I’m sitting in a gazebo, having a chat with my friend Dr. Marie Bailey. Marie is a yoga therapist, former clinical psychologist and my meditation coach. We’re talking about healing and we’re located precisely where we need to be. This gazebo sits on the St. Johns River between the water and St. Vincent’s Hospital. The tide is ebbing, the water taking the shape of the river bed, making its way to the ocean . . . the constant sculptor, slightly changing the shoreline at every moment. As a healer, she nourishes all along her way. I observe that water takes the shape and changes the shape of its container: Two of the most powerful elements of healing – empathy and change.
“… the brain and heart are composed of 73% water, and the lungs are about 83% water. The skin contains 64% water, muscles and kidneys are 79%, and even the bones are watery: 31%.” – U.S. Geological Survey
No wonder. Good to know. Right now, Marie is talking about a Kosha. In Hindu philosophy, a sheath that covers the Self. She’s talking specifically about the Pranayama Kosha, the energy body, meaning movement, motion, or vibration. Often compared to the water body, of which we are all extensions. Marie says, “Healing starts at the water body.” And it doesn’t stop there. Water makes waves.
1990: Dad and I are on a boat in the Gulf of Alaska, halibut fishing. He feels the tug on his line. Halibut are large, and flat like a flounder. At a hundred-plus feet below us, it’s a lot of work landing one, yet Dad is keen on this catch. He is perfectly present. The brain changes near the water. The frequency is closer to an alpha meditative state, relaxed, and aware. Focused and present. Once the fish is on board, I notice Dad’s breathing, the exhaustion. I see his mortality and am aware that this moment is precious.
1991: Dad has a stroke and life changes. Still charismatic, his body is giving out. After a while, he is unable to walk — on land. I take him to a local pool. In the water, he stands, tall, erect. Water lightens the load. Movement, motion, vibration, relaxed and aware. We don’t know it now, but he’s given me a gift. Dad’s quality of life is enhanced for a while until, in 2001, he passes of cancer.