The Wisdom of Water


When I first began learning Watsu and Waterdance in 2000, I felt like I knew it already. I had an advantage over everyone in the class because I began in the womb as one cell, then we split into two, Gabrielle and I, and for nine months we grew, hugged, rolled, tumbled, turned, kissed, and then entered this world together. I already knew what being with, breathing with, and holding someone in the water was all about. I was at home when I entered that pool on the first day of class. What I didn’t know was how much it would change my life. I didn’t know the depth or magnitude of the love affair I was entering into that day. I didn’t know how much my heart would be blown wide open or how much I would be humbled by the grace of the water. I did not know my New York attitude would slip away in an instant when I heard the sounds of my own heartbeat while I was under the water. I didn’t know how deeply or intimately I would meet people. I didn’t know how simply paying attention, breathing with someone, and being with them in the water could change their lives forever. I didn’t know I was going to give Simone the birth experience she didn’t have. She was cut out of her mother’s belly at five months and laid in an incubator for another two. I didn’t know as I gently rolled her under the water, upside down in an embryo 32 years later, swaying her to and fro, that she was back in the womb. I didn’t know that as I slowly lifted her up to my chest to breathe again, my arms wrapped around her, she was going to take her very first breath, again. I didn’t know the tears she would shed that day in my arms. I didn’t know how much she would thank me for giving her something she’d wanted her entire life. I didn’t know how humble and awed I would feel, nor did I know how incapable I would feel trying to explain the magic that happens in the water.
What I did know was that being in warm water was calming and soothing to my nervous system. I knew it gave me a sense of freedom that is impossible to get on land. I knew my body relaxed when surrounded by warm water, and being stretched, cradled, rocked, massaged and touched always feels good. I knew that when I received a Waterdance session for the first time I was in ecstasy. I knew the enthusiasm I had when I took a breath and was gently guided under the water and turned and rolled and swooshed around like a dolphin that I had found something wondrously magical and fun. I breeched the water like a whale shouting out with glee, ‘this is awesome!’ I was in class the following week.
We all begin in our mother’s womb, every single one of us on this planet, developing in her warm waters until it is our time to enter this world. Water gives rise to the creativity of life and has been one of my greatest teachers. She has taught me to follow the tides of my life, to recede when I need to and to flow forward when the time is right. From the water I have learned to appreciate the preciousness of my own breath, to feel the depths of my grief, to revel in my joy, to understand there are an infinite realm of possibilities just waiting to help move me through this life, and to keep broadening my awareness and opening my heart to what gives my life meaning. The water, Watsu, and Waterdance, continue to teach me about this dance between life and death, between giver and receiver, breather and breathed, within an ever-deepening pool of grace, wisdom, and love. I am forever touched by the depth and mystery of the water.

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