"all I really needed in life were good shoes, a loyal stick, and pure water"
There are at least two reasons why I love Shirley's conclusion in The Camino that "all I really needed in life were good shoes, a loyal stick, and pure water." First, the reference to the essential nature of water, which I'll return to in a moment. And second, two very important women in my life (my partner and my best friend who suddenly died in a freak accident a few years ago) have made similarly bold statements: (1) when my partner and I came out of the Yosemite wilderness after 3 nights of backpacking, she concluded that "all I really need in life is what's in this backpack." It was an astonishing statement to hear in general and to hear from her as I could see the layers of unnecessary clutter melting off of her before my very eyes; and, (2) my Friend often made the following statement after hiking in her beloved Smoky Mnts, "After a long hike, there's nothing like soft shoes, cold beer, and warm corn muffins waiting in the car." Perhaps there is something about walking and repeatedly placing your feet upon sacred ground--the Camino, Yosemite, the Smokies--in a moving meditation that brings you to the astonishingly simple epiphany that we need so very little to find freedom?
Now about that water . . . Joanne, I love your ponderings on why humans have such a primordial connection to water. I think we would all agree that there is something not only life sustaining about water, which is undeniable, but also something ancient we've forgotten and are trying desperately to rediscover. Before we come into this life, we are surrounded by water in the womb; when we are born, we are probably 75% water; as adults, our bodies are still 50-65% water; the planet we live on is a veritable waterworld of almost 70% water; our religions are all steeped in mythology and symbolism of sacred waters (baptisms, for example); literature is full of water imagery usually as a symbol of cleansing or rebirth, but also death and destruction (Shiva?); water gives life, but also takes life (Hurricane Katrina and recent Asian tsunamis); many have past life recollections of water destroying Lemuria and Atlantis (Shirley recalls such moments in The Camino) . . .
I love the part in The Camino where Shirley describes her past life in Lemuria where she agreed to undergo sexual division by first giving birth to her other half while absolutely surrounded by an amber (I think that was the color) liquid. Similarly, once the division began, she and her partner remained completely engulfed in the amber liquid during the division and then later during their sexual reunion. The liquid seemed to create some sort of life-producing protective holding space. An unbelievably amazing and beautiful moment in the book, I thought.
I am curious to get others' perspectives on water in general and, also specifically, do any of you have past life memories involving water?
Namaste from my last day in the Las Vegas desert . . .
"I wasn't going to spend my life doing what had already been done." - Georgia O'Keeffe
"What will be wants
to push through your fingers.
The light you seek hides
in your belly."
- "The Head of the Year," Marge Piercy