Reflections and Shadows

In response to “Ice, Water, Steam.” challenge.

Allan Watts says:
“To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don’t grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float.

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Water morphs into an almost unlimited number of forms – physical, spiritual, emotional and in the imagination. Ice, snow, rain, oceans, lakes, creeks, rivers, hot springs, geysers, steam vents, steam baths. It boils, it evaporates, it flows, it sublimates.  It is pulled by the moon. It is a shape shifter; solid, liquid and gas. It reflects, it sparkles, it ties to our emotions. It is one of the four sacred elements; earth, air, fire and water. We cannot live without it. It flows through the veins of Mother Earth, sustaining all it touches. It is the lifeblood of the planet. It is essential and magical.

Have you ever cross – country skied or been snow shoeing in the moonlight? Diamonds are everywhere in the silence. I see diamonds and colored jewels, as the snow reflects the sun today.  Sometimes when the sun angle is just right, and the shadows are long, I see opals. They nestle by shadows. The snow crystals have to be tall in order to see them. The sun refracts through from behind them, instead of reflecting on top. The colors seem like they are hovering above the snow, like an aura. I wish I could capture them with my camera, but alas, the frame just looks like a patch of generic, white snow.

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Icicles, flowing water and bubbles. Poof! The bubbles pop, evaporating into the air that I feel on my face. The air delights in the happy energy of negative ions.

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Snow doesn’t always melt and evaporate. It can sublimate, or skip the melting part and go directly to gas. This ice sculpture is a result of this. I see an eagle drinking from the creek. Do you see it? Let your imagination wander.
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I reflect on water as often as I can. The gurgling, tinkling, roaring, whispering, giggling sounds – taking my thoughts deeper and deeper, as my heart opens wider and wider with gratitude for the privilege of being there. As I ponder and dream, I put energy and vision together. My thoughts drift. Sometimes I let them go. Sometimes a more disciplined concentration is called for. I see the face of the Universe reflected back to me.

As you gaze into a pool, are you reflecting or are you the reflection? Are you looking into a mirror or through it? Do you see the patterns on the water’s surface or do you miss them?

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We all see the world differently. The outer world is a reflection of our inner reality.  We are presented with situations throughout our lives that make us face up to, deal with and heal our issues on ever deepening levels of truth. Part of that is embracing the shadow parts of ourselves, of which we may not be particularly proud.

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Ice covered by snow, shadowed by last season’s cattails.

It is important to be mindful, and to have compassion and acceptance for the inner child, and all the ages we have been, and the experiences that each age has been through – from the darkest shadows to the heights of exhilaration. What is it like for you to give loving support as an adult to that beloved inner child? And how does it feel for her/him to accept it?

We see the world through the filter of our own experiences – much of which is subconscious and formed before we had words. So our world reflects all that back to us, like looking in a mirror.

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My inner child delights in the exploration of the landscape, while my Higher Self sees meaning and metaphor in everything.

I may feel frustrated or angry at times.  I throw a large rock into the stream. Splash! The water carries the negativity away. I may be particularly grateful about something. I toss a small, lovely stone upstream in thanks. I step over stones as I cross the creek, a threshold into my future.

Water likes to meander. It will do it if given half a chance.  I am like water that way.  I love to meander my way through a day, with no particular goal in mind, writing and taking pictures. My husband, a wildlife biologist, helps streams meander again that have been beaten down or straightened for a number of human caused reasons. He created a process called Induced Meandering to restore the natural meander pattern to a creek that has been hurt.

Is there a way in which you have maybe been beaten down or straightened into a form that doesn’t fit who you are? What healing needs to take place to flow back into who you really are; a spiritual being, having a human experience?

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Emotions and water are closely related. After the loss of a love one, the waves of grief are tidal for a long time, then swells of sadness, laced with gratitude for the love wash over. Then the tidal waves again, then being caught in the breakers; then lesser swells, and swells again until finally, over time, the memories lap around our hearts bringing gentle, sad smiles.

The moon pulls the tides, as it does our own inner tides and tears.

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I have seen people rage like hurricanes, weep like monsoons, cry tears of joy like rainbows, become serene and peaceful as a still lake, laugh like a waterfall or a stream over stones, lose their balance like being sucked into a whirlpool, feel fear and anxiety like a riptide, become moody like a cloudy day or deeper like a thunder storm. We have a relationship with water and it connects us. We are but a drop of water in a huge sea. We are all one.

A heron has its feet planted firmly in the soil beneath the creek, its wings ready to take it to the heights. A reminder to stay grounded, through our emotions that can feel overwhelming. After the healing, we can fly above.

Water can promote our imagination. This is a picture of mud washed down from a beaver dam stopped by some ice just under the water. What my imagination sees is a beaver hugging a white whale. My inner child loves it when I let my imagination take her wherever she wants to go.

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Here is my dog, Mattie, looking at her own reflection. I doubt she is reflecting on her past or future, but she is definitely having a good time in the present moment.

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The present moment is what we have, and the best way to remain in a peaceful state, is to be totally in it. She reminds me of that always.

Today, I pray for snow. A good snow pack will melt, and keep the creek running into the summer, when it will be rejuvenated by the monsoons. All the creatures large and small are dependent on it. I am grateful for water past, present and future.

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32 thoughts on “Reflections and Shadows

  1. I can totally see the beaver hugging the white whale! Mary, once again, you artistically recognize and describe the imperceptible nuances of the common experience. I am reminded of the power of water to carve rock into gorges and canyons, stunning pictures of time. Please keep writing. Your words are welcome water to parched lips.

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    • Right on, Laur, Beaury Once Again, in the exquisite photos AND the evocative words reminding us all about the magic of water, the reflections in our lives, the moon and tides and emotions that move mysteriously through the waters of our being, and the immense gifts in the practice of noticing, really Noticing, the Vast and the Minute. What a writer you are, Mary B!

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      • Thank you so much Jessica! Speaking of writing, your words are beautiful! You totally get what I try to put out there. I would love to use that whole paragraph! “Emotions that move mysteriously through the waters of our being,” and “the immense gifts in the practice of really Noticing, the Vast and Minute.” Thank you so much for your love and support. Blessings, Love and Light!

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    • Hi Debbie! Thank you for visiting my site. I see, from your site, that you are interested in the environment as well. I enjoyed reading what you have written. Thank you for your comment. I hope we will visit each others blog. The connection is nice.

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  2. “As you gaze into a pool, are you reflecting or are you the reflection? Are you looking into a mirror or through it? Do you see the patterns on the water’s surface or do you miss them?” Good questions! Love the pictures! Thanks for sharing your perspective Mary!

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    • Thanks Mike! I thought you would particularly like the one of Mattie. Do you ever stare at one place and notice, or do you prefer reaching the destination?

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  3. “My husband, a wildlife biologist, helps streams meander again that have been beaten down or straightened for a number of human caused reasons.” Stream therapy, a genuine healer!

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      • sorry Mary – not meaning to advertise my site – just that the Yellow River is a great big stream that has become a trickle and in desperate need of a River Whisperer.
        It brings me to tears every time i think about how shallow and thin it is now.
        Debbie

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      • Very sad, Debbie. It is happening all over to all rivers great and small. Here in New Mexico, most of our lakes are at about 13%, and most streams below 8,000 ft are going dry during the summer. Our creek has dried up the last 3 years, so our whole ecosystem is changing. I cry about it a lot, seeing species, who I consider family, disappearing. Right now, we have water in the creek, so I am enjoying it, but snow is ALREADY melting in JANUARY! It is hard to walk the line between trying to stay happy, and seeing all this. You
        are not advertising your site. You just feel passionate about the Yellow River. Thank you.

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      • My husband is the stream whisperer. I do therapy with people outside, and hopefully get the word out to love and honor the planet, and to be aware of what is going on. I plan to write a lot about climate change and taking care of our mother earth. Blessings to you and the Yellow River!!

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      • Thanks Mary.
        it is devasting to see – Water is the heart and soul of our planet.
        I try and focus on the positive things and now Gaia is in the process of healing herself – but still, when you see rivers run dry, species disappear….. it’s still very sad.

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      • It really is!! I try and focus on the things I can do, like educate about what I do know…but it is very little. I volunteer where I can, recycle, etc. I save tadpoles from drying puddles and put them in larger puddles, but it is easy to feel defeated by the big companies, etc, who don’t seem to care at all, and who have the power to change things on a large scale. I just have to TRUST, but it is hard. Trying to stay positive and be happy is a challenge on a daily basis. I know you understand.

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  4. MerB, I am deeply, wonderfully moved by your “mindful wanderings” writing and your husband’s work with “induced meanderings”! You are opening up worlds to me that I’ve forgotten about as we live a more urban life here in Providence. I really loved all the ways you spoke about water in this passage – and snow – for today Mother Nature is giving it to us in huge and drifting amounts! Thank you for the ways you opened my spirit up this morning. May the blessings of your gifts meander back to you! Love, Caroline

    On Sun, Jan 25, 2015 at 10:48 AM, Walking my path: Mindful wanderings

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    • Thank you Caroline! I know you are getting hammered up there. Mind sending some our way? We are in such deep drought. Thank you for the meandering blessings! I hope you can get out and play in the snow. Make snow angels! Blessings, Love and Light to year, dear Caroline.

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  5. This is the first time I have come to your blog. The photos are absolutely stunning and the poetry and imagery of your words is beautiful. I too am in New Mexico and share your concerns.

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    • Thank you! Yes, the drought is hard. New Mexico is one of 2 states that has created law that takes rights away from water ways. Wildlife and wetlands are unimportant here. Hard to believe. Any water left running in a creek is considered a waste. I am not ok with that! In what quadrant of the state do you live?

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      • Sorry, that sort of came up twice. Technology! Between Las Vegas and Mora, so we are close.

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