River Mindfulness

In my morning meditation I often use some words from Thich Nhat Hanh which go like this “I see myself as a pebble, falling to the sea bed. You repeat the words, using “settling on the sea bed”, “resting on the sea bed” and finally, “still”. I find it a good way to settle and centre myself for sitting in silence. The other day I found myself saying “I see myself as a pebble, falling to the river bed” (that’s what thinking does for you – wanting to do something a bit clever!). And immediately I felt afraid. I realised that the thought of being underwater on the river took me straight back to the fear I felt on Selkie’s and my adventure the other day.

the Dart in flood 


Reverting to the sea bed for the meditation time, I also resolved to return to the scene of the crime. We went back first just to have a look, Selkie standing a good few yards off the river’s edge, me peering down river to get a better look at where we went. I was a bit shocked to see how far down we had been pulled, by recognising the point on the bank where we had scrambled out. And my “potential for drowning” attenae have been alerted twice this past few days hearing stories about children losing their lives in the sea, both through the force of the current. And it seems we wouldn’t have been the first at Staverton Ford – apparently a man called John Edmunds was washed away there in 1840.  

pebbles on the river bed

Going back into the fear I realised that I was also nervous about swimming in the river again, so I went back yesterday, knowing the water levels were lower. There were people there and I asked how it was. They said fine but the current is strong. So I gingerly swam a few strokes up and down close to the bank. There’s a woman who is there some mornings so on waking today I decided to continue my process of regaining trust in the river and got up early to join her. This time it was wonderful, I was able to swim further up and down without any fear. After the exhilarating cold dip I walked home with Selkie, tingling with warmth to tea and breakfast and ….. “I see myself as a pebble, falling to the river bed, pebble falling….”   

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