritual that you chose to invoke. Yes, that is why I am drawn to the water. Because I choose to feel those moments as a purification of the mind, body and soul.
For me water is a life source. And the river is life. And lIfe is fluid. It ebbs and flows with change and growth and love and loss. Thus the reason that healing is not linear. LIfe is not linear. It brings us a new challenge, a new opportunity and sometimes new hurts around each bend. It is always changing as we are always changing.
We are in this body of water called life, but we are also of it. Made of it. A part of it. We cannot separate ourselves from it. Because we are responsible for it too. We choose key life sources or the inputs to our life. Whether it mentally, physically, emotionally or spiritually, we feed these areas of our life with the choices we make in relationships, physical exercise, education, etc. The inputs to our life effects how we live, who we love, decisions we make, how we view ourselves and even our relationship with God. These are the internal forces that we can control. But there are external forces as well. The things we cannot control that also impact our life, but they will have either more of less of an impact depending on the inputs we have chosen.
As one could imagine it is these two sets of elements that determine our output to the world. Like tributaries that feed the river, what we bring in to our life feeds our whole being and changes us in either a positive or negative way.