Water, water everywhere, nor any a drop to drink! The words from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, a poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, rang loud this past week. While Coleridge’s ill-fated mariner sat in a boat on a windless ocean, dying of thirst, the citizens in parts of Gauteng were blown over by small tornadoes, flooded by raging waters but faced with no water to drink.
Persistent rain overfilled rivers and dams, overflowed stormwater drains and washed away roads. Hail flattened gardens, stipped branches bare of leaves and flowers, smashed windows, pockmarked vehicles and walls and clogged gutters. Huge underground pipes burst leaving households and businesses stranded. No water, no power, and no humour!
Looks like snow, but comes with a terrible sting
Water, water everywhere
We were caught in the icy crossfire. Our garden, Matthew’s pride and joy, lies decimated. A daily reminder of the ferocity of barely twenty minutes of pelting. We are still fixing a leaky roof that turned our sunroom into a “rain room”.
Jealous of the attention that room was getting, a toilet chose to start leaking. At each flush a dripping stream of water meandered slowly along the floor. More towels, more to be fixed. Oi Vey!
The garage door was also sulking. Fed up with the wet, it decided to work, or not work, at a whim. No real idea why. One minute the motor whirrs and the door moves, the next there is a click but no whirr. Oh dear, just another thing to worry about.
The rest of the week was like that. Little niggles, no certainty, just one uncomfortable brick of irritation on top of another. We raged, threw things occasionally and whined to the universe. We felt very sorry for ourselves, while knowing that we were by no means worse off than many others and in fact were marginally better off than most.
With all this water and water related issues there must be someone clever out there who can give us some insight into the meaning of it all - good or not so good. Any ideas would be welcome as we paddle madly to keep our heads up above the torrent.
As Robert Frost so aptly says,
“In three words I can sum up everything I have learned about life. It goes on…”
Then two conversations with two special people put a hold on our self pity waterfall and reframed our view (although were not forthcoming with meanings and metaphors). Chantal had the one conversation while having a picnic under trees next to a river out in the countryside. A river that would burst its banks the very next day and flood the surrounding area.
“How have you coped over these difficult months?” Chantal asked, “You not only have the challenge of generating income like we do, but you also have your physical challenge with your knee.”
“My spirituality gets me through,” the special person replied, “I keep on coming back to the reminder that there is a reason for all of this,” She waved at her leg. “I just need to get out of my way and go with the flow, as difficult as it is sometimes.”
“I lost my faith. I have been very angry. I have felt let down and I have become rather discouraged,” said Chantal, “I guess, though, it’s about not fighting it. Not resisting what is.”
It was a good afternoon of talking and listening. Chantal felt heard and held and drove home through rush hour and too many traffic lights turned four-way stops but there was no more resentment. No more bitterness.
Pretty but destructive.
Welcome the water
The other conversation was with another dear person. Also deeply spiritual and delightfully accepting of life and its multi-madness. We told him of the water pouring down the walls and our rush to move carpets out of the way to throw down towels and buckets to stem the tide.
“I wonder how you could have welcomed the water? If it wanted to come in, let it.” he said with no judgement or sarcasm.
Matthew looked pensive. “What is coming up for me’, he said, “Is our principle ‘Accept and say yes’.” He went on, “By inviting or welcoming the water in, it seems as if you are saying ‘yes’ to the experience, rather than resisting it. I guess the challenge is to find the edge of where you are able to say yes to the experience and ensure that your needs are met and this talks to having effective boundaries.”
We have another principle that says: “Accept what is”. We had been so focused on our troubles that we had forgotten about it. Granted it is not always easy to accept. It takes some resolve to have faith in this journey that we have been on. To believe that we will get a break. Some time.
Accepting and saying yes to the experience is not always easy!
Yes to the experience
In the meantime it helps nobody to collapse in a heap of self pity and fed upness. When another madperson drives through a stop street as if stopping was a mere suggestion not a rule, and the wall remains wet with an unresolved leak and we wake up and go to sleep with no power and sort of fumble about in between hopeful of some electricity, we remind ourselves and each other that we are being asked to accept. Accept what is as well as accept and say Yes! to the experience.
Accepting does not mean that we are floppy and helpless and don’t do anything. We do take action, where we can, that is the boundary bit, but in a way that is more accommodating of the situation and less resistant and rageful. Such a useful lesson to relearn right now with the festive season around the corner and the call for goodwill to all.
What is it that you have been resisting? What is it that you can let go of and accept while acknowledging that it is challenging? What experience is asking you to accept and say Yes to?
Until next time.
Yours in feeling,
Chantal & Matthew
About the author
5th Place offers specialised psychological services in the form of coaching and therapy for immediate relief from stress, anxiety, & other mental health challenges. It works fast, deep and quick. For individuals and groups, children, teens and adults.