I was surrounded by fluid when I was growing up. “The Glen” was hugged by the river on 3 sides, an even bigger river flowed underground, and water perpetually seeped out of the cliffs. There was a long horizontal iron pipe that stuck out from the bottom of the hill, and whenever kids were thirsty, we drank the fresh spring water that poured out of the end and continued our adult-free activities. The adults preferred it that way. They didn’t want kids coming home and tracking mud in the house unless someone was bleeding. Really, if mothers had their way, the kids would go to someone else’s house when they were bleeding. Blood is worse to clean up than muddy footprints. Don’t come home unless you need stitches.
I typed that first paragraph, then rambled in multiple unsuccessful attempts to say something happy about kids playing together, or some sort of pithy social commentary, or anything that wasn’t damned depressing. Sometimes Illustration Friday gives me a word for the week that leaves me stumped. “Fluid” gives me so many associations, I have a hard time keeping my mind on one thought long enough to say anything useful about it.
I went to a reiki group last night. This is a form of hands-on healing that was developed by a Japanese Buddhist in the early 20th century. I didn’t really have any expectations when I accepted my friend’s invitation. I have received reiki before, and found it anything from simply pleasant to really helpful. I guess a lot depends on the amount of need you have and the skill of the practitioner. At the very least, the practice definitely falls under the “Do no harm” motto of the medical profession. Last night’s session was both pleasant and helpful, which doesn’t explain at all why I’m thinking so many negative associations today with “fluid”.
Hands-on healing is practiced by a lot of different people throughout the world including Jesus, who said anything he could do, we can do. I had a healing by a Native American shaman once. An interesting thing about that experience was when I called him about week later to say I felt horrible. The shaman laughed and said “Yeah, sometimes that happens”. Well, that’s helpful! I thought you’re supposed to feel better after getting “healed”? After the shaman finished laughing at my miseries, he said that we carry a lot of negative things in our bodies. By removing that negativity, we leave a void. We need to fill that void with something better. He suggested visualizing a positive light. I started feeling better, and in the end, much better than before the healing. Maybe something like that’s going on after my reiki session?
Sometimes I envision myself floating on my back in the river, letting the water slip around me and gently pull me downstream. It’s an image that I started having when I was little, and it brings me comfort when the world seems chaotic. The flow of the water makes sense to me. The current will take me wherever I’m supposed to go. I suppose it’s my personal image of chi or the Holy Ghost, or however you want to express the order of the universe. Don’t fight the current. Maybe the reason I’m having trouble with this post is because I’ve been trying to swim upstream?
Or maybe, what I’m fighting is the old tapes in my head that say quit talking about stuff a lot of people don’t like to talk about. Don’t talk about reiki and shamanic healings or the tragic deaths of people who used to share that spring water from the iron pipe sticking out of the hill. Keep things happy and light and mainstream, and don’t make anyone feel uncomfortable. But sometimes I wonder, maybe the stuff we squash within ourselves is exactly the stuff we’re on the planet to do?