Letting go in relationship with Water
At the spring equinox in March, with the length of the day being equal to the length of the night, we are on the tipping point before the days begin to lengthen. In this post I want to share a little about my imaginative experience of the water element, which is often associated with in-between (or liminal) spaces.
One way that the water element has been very present for me recently has been in my creative writing practice. Both collections of short stories I’ve written have drawn me into water-based landscapes, such as the wide open ocean, or the not-quite-water but not-quite-land zone of the marshes.
The process of spending time imaginatively in these watery places has helped me to explore something about the importance of fluidity, of not trying to pin things down or put labels on an experience, on myself or on another person. I’m currently taking this forward as a practice, to challenge my habit of finding and using a label to give myself the comfort of an unnecessary sense of ‘knowing’, the belief that if I can explain something, I’m in control. This is encouraging me to meet experiences and people (including myself) as they are in this moment, not as I expect them to be.
The other way I’m in relationship with the water element is through an imaginative meditation practice that I tend to do at least once a month. For this practice, I imagine I’m in a warm healing pool, and it tends to unfold in three stages. First there is a ‘letting go’ phase, where the water takes away any energy I’m ready to release, which flows out into a stream or waterfall that takes the energy so it can be used elsewhere. Then there is a pause in-between, when I’m held in an ‘empty’ state, free from what I’ve let go of (including identity and labels!). Then there is a ‘taking-in’ stage, where a fresh flow of water fills me with new energy.
I find this practice to be very regenerative, and I sometimes lie down with extra blankets if I want the somatic* benefits of feeling physically soothed. I realise this particular imagery wouldn’t feel comfortable for everyone, so if you want to adapt it in your own practice, please do so in a way that feels appealing and supportive for you personally.
Here are some other ways to bring a connection with the water element into your day:
A warm bath or shower can be experienced as a cleansing and healing ritual.
Spending time near a flowing river or a still pond can bring a feeling of regulation.
Radical gratitude can be practised whenever you drink a glass of water, or wash your hands.
If you want to explore further…
*I wrote a little about somatic practice in Relaxing as Letting Go
One of the collections of stories I mentioned, called The Girl Who Survived was published by Retreat West (under my pen name for fiction, Dawn Siofra North)
My video series on One Minute Mindfulness includes this one introducing practices that help create a balanced flow of energy.