All of us are much more like a river than anything frozen in time and space.
For millennia, Water has taught humanity valuable lessons about life and the fluid nature of feelings. Rivers, in particular, have a lot to say about the ways we are shaped by the curves and cliffs of our own landscapes, by the immovable stones, the whirlpools and still shallows. With River as our guide, we can gain some valuable perspective about our lives.
Take a little time this summer to find out how your life-river can heal and inspire you. This simple, fun activity doesn’t take long, doesn’t cost a thing, and you can try it alone or with friends. Either way, it was designed to help work a little watery magic on your life.
1. Tape several pieces of paper together, end to end, to make one very long piece of paper, like a river. This is your river.
2. Beginning with what you can remember about your infancy and childhood, think of the major events in watery terms. Draw and write all the rocks, the places of flowing ease, the shoals and sandbars that made up your early history.
3. You may want to use crayons or markers to add color, or find interesting stickers, pictures cut from magazines, or color copies of old photographs to add to your river.
4. Continue with your memories of adolescence. Were there shipwrecks? Whirlpools? What was the river like when you were a teen?
5. Now continue into your adulthood. What are the major features of your river landscape now? How can you identify the most important depths and shallows, the storms and sunny days that have made up your river journey?
6. When you are finished, you may want to put your river up somewhere to remind yourself that your river is perfectly unique but flowing, moving in a way that is familiar to everyone on the face of the earth.
Adapted from “Earth, Water, Fire, and Air” by Cait Johnson (SkyLight Paths, 2003). Copyright (c) 2003 by Cait Johnson. Reprinted by permission of the author.
Adapted from “Earth, Water, Fire, and Air” by Cait Johnson (SkyLight Paths, 2003).