I’ve always been drawn to the water. As a child I would spend hours gliding underneath the surface of the YMCA pool imagining I was a dolphin. I remember believing that, given the chance, I could call to the whales and they would call back. In the water, I felt I could speak a language deeper and older than my own being.
For this Cancerian, getting my body in the water is like a giant reset button. As soon as I fold myself into wild water, I come home.
In the traditional Cherokee society of these mountains, Water was the first medicine. If you are sick or ailing, ill or broken-hearted: take it to the water. If you can’t fall asleep or can’t find your way: take it to the water. If you need answers, illumination, a way back home: take it to the water.
Whenever I’ve needed to remember who I am. I take to the water.
A few years ago my friend Owen shared a bit of stream-fed wisdom with me that has never once left my mind.
It’s not about following the mainstream, it’s about following your mainstream.
What is it that flows at the center of your being?
What is the inner-source that is so essential to you that, when you align with it, you cease to have to paddle upstream?
When we find our mainstream we merge with our own wild, energy-rushed inner compass. Like raindrops headed back to the ocean, connecting into these inner streams — what it is that is essentially you — is tantamount to returning home.
Consciously or not, I think we all tend to put a good bit of pressure on ourselves to fit some channeled ideal. The many molds of what a successful caretaker, instagramer, herbalist, mother, or spiritually-minded person looks like.
Whether or not we realize it, so many of us internalize the belief that order to be ______ (fill in the blank), we must strive to align ourselves with some mythic standard.
But what if there is no mainstream? Only many streams, each one different and unique. The only path we need is the one flowing, running, tumbling with energy at the very center of our being.
Last February I was visiting Florida when I had a simply life-altering realization. For the first time in my life, I realized, that it was truly okay to be in my own world. It was okay to disconnect from outside thoughts, expectations and pressures and simply focus on connecting into my own mainstream. In fact, it was as natural as the intricate worlds of palmettos, the solitary planets of the manatees.
It wasn’t selfish. It wasn’t frivolous.
It was an act of deep reclamation both for myself and the world at large.
What is it that is dreaming at the center of your being?
This week I’m headed to Florida for a mid-winter vacation. My plan is to do nothing but decompress, float, and nourish myself from the waters of this inner spring. I can’t wait.
That same friend that opened me up to the concept of the mainstream has a saying that I sometimes repeat like a prayer:
Remember what’s true.
Return to yourself.
That’s exactly what I mean to do this week.