Exploring the Elements: Water
My Water Relationship
I have written before about my fears of water and how my time in Vasiliki always provides healing for this relationship. It is rational to dislike deep waters and many people have fears of water. Mine was from a near drowning experience in Southern France at around 10-11 years old when playing in the Atlantic Oceans waves until I went to Vasiliki at 31.
However, I loved living near water and a huge part of my healing were my meditation practices where I float into deep ocean waters for sensory deprivation. This practice built a new ability to connect to my meditative calm state when I am faced with those fears about water.
Learning to stand-up paddleboard, surf, sail, snorkel are stages in facing this fear. Where I can bring my meditations to life and truly practice finding my presence in the moment of fear.
But this is just my ego and my fears. If I approach with baby steps, understand the tools and water then I can acknowledge and respect the dangers. I can remain present to these risks and respond with calm moment action as appropriate. I am determined to continue on this path.
Beyond the fears and thrills of water is the energetic discoveries. I instinctively found that washing thoroughly after I give a massage cleanses me of the other person's energy and provide me with a reset, especially the sea is very effective.
When I want to wash away or find a feeling of fluid ease with something that bothers me a gentle swim connects the fluid movement within my body to the fluidity of the water, and I can shift my perspective and feelings.
Insomnia and fatigue issues from my head injury meant that my TCM doctor would tell me that I had excess ‘damp’ in my body in the UK. This meant that I had stagnant water in my energy system. He encouraged me to have a warming ‘stew’ diet of yams and barley with only warm water. Every night I was to have a very hot foot bath and then massage the souls of my feet to help manage my migraines and anxiety.
Winter season is associated with the kidneys and fear issues. The water element in traditional Chinese medicine connects water to the kidney and bladder meridians. Water governs the balance of our vital activities for growth, reproduction and development. Connected to the sense of hearing, bones, teeth, a head of hair, the nervous system and brain.
Kidneys in TCM are an entire system that paired with the bladder manages the entire physical and emotional person. Strong kidney energy we grow well, lucid and articulate thoughts and feelings well. Good teeth and bones, learn quickly and think clearly. Transition through life with ease and cope with stresses, often seeming wise beyond their years. Positive emotion is willpower for life with focus and direction. When weak susceptible to fear and anxiety, e.g. panic attacks.
Deficiency manifests itself physically and mentally. For example, mental or physical disabilities, sore lower back and knees, dental issues, hearing loss and pain in the foot souls. Also sexual and infertility issues can arise when water is deficient in the body.
Winter is the best time to build this energy. The following practices can help balance water energy:
- Contract the energies by going to bed earlier and waking later.
- Eat hearty, warming foods and enjoy slow cooking.
- Drink warm water to soothe & hydrate the system.
- Walking barefoot is important because the meridian is in the soul of the foot, so moving the energy is important.
Water people are often cold limbs, dislike cold drinks or food and prefer the warm weather. They are intelligent, quick-witted, gentle, frank and a good memory. Two types of water people - flowing or still. Flowing are more active and impatient whereas the calm is silent and tranquil. Often tender, uncompetitive and altruistic who are good natured. Broad-minded and tolerant who are easily trustable. Sincere philosopher on a relentless quest for truth. Brings to light that which is hidden.
In Ayurveda, the element of water provides lubrication that nourishes and provides growth in the body. It moistens, soothes, dulls and spreads energy throughout the body. Balanced water element is calm, content with a nourished and connected sense of community where things just ‘roll off your back’.
Digestively it helps the body assimilate the nutrients, especially building healthy fat for an inner layer of warmth, lubricates the joints with mucus forming substances and provides clear smooth skin. The eyes are open, and fluid movement occurs from the body.
When the body has excess water then feelings of sluggish, dullness arise that can lead to overly emotional behaviours and depression. Water dampens fire, so digestion slows and physical ailments such as yeast infections, loss of appetite or nausea arise, oedema and excess mucus sit in the body. To reduce water:
- Exercise that makes you sweat
- Twists and core warming postures to build the inner fire.
- Eat dry and light foods with ginger, black pepper, cumin, coriander and fennel to stimulate digestive fire.
- Spend time in the sun or dry climates
- Deficient water leaves you dried and inflexible in body and mind. The body is constipated and bitter, unable to connect to others. To increase water try to:
- Drink hydrating fluids like coconut milk and water
- Eat healthy fats like ghee
- Spend time with loved ones
- Do yoga nidra
- Moon bathing (sun-bathe under the moonlight)
In my shamanic trainings I was showing that water can be a healing tool that cleanses away challenges. When you place a cup of water next to your bed before you go to sleep request your intention before you go to sleep. In the night your subconscious can work out the issue so that when you wake in the morning, you drink the water and it washes through the solution. If there is no answer, then perhaps it helps you find some ease with the issue. This is one of my favourite rituals and I do it nightly, and it is wonderful to share the water with loved ones as you drink to clear energy with love. [LINK]
Water cleanses to allow for gentle movement during changes that can make them shift with greater ease. Hydration is one of the core concepts to healthy fascia in the body. Hydration is not just created through drinking water, but in fluid movement that has waves motions that repeat in a non-uniform manner. [LINK] This work for my body has been life-changing and is something I find produces profound shifts when I share my fascia release classes on retreats. The energy flowing in the fascia releases emotions stored within the connective tissue providing balance to the energy of the body and mind.
I am really looking forward to my retreat in Vasiliki in June 2019 with Karen Bennett at the country chic Tower Villas. More water fun to be had in the gentlest of ways.