I sat at the foot of a waterfall this week. I watched as the water so gracefully flowed from the top and how it crashed with great strength over the top of the rocks at its base. I marveled at the creation that did what it was created to do. I was taken aback by how water could be so many different things all in one place. It surrendered effortlessly to its path over a cliff into a free-fall. It thundered onto enormous rock with such force that it molded that rock to its own flow and made rough places smooth. It trickled and bubbled with enthusiasm as it flowed down through the water pools and then flowed gently and tranquilly through the creek bed. One element had so many possibilities and took on so many different forms. It could be dangerous, reckless, overpowering and also gentle, soft and life giving.
It kind of reminded me of humanity and even as it was able to reflect back my image, it reflected back to me my essence. We need to be like the waterfall and retain all our forms and the strengths within those forms. The water doesn’t apologise for the force it falls over those rocks with, nor does it pretend to be a rapid as it bubbles and trickles further down the creek ever so gently. It is as it needs to be in the different places it finds itself. It doesn’t attempt to split itself as either this or that, it owns its duality as both/and. It’s a great picture of our nature and the freedom to be ourselves in all our forms.
As I was trekking down through the wet rainforest to the waterfall with my kids, I heard my daughter trip over behind me as we walked. Without thinking I grounded my weight through my feet and flung both arms out either side of me to brace her fall from going beyond me and down the steep slope any further. She regained her footing without careering into me and everyone had a good laugh at what is now dubbed as the ‘mum arms’. My kids giggled as they recalled times where my ‘mum arms’ fling out as reflex and protection and I had to giggle too as it just happens quite involuntarily! As a Mum, I know I can be fiercely protective and strong in my advocacy for my children. You mess with them, you’ll find the waterfall onto the rocks Mum! Almost without taking a breath, I can be the calming and comforting Mum like the gentle flow down the creek bed Mum. Both are natural. Both are normal. Both are facets of the same element. Give yourself permission to be many things all rolled into one. Be fully the wonder that you are.
I find in life that the world really wants to assign you a box or a label. They’re ok with whichever version of you they first discover, but they’d really like to pop you in that pigeon hole – assign you to your place and expect you to remain there indefinitely. Please don’t stay there! It is such a limiting habit and I think we’re all guilty of it. I’m not sure if it comes from the pace of life where we feel the need to quickly assign people a category or personality type or if we’re just lazy in our curiosity and understanding of others. Let’s be people though who give permission to others to be who they are; in full rainbow. Let’s even be people who take it a step further and encourage those around us to show off their full spectrum of wonder. There are some new facets out there if we are willing to discover them!
One of the qualities of water I love is its freedom to be paradoxical. It exists in three different states; liquid, solid and gas. It sustains life but can also extinguish it. It falls after a drought and refreshes and brings life. It floods and brings destruction and death. It can be warm in a bath and relax your entire body, it can be icy and reduce inflammation to bring healing. It can run over a rock once and never leave a mark, but if it continues to flow over a rock it can shape, mold and even break it down. You too can be all those things. You can bring your strength through surrendering to a free-fall of faith. You can bring your strength of consistency and wear a track that needs to be made so others can follow in it. You can bring your strength to pound and smash things that need to be moved, changed or broken down. You can bring your strength of refreshing others bringing healing and comfort. You can bring your strength to bubble and brighten the world about you. You can bring your strength to be all of the above and more… you contain the wonder of the waterfall.