” Consider how a simple well dug in the ground can only hold as much water as the well is deep.” ~Mark Nepo~
I was talking to a friend yesterday about her land in New Mexico where she takes her grandchildren camping for weeks. I asked her if there was water there so that in the heat, the children could play and get cooled off. She said, ” Oh there is a well, so I suppose they could get in and splash around in that if they wanted to.” In my minds eye, I remembered being a child and splashing in puddles. I remembered my own children loving to step in puddles. It took so little to make them happy with the simple wonders right before them.
So often, we get lost in the petty things of life that crowd us in. WE forget the simple joys it takes to make us happy because we search for the bigger things that will make us feel complete.
I often think about this idea of leaning into the life that we have and what that means in the larger scheme of things. For me, it means that I take a really good look at what life I have and I take it apartand examine the pieces and then I put it back together and examine the whole. I think about how all the parts fit together. Do I have to make them fit or do they just fit together naturally? Am I forcing anything to to be what it isn’t? Am I asking enough or am I asking toolittle , or too much of that particular thing?
I’m a fairly deep person and often I wonder if I can even graze the bottom of what’s inside of me. I’ve allowed life, the joys, the sorrows, the challenges, the get togethers and the breakings apart to carve deep places in which, in those spaces, I’ve unearthed some great treasures I didn’t know were buried there. I’ve also found some hard and jagged edges that pricked me and made me bleed from holding them. These are the things I’ve wondered if they needed to be put back in or thrown out. They were there for a purpose and served a purpose in the demolitions that seemed to come from the outside. Would I come to find out what they were there for? Did it matter all that much? Sometimes, those jagged edges could be used as a instrument to dig deeper into who I was and what I wanted from life in the well. Was I truly living while engaging in something that wasn’t good for me? Or, was I right where I needed to be even though all that surrounded me might appear to be crumbling? I could make the choice to be buried with it or I could search for the meaning in the signposts around my well.
In Ayurvedic medicine, there are what is called ” Dosha’s”. These Dosha’s are made up of five elements: air, space, fire, earth and water. There are three ayurvedic doshas: the vata dosha is a combination of air and space, the pitta dosha is a combination of fire and water, and the kapha dosha is water and earth.
Each person is thought to be born with a combination of the these three types of doshas, with one or two dominant doshas determining our physical, mental and emotional characteristics. When there is an imbalance in one of these, the idea is to determine which blend you are and seek to bring that into balance. When I found out which dosha I was and where I was out of balance , it helped me so much to understand my life. I was trying to force things upon myself that I shouldn’t have. I was trying to love things that weren’t healthy or even reasonable to my make-up.
My particular dosha is Pitta which is a mixture of fire and water, with a second, ” Vata” which is air or wind. This made a lot of sense to me. I live in the desert but I crave the sound of water. I long to live by water, and I engage in Yoga which has so much to do with air ( breathing) and space ( largeness of life). I had very little Kapha which revealed to me that I needed to become more balanced in being “earthy” and “grounded”. My personality is such that there is always this “fire” within me about life. I live it with all that I can and those around me often tell me that they “live through me”. I’ve never thought my life was that exciting or interesting! Isn’t it amazing how we see or don’t see our own lives in perspective?
When I look at life around me , I see all this “space” (vata) and I jump in to that space with a fervor, bringing my fiery being into it. But, because I’m stronger in the fire piece, I often forget the flow and get all scattered in my zeal. I have to stop and think about allowing my whole person to be what it is, accepting the challenges, but making space for the flow of nourishment and refreshment from the water side of me. The wind in me gets going at fast speed, spreading fire everywhere, and then someone or something comes along and throws some water on the scene and it stops me in my tracks.
This is where I examine the well again. The crazy thing is, it’s when the water is thrown upon me that I realize that within my happiness , there’s also a deep ache for something more. Something that appears to be missing from my well, but is it? Or, is it there and I am just not giving space to it? If the well of my life can only hold as much water as the well is deep, am I going deep enough? Am I playing with the pieces but not getting out of the well long enough to examine the whole of it?
I’m a deeply satisfied and happy person, so thinking about what is missing isn’t easy for me when this “ache” is present. I often try to shake it off because I don’t really know what to do with it. When I am challenged to take a look at it more deeply, I find that is when my songwriting increases and I can’t stop. I write tons of songs in one sitting. They come like a fire in my soul and when I begin singing them, there I find the reason for the ache within. I begin to see how much deeper the well is than I have thought. It is also filled with water and beckons me to dive deeper. Sometimes, I have to hold my breath for longer than I think I have the capacity. So, I surface right before I discover the treasure. Oh, I SEE the treasure in the depth, but I quickly surface for air and INTEND to get back to that treasure within time, UNLESS, the fire part of me catches the wind….and off I go.
Recently I’ve been on one of those songwriting binges and penned this in the song title ” One Step Away”.
“To live deep, to live wide, to live out what’s inside Is a practice everyday…
Oh to love and be loved, and to never try to hide is to be present in every way
Just one step at a time, with an open mind, you will see with new eyes, what you’ve never seen before
Awaken…. awaken…….awaken… my child, run free
Awaken …..awaken…..awaken……just let it be
What it is…right now…today
Wont be this forever….
You’re only one Step Away.”
I’ve come to realize that we can only be where we are until we take the step or dive into the unknown and not only see what’s there, but to also see what we are really made of.
In certain Yoga poses, the tendency is to hold one’s breath because of the challenge of the pose, but thetrue need is to breathe INTO it so that we can take the pose deeper or remain longer right where we are until the breath deepens and takes us further naturally. It’s called , “going with the flow”. If we listen to our body in yoga, sometimes it will bring us out of position because we don’t like the challenge. At other times, we may hold the pose longer than we should because we DON’T listen to our body. Our hearts and minds do the same thing. Finding the wisdom and the balance means that we lean in and become present with what’s here right now and really experience what is opening within us so that we can see where we need to go next, whether it’s coming out of the pose and go into surrender, or if we need to stay put and go deeper still. The idea is to always check our alignment. That is also the key to life. How aligned are we with our true self and the values with which resonate?
So, in this Pitta space of who I am, I penned this lyric in the song, ” Deeper Still”.
“He takes me to a place where I must face my deepest need. For only in a place so far away can He succeed ,
to plant His love and faithfulness in my unconquered will, for it’s in my deepest pit I’ve learned, my God is goes deeper still.”
That’s the battle isn’t it? To know what to do with what we find in the harder questions. If we allow the moment to just be, in the stirring of the water in the well, once it stops, and everything settles that has been stirred up, we will see more clearly where we are and where we need to go. Either way, the message before us is always the same if we will allow it to come to the surface. The message still rings loud and clear that….