By Stephen Dinan, Founder of The Shift Network
During January, we spent time in Bali as part of recharging after the intensities of the Birth. I wanted to share with you a few key themes that stuck with me from our time on this gorgeous island that I believe are essential for 2013: embracing water and the plateau.
After the great excitement, marathon hours, and relentless list of things to do for of the Birth 2012, we entered a different phase – a quieter rhythm with early bedtimes, yoga, exploring, walking, cuddling, massage, good food and a more modest amount of work. The pacing was luxurious and far quieter, days blending into the next days.
Bali was at the height of its rainy season, so it was hot and humid with periodic torrential downpours. I was racking up three showers a day to keep cool and we had a beautiful water blessing ceremony with a high priestess on the island. The ubiquitous rice fields were filled with water – luscious, green and damp. We dove into the ocean, pools, and puddles. Water was everywhere. We even went whitewater rafting.
I began to think of embracing water as a spiritual practice as the necessary balancer after the fire and drive of the Birth. Birth is always intense, volcanic, and dramatic; the aftermath is much calmer but has an enormous sweetness from the quiet joy of being with the baby in a nurturing way.
Post-birth is a time of rest and flow that provides the foundation for the steady growth of capacities that a baby must traverse. Development follows a long, slow curve, perhaps punctuated with occasional breakthrough moments but mostly a gently curving upward plateau rather than the jagged peaks that appeal to the fire temperament.
To be a good parent for a young baby means embracing the water quality in us – acceptance of what is, patience, gentleness and flow – as well as the plateau. The child can only grow as quickly as nature dictates. It’s a time of steadiness, patience, and gentle love rather than peaks and valleys of drama.
When people ask about highlights from our journey, I say that it was much more about a steady, enjoyable baseline: a plateau rather than a lot of peaks. We’re entrained by Western culture to go for peak moments, which can distract us from the quiet joys in each moment.
I began to see that water and the plateau are essential for all of us to turn the buzz and excitement of the Birth into an enduring, positive change movement. It will take time and care to patiently build new relationships, flow with changes, bend around challenges. The journey is not done; we’re in the earliest moments of a new era and the child needs the full presence of all of us.
Water teaches us to seek the most harmonious path, flowing with life rather than resisting, pushing, or digging in our heels. It connects to our emotions and the feminine in us in a deeper way. It’s the blood of life and the foundation for health. It’s essential without being very obstrusive: it’s yin to the yang of fire.
As we enter a new era, the feminine is coming to the foreground, so it’s only natural that we each relearn the power and beauty of water, which is in many ways the most feminine of elements.
So as we each, in our own way, activate the shift in our lives in the years ahead and help to forge a new era built on sacred principles, let us each remember the wisdom of water and the poetry of the plateau.