Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Solid, Liquid, Gas

I'm downstairs in the basement waiting for the spin cycle to end when I notice a glass of water on a short, plastic shelving unit next to the washer. The shelf is where the detergent hangs out and other laundry things that I sweep out of the washer at the end of a cycle - like pebbles, coins, hair bands, an occasional dead beetle. I'm assuming it's from my kids' pockets, but I've never asked. Who knows, maybe my husband is a closet entomologist.

So, here I am, checking out the water in the cup. It's vibrating like mad, which is cool. But then I realize that the shelf is free standing, not touching the vibrating washer. So the water in the cup is responding to the vibration of the washer through the cement floor and up the plastic shelf. I touched the shelf to feel the vibration.


I couldn't feel anything at all. But the water - so sensitive - was really vibrating.

The cycle stopped and slowly the water became calm.

Watching this unfold immediately made me think of a couple of days ago when I got a phone call from someone I let shake me up. She called to question me about a blog entry I had written. She didn't understand why I was writing about something that I had experienced a few years ago and 'passing it off' as if it had happened recently.

It's clear, when you read the entire entry, that the experience did take place in the past. But she hadn't read the entire entry.

I was ticked off. And I was short with her on the phone. And I took that short, ticked-off feeling and lovingly spread it to everyone I had contact with for the next half hour. Nice, huh?

Rather than seeing her questioning just as it was - questioning - I also added the baggage of our relationship to it, thinking "Here we go again, she's got to start off the conversation by criticizing me." "She hasn't even read the entire entry and she's complaining about it!" "Once again she's just trying to undermine something that I'm enjoying." Blah Blah Blah.

So, washer, cup of water, phone call, pissy mood. How do these possibly link up?

The caller was the washer, creating vibrations. I was the glass, allowing her vibrations to literally move me, shake me and control my flow. And each one of my negative mental responses were adding more vibration to the cup. I wasn't physically attached to the person talking to me, but I was moving to every word that was said. Just like the cup wasn't touching the washer, but it was totally reacting to it.

I realize all of this was brought forth in a weak attempt to protect my ego from shots that only exist because I have an ego! If I didn't have an ego, I probably wouldn't have even felt the vibrations, let alone reacted to them.

So, the imagery of this leads me to the stages of water - liquid, solid, gas. Liquid feels good to me - flow, allowing yourself to mold into any shape at any time. Steam - the ability to expand and connect. Steam can reach all places, it's big, expansive and connects. And ice - solid, stable, rooted.

You notice that all of these qualities are needed in taiji practice? Ice- you have to have a solid, strong foundation to your stances, a solid structure to you posture, to your intention. Liquid - you have to be relaxed and flexible to move flawlessly through postures, to allow energy to come in and to be released. Steam - to be present, expansive, connected to your opponent.

And all of the qualities are needed in life relationships too. What a great relationship if you were solid in your being, relaxed and flexible enough to accept others as they are, present and connected to those around you?

That would rock.

So thank you, caller, for giving me insight into my ego driven slosh. And I'm sorry for the short, ticked off conversation we had. I have some work to do.

And thank you washer, for reminding me that I don't always have to be water, reacting to everything.

And for clean clothes.

***Hey, if you haven't gotten the phone call yet: today is Election Day.***

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