Water as Meditation

What is it about being on the water? Why is it so wonderful? Is it the smell? The rocking motion afforded by the waves? The sea life? There are all those words people use to describe it…..It’s peaceful and soothing…..but why?


(Summer 2013)

This week we went out for a paddle along the Des Moines waterfront. We started at the Marina and went to the north, under the fishing pier and along the shore until we reached Normandy Park Beach. Not too far, just right. The sun even made a brief appearance before the pacific northwest cloud blanket reappeared and we made our way back to the marina.

We took our time….no hurry….just wanted to enjoy the day and be on the water. I love being on the water: sailing, kayaking, SUPping, floating…you name it.  And it doesn’t matter what form of water it is: a lake, a river, a puddle (lol) or the big blue ocean. It all makes me feel the same way. It is like a reset button. When I am on the water I can totally disconnect from everything that is worrying me and let it all go. It’s like meditation. I focus on the water and my surroundings and all the negative mind stuff disappears.

As I paddled it became meditation, I focussed on the reflection of the clouds in the water, a single feather curled like a boat floating alone – it’s owner nowhere to be seen, multitudes of star fish in every shape and color, ripples of light on the water as the waves bounced gently by, Cormorants barely lifting themselves from the sea trying to escape my path, the rippling wake pattern my kayak leaves behind, water dripping from my paddle making ever expanding circles, the sun trying valiantly to break through to my warmth hungry skin…..and the quiet….the quiet of nature…..


Remembering each moment takes me right back there. I can feel the weight of stress begin to lift from my chest and mind. Water is a part of our world and yet we are not a part of it. We can float on top of it, we can swim through it but we don’t live in it, we can’t breathe in it and yet it calls to me….constantly. The feeling of relief I get when I spend time on the water is unreal. Better than any medication I could take, better than a glass of wine (Yep, I said it!) Even better than a conversation with my best friend.

I’m not sure what the answer is….why is it so peaceful and soothing? Maybe it’s because it is so beautiful that I stop thinking about all the mundane little worries of life and just enjoy? Maybe it’s because I am practicing being present in that moment?  Maybe it’s just because water is so foreign and otherworldly yes so down home and alluring.  Maybe it’s because I know that when I’m on the water….all I have to do is just……be.


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