Water is a wonder. It cleans, it nourishes, it entertains, it soothes, it sustains life. It is mighty, unruly, unpredictable and destructive. How can something so necessary have such opposing characteristics?
I’ll never forget the summer our crescent flooded. It was far from funny for the property management, but it was sheer entertainment to watch the party and enjoy the atmosphere. It was midnight and the water was high enough to get out floaties, swim, wade, whatever and however you wanted to participate. Kids were up and if anyone did try to sleep, well, they were probably really annoyed.
As an avid people watcher, it was certainly amusing to see how everyone handled the mess. In some strange way, it brought our little community closer together. It was a moment in time none of us will ever forget. The cameras were clicking (wish I had taken some pics), laughter could be heard everywhere, people spoke to neighbours they’d never met or interacted with. It was simply fun.
This past weekend, I experienced my 4th annual whitewater rafting trip initiated by my good friend, Gillian, along with another friend who was a newbie at the whole rafting thing. The wind was horrid while we signed our waivers, got our instructions and changed into our gear. Early morning + wind = yuck! When we got to the river and split into our groups and got in the rafts, the weather was supreme. High and fast, the water was perfect for getting in some amazing white water moments. Sitting in the front of the boat afforded me the pure pleasure of feeling the ‘refreshing’ waves first, dipping under and having them rush over me. Freezing would be more accurate, but our guides preferred the lesser of the two word choices. We got to cliff jump – something scary but exciting – and all of us at least jumped the smaller cliff. I, unfortunately, entered the water with my mouth open. Smart, huh?! That particular method of drinking water – not cool – breathtaking, maybe.
This summer we’ve heard about non-stop floods across North America, homes torn apart and families severely impacted. The power of water has changed their lives forever. Rebuilding, renewing, and recreating are what these people face. Their view on water may not be all that positive at the moment. At the same time they were facing destruction, they also had to rely on water for sustenance and nourishment. How conflicting is that?
What is my point? The opposing nature of water reminds me of the inner conflict we as individuals face on a daily basis. Okay, I’ll speak for myself – the conflict I face on a daily basis. Every day I’m aware that the choices I make, the words I speak, can impact those around me for good – or not so much. I listen to leaders encourage me to let go of the past, to live in the moment, to plan for the future. Inside I feel guilty for the things I have or haven’t done, I’m excited about the things I’m going to do, and in the meantime my brain tries to sort out the whole ‘you are what you think’.
Taking the bad and turning it into good, finding a way to make the most of it as we did with the flood in our crescent, is imperative to our mental health. We inherently need to remind ourselves on a consistent basis that the more we choose to think about what is good, what is profitable and what we’re grateful for, the less the inner conflict will surface.
Accept that opposing characteristics exist in our lives. Let those characteristics propel us forward and not backward. Ride the wave, let the extraordinary power of water teach us a life lesson.
Food for Thought
“Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another paradox: what is soft is strong.” Lao-Tzu