“Like water, we are truest to our nature when in repose. “
What a metaphor! Our lives as water, deep pools of tranquility, sparkling in sunlight, frothing over rocks. How fluid – a dance of life. What depth!
From my journal, scribbled (or rather pecked out with one finger on my iTouch) during our daughter's visit and plucked out now for re-examination. The life force as water. If I follow the metaphor, it works: the flow of life is exactly like a river, dribbling over sunlit stones in childhood, rushing past rocks in adolescence, placid pools of daily life, punctuated by sharp rocks, deep shade. And perhaps once in a lifetime, tumbling uncontrollably over falls.
I have always seen the current of life running through us all, the eternal energy, shaped individually into you and me, yet the same essence.
When I was about three, I remember my mother catching a mouse and throwing it into a bucket of water to drown. I remember it desperately swimming and my mother turning carelessly away. Now looking back it hits me that the same life force fighting for life in the pail is in each of us. We are one – and what harm I do you, I also do to myself. They say you what riles you most in another is what you can't stand in yourself.
Life flows through us, taking up our shape, then flowing back to the sea. At the end of her life, my mother wrote to me,”What is death, the loss of self – yet in a way, what a relief.” And I replied that I didn't know, “but I believe when it comes, it is so wonderful that you don't mind losing the self, with all its pettiness and fears.”
So the river works for life. Even more, if you feel the life energy in you like a stream, you can see where it sticks and snags – and the glorious moments when you are in the flow. And when you change the image, you can change your feelings. Gentled like a wary horse, smoothed, slowed, drifting, rippling, content.
I can't save that mouse, but I can honour life in every form it reveals itself. I can know that deeply I am you and you are me. The same river runs through each of us – and the way we shape our lives individually is crucially important to the river as a whole.