Tuesday, May 18, 2010

W is for Water

The spring rain has given itself to our studies this week.  We're working on the letter W and looking deeply at water.  Yesterday we took a long walk in the rain and collected drops to add to a pretty bottle we're displaying on our nature table. 

Water moves in a great cycle, evaporating from the surface of the ocean, forming clouds and producing rain.  Our feelings are often represented by images of water.  We feel "bathed in love" and experience "waves of emotion."  Water rolls in waves and scientists were astounded when they discovered the wave–particle duality of matter.

Water represents seventy percent of the earth's surface and seventy percent of our physical bodies. Our life began in water... in the gentle rocking waves of our mother's womb -- and it is from water that the first life on earth emerged.  In the Tao Te Ching, we see water as a great teacher... “Nothing in the world is more flexible and yielding than water. Yet when it attacks the firm and the strong, none can withstand it, because they have no way to change it. So the flexible overcome the adamant, the yielding overcome the forceful. Everyone knows this, but no one can do it.” 

American author and poet Henry David Thoreau said, “Water is the only drink for a wise man."  Yet, despite water's essentially for survival, it has become the victim of indifference.  The average individual daily consumption of water in America is 159 gallons, while more than half the world's population lives on only 25 gallons.  Eighty percent of our water bottles end up in landfills - many of them in India - and every minute, one person in India dies of a water related disease. (from GOODMagazine.com) What's more, one sixth of the world's population does not have safe drinking water. (from: http://www.mindfully.org/Sustainability/Americans-Consume-24percent.htm).

What can we do?  We can talk to our children about water.  Their awareness is always the first seed of change.  We can also model healthy habits...

On a recent trip to Green Gulch Farm and Zen Center,a woman in the restroom caught my daughter's eye.  She was at the sink basin and, after wetting her hands, turned the faucet off to lather rather than letting it run.  Without a word, I watched my little one step up to the sink, turn on the water, wet her hands, and then turn it off again.  Our actions speak more loudly than our words and our kids are always watching.  

The next time it rains, try siting quietly with your child and listening.  Listen for the sounds of the drops on the roof, the rustling of the rain in the trees.  Sit and breathe and listen.  Then turn your palms upwards - as if the rain were falling gently into your hands.  Try sending your awareness down to the center of your hands and sensing your body from within.  Can you feel the gentle patter of the raindrops? 

We'll continue looking deeply at water throughout the week... thanking each drop that falls from the sky.  Then, this weekend, we're taking a mini-vacation to the ocean.  Standing in awe of the ocean's vastness is always a reminder that the water flowing on earth is the same water flowing in our own bodies. When we see that the four elements of the cosmos are the same elements in our body, we learn to honor both.
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