I found myself at the first day of a 5 day conference, spending much of the first evening visiting with friends and colleagues from all over the US and the world. As might be expected, I both stayed up too late and promised to carry on one of our unfinished teacher discussions while going for a 3 mile walk the next morning, at 5:30 AM! Needless to say, when my alarm went off, I was not well rested for the new day of conference work, discussion and activities. I made my way to the washroom.
I did what I often do: I took a clean washcloth, ran cold water over it, squeezed it out, and washed my tired face with it. The act at the sink didn’t take long, but there were two sides to the 30 seconds of morning ritual: on one side was the very tired, over extended self, and on the other side was the self who breathed more deeply and took in the delight of the cold cloth and water. Not much was removed from my face (I was still tired), but I did feel a new sense of hope that this three mile walk at 5:30 while discussing teacher stuff would not kill me. It was a tiny passage from one space to another, but a passage no less.
By the end of the three mile walk in Washington, DC, I was completely drenched in my own sweat. The body’s one water system had done its job to keep me cool (enough). Honestly, when our three mile loop was complete, I might have been sweaty, but I felt incredibly more energized for the day. All that was left was a quick shower and breakfast!
That morning took me through three passages of “washing:” with the cloth, with my sweat, and with the shower. Each washing with water worked some little miracle of transformation, and they left me very grateful.
What encounters with water and washing will you have you today? What passages might they lead you through?