Humans are Water Moving Downhill
I was sitting by the creek the other day watching the last of the oak leaves fall, brown and sturdy, into the water. As I sat, I contemplated all the hardship in the world—the pain, the grief, the disconnection. And I found myself asking, as I often do, why?
Why in a world of so much beauty, are humans shaped the way they are? Why do we act the way we do? Why, if we are a part of nature, do so many of our actions cause so much harm to one another, to the Earth?
As I sat there wondering, I heard a voice rise from the creek. From a knowing that is much, much older than my own….
Humans are water moving downhill.
And in that moment understanding rushed through me.
I live in a place where flooding is one of the most prevalent natural disasters. Sidled between a cliff and one of the oldest rivers in the world, our town has seen flooding up to second floor windows. I’ve witnessed first-hand the devastation of a river surging beyond its banks. The creek exploded over a gravel road. The accumulated groundwater bursting into a landslide, exposing the inside of the earth.
And yet, for all the destruction I’ve seen water create, I never once thought that water was bad.
I never doubted whether it should exist. I never blamed the water itself.
It’s just what happens when the conditions are simply “too much.”
In trauma circles one of the simplest ways trauma can be defined is as anything that is just “too much”. The charge of the moment, or accumulated moments, is too great to process at once, so we store it in our bodies to be released later—sometimes in a trickle, sometimes in a torrent.
From the Earth’s perspective we aren’t bad. We aren’t inherently destructive. We aren’t out of step with the rhythm of nature.
We’re just water moving downhill.
And we, as a collective, are in the midst of processing the “too much.”
Humans are profoundly sensitive creatures. It’s part of what has made us so successful at cooperative living and thriving…but it’s also what makes us so powerfully vulnerable to trauma.
All our ancient ancestors had deeply effective tools to help release trauma. Things like ritualized movement, safe reenactment, shamanic healing, and clearing ceremonies. But in most cultures today, we’re just now relearning the tools we need to release the “too muchness,” both personal and ancestral.
It makes sense that we’d be a rushing river. There is just so much to be released.
Water is a powerful force of healing on our planet.
It is part of the great cycle that creates rain, makes tributaries, fills oceans, births life.
It is neither good nor bad. It is just a force of nature, of life, of the Earth’s own energy making itself manifest.
And so are we.
We are water moving down the hillside.
The Earth does not judge us for the rush, the destruction, the flood.
There is just the invitation to allow the too muchness to move through, so we can return to the balance of how we can flow. The kind of beauty, abundance, and healing we have the capacity to create on this planet.
So the next time you feel overwhelmed by the flood in the world, or the flood within your own self, remember—You are water moving downhill, dear one.
And you, simply allowing yourself to flow, can create a waterfall of light.
Gratitude to everyone who has signed up for a course or bought a medicine recently. With your help we’ve been able to raise $6,000 for Palestinian humanitarian relief aid over the last few weeks. May it flow with our prayers for peace, liberation and healing in all directions.