October 23rd, 2015


I love the water. Everything about it. Smelling the humidity in the air, seeing the mist rise in the morning, feeling the dew-wet grass on my bare feet. ~Lori Foster

Flying over the Cascade Mountains near the Columbia River in Washington I noticed a sense of calm envelope me when the ocean and delta came into view, as if I’d been holding my breath and could now exhale. The timing of this particular trip, however, was not ideal. My eighty-six year old father had just undergone hip surgery and I was feeling the tug to make a journey back to St. Louis, though my offers of help had been declined. I would also be leaving in a few weeks to hike the first leg of the Pacific Crest Trail with my Camino friend and was nursing an old whiplash injury that had flared up. Trekking to our boat in Anacortes, Washington seemed a bit foolhardy.

Yet when I woke up the first morning on the dock and watched the fishing boats glide across the glassy water, the sun illuminating their hulls, I knew I was exactly where I needed to be. My head had a laundry list of reason to stay home but my heart was clear about what it wanted. When I was a child living in the Midwest, I had the same pull towards the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. Now it is the ocean that beckons me. In the Chinese art of Feng Shui, there are five essential elements that comprise the physical world and water is one of them. It embodies fluidity, movement, change, and surrender. It moves with flexibility and seeps deep into the earth.

There is no striving with water yet over time it can produce profound changes to its environment. Wu Xing, author of The Feng Shui Workbook, describes water as having qualities of soaking and descending and being associated with peace and quiet. It also softens the fire element. Perhaps my productive and active years of having a career and raising a family (fire) are giving way to a softer element. The key with the five elements is finding a harmony among them, letting one move to the forefront then fade away as they temper one another. I’m curious why I am so drawn to water at this juncture in my life but I find the idea of being more flexible and “in the flow” so-to-speak intriguing.

Question: Which of the five elements calls to you right now? Water’s fluidity and calm, Fire’s action and inspiration, Earth’s grounding and security, Wood’s growth and power, Metal’s Inward focus and concentration?

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