Rituals for Water
Water is a healer. It is the element that cleanses, nourishes, nurtures and purifies. I’m a big fan of putting pen to paper, and it’s not uncommon for me to write myself letters. (Just realizing how very Cher Horowitz that sounds – remember when she sent herself flowers in ‘Clueless’?) Earlier this year I wrote myself a letter about how I need more ~water~. This year in particular, my inner fire has been particularly unwieldy. Re: blog post 25.
I am predominantly a fire element, so I need a lot of water to balance me out. To me, water means forgiveness. It means fluidity, patience, strength and softness, simultaneously. All of which I was deeply in need of, and still am to some degree or another. As with everything, it changes daily.
Recently, I shared a workshop on daily rituals to cultivate and nourish the water element. Whether it’s something you love or something you’re missing, hopefully you can find a ritual that resonates with you here. You do not have to complete all these rituals in one day, or even all together. You can pick and choose the ones you like or you can do a different one each day. It’s totally up to you!
Rituals for the Water Element
If you’re looking to cultivate the water element, west is the direction of water. You can fall asleep with your head facing west, or make it the first direction you face when you wake up. Another great way to rise to cultivate water is to have a large glass of it first thing in the morning. Duh! I do this almost every morning, but when it’s done so consciously, with the purpose of cultivating more of water means to you – patience, forgiveness, etc. – it makes it that much more quenching. Mmm!
If it helps to start your day by going to the ocean or river, that is a wonderful way to cultivate water. Any moving water works, though. It can be a fountain in your home, even a running bath is a way to foster water.
One of the easiest, and best ways to cultivate almost anything, is to set the intention to do so! When you wake up, be specific. Don’t scroll through Instagram the moment you wake up. Don’t even go brush your teeth until you’ve dedicated yourself to water. This can be helpful via mantras. If water looks like patience to you, create a mantra or narrative for yourself to come back to throughout the day, before going about your day. Set yourself up for patience. Or whatever it is you’re trying to cultivate through water.
This can also be done via writing exercises. A morning gratitude journal or free writing is another great way to set yourself up for a day of purpose.
“You do not have to be a fire for every mountain blocking you.
You could be a water and soft river your way to freedom too.” – Nayyirah Waheed
Goodness, does this speak to me. I meet every obstacle ablaze. To be presented with the option to “soft river” my way to a solution instead, that’s simply revolutionary in my eyes. Cleansing is wiping your slate clean, so to say. (Which we can do at any moment, by the way.) To me, meditation is a great cleanser. When I clear my mind, I clear my day. I clear it of any prejudices, negative assumptions, even positive ones! Meditating allows me to practice Santosha. Cleansing can be a single moment to yourself or it can be a full-fledged 60 minute meditation. How you cleanse is not so important as your why.
I use Insight Timer to meditate. There are tons of guided meditations, as well as a self-timer complete with interval bells and a variety of ambient sounds. For ~water~ days, I use the self-timer with ‘Eternal Stream’ in the background.
One of my favorite ritual themes – movement.The purpose of movement as a theme is to get your body committed to the same intentions as your spirit, to get them on the same ~wavelength~ if you will. Water movement is different for everyone. For me, since water is representative of softness and slowing down, I like yin classes or tai chi. Now, I’m no expert on tai chi but the mini routine I went through during my workshop was a big hit. It went something like this:
Imagine holding all your energy in a ball in front of you. First, begin by rotating it in a clockwise motion as if around the sun. Do this until you feel complete. Next, change rotation as if circling the moon. Find stillness.
The next flow is more self-guided. Keep your ball of energy, perhaps flowing through Warrior II to Star pose, Goddess and then back to Warrior II. For me, it’s like moving through molasses. Truly a challenging and focused way to practice patience.
Next stand tall with your feet apart – they can be hips width distance or full-on Goddess. Close your eyes. Imagine your ball of energy filling up with all the negativity in your life. It can be emotions, people, situations you’re holding onto, anything. Then push it away. Slowly, yet all at once.
Finally, bring that same awareness back to your ball of energy but this time fill it with all the positive things in your life. Health, friends and family, all the things that bring you joy. Now also push it away. Is it freeing? Is it difficult?
A surprising amount of the class felt a huge sense of relief when pushing away positive things, as opposed to all the negative. I found that so interesting! That sometimes the things and people we love so much can become such a priority that we don’t realize how much energy we expend on them. Amazing.
For water, taste is the sense to fuel. According to Chinese theory, salty and dark foods are said to cultivate water. Seaweed is a great example. Black tea is a good one too, hints of rosehips and bluberry are also good for water.
Whether you decide to ingest these particular types of food and drink or not, the manner in which you eat should reflect water. For me, I see food, I eat food. It’s inhaled before I remember I wanted to take a picture of it. So, for me, nourishing myself with water as my guide, I eat mindfully. It is a slow, conscious and deliberate pace.
Sometimes even after a full day of reciting water rituals, we can still feel close to our fire; or wood or earth or air, whatever our dominant element is. It’s not abnormal or any failure on your part. It can seem discouraging no doubt, but that’s why we give ourselves the opportunity to re-ground.
For me to uproot my fire and replant water, my fire almost discourages me from it in fear of diminishing. I recognize that feeling of fear. Something that I only recently learned about myself, and have now since been trying to get my fiery side to implement, is that I view emotions as being measured by intensity. If I’m not in hysterics, is it really that funny? If I’m not completely and utterly floored, is it love? I tend to take on feelings by intensity. If I am truly sad I make sure that every ounce of my being feels it – sad music, low lights, starve myself, the whole shindig. I’m teaching myself that it doesn’t have to be that way.
Just because my focus is water, water, water, doesn’t meant that it’s always going to come to fruition. Instead of worrying about the less fluid, less patient aspects of my day, to best succeed at water, I must focus on what did go right. I don’t need to fully embody water in order to reap the benefits. The water mantra we turn to instead of honking at the idiot in traffic is a victory we need to be willing to take.
Ah, the ultimate ritual theme. Similar to re-grounding, forgiveness allows our rituals to take time. Some days will be more successful than others and that’s okay. It’s all a practice. There is no better time than right now to forgive.
Accept your day – no ifs, ands, regardless ofs, buts, nothing. Just forgive.
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If you enjoyed this condensed version of my Water Rituals workshop, let’s make a live version happen! Contact me to set up a Rituals workshop near you! <3
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