The gloomy clouds roll in. The mountain side is shaking with the sound of oncoming thunder.
Storms are different here. They’re not something you can shelter from, because they’re all encompassing as they envelop you in their rumbling embrace. There is nowhere to run. There is nowhere to hide. It feels like the world could be ending. If this was a movie, this is the moment when the cloudspart to reveal futuristic crafts that have travelled here from distance lands, flown by a cosmic crew.
The walk from my forest home to the retreat space where I work is short, but I find myself looking for something substantial enough to cover up. More than once, I have cloaked myself in blankets and bin bags and attempted to use the humble brolly, only to feel bogged down and damp.
This morning I gave up. Instead of trying to cover up,I took my clothes off, went outside and celebrated precipitation.
Our natural tendency is to seek out spaces where we can feel safe and dry, but when there is so much water falling from the sky, sometimes you just have to cast off your cardigan and go and dance in the rain. After all, we are waterproof. So...why not?!
“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”– Unknown
For 8 months of the year, I watch this landscape shift and transform. In early spring, you cannot hear yourself think for the sound of rushing water as it spills down the mountain side and flows downstream. Yet, by mid-summer, it dries to barely a trickle. The spring meadows, once abundant and flourishing, turn to sun-parched desertscapes where skeleton fauna hang dead in the breezeless air.
By then the mountain is silent, the valley arid and still, days sticky.
When the sky first bursts in autumn, the landscape bursts into life. The earth is suddenly electrically charged. It reminds me that even though we often get fed up with rain and resist water, life goes where water flows. It is water that keeps things constantly shifting and changing, fuelling the grand cycle of time and our evolution. The shift in seasons simply acts as Mother Nature’s evidence that change is constant.
As humans we have always had a special relationship with water. It’s been celebrated and ritualised for millennia by ancient civilisations across the ages for its ability to regenerate and renew, cleanse and heal.
“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man.” – Heraclitus
So next time you feel yourself getting in a huff under a downpour, here are some fascinating facts to help you embrace the element of water:
- We spend our formative months, just a collection of cells, floating around in embryonic fluid.
- We are composed almost completely of water, up to 60%, in fact.
- Wherever we will, whoever we are, drive far enough and we’ll find ourselves surrounded by oceans on all sides.
- Water is the regenerative energy, without it nothing would come to being or indeed survive.
- Water is the most potent of all the elements, because of its mastery over the rest (Fire, Earth, Air and Space).
- Water is cleansing and healing.
- It is used in many purification ceremonies, worldwide.
- When we drink water, it quenches our thirst.
- When it rains, it nourishes and renews all life on our planet.
- Water is closely connected to the sacred feminine. Its element embodies the qualities of intuition, love, compassion, psychic connection, empathy, nurturing, imagination and freedom.
- Water is capable of carrying emotion. In the 90’s,Dr.Emoto experiments proved water molecules responded to thoughts and words.
- We produce water when we cry, our tears heavy with emotion.
In Greek mythology, water is one of the four elements. In Ayurveda, India’s traditional medicine, it is one of the ‘Panchamahabhuta’ or Five Great Elements. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Water is one of the five elements. In Taoism, water represents intelligence, wisdom, flexibility and softness.
Lastly, water can be fluid and weak, but it can also wield incredible power. Out of all the bits mentioned above, this last one I hope we can all remember as one of the ways we can be like water. We all have our weak moments, but when nurtured and harnessed, we can be powerful enough so that instead of avoiding getting wet, we’ll have what it takes to dance in the rain.