The Water Journey: 7 Days Finding Your Flow
Imagine! Immersing in the ocean at dawn with the rising sun, exploring the ever-changing nature of a river, creating rings of movement on the face of a placid lagoon with just a gentle touch, putting your head under a waterfall, walking out to an island only accessible at low tide, or feeling refreshing, salty ocean water caress your skin as gentle waves crash around you. Does the water call to you? Would you like to feel these things and the 'rapture of being alive'? Join me for seven days (9-15 June 2022) on The Water Journey in Galicia, Spain an experience of body, mind and heart that I've created especially for women. The Water Journey will be open to everyone as I develop further opportunities to share my passion for the water and this pathway that explores 'being water' as a way of finding flow in one's life.
Water is life. And, movement and flow are its nature. We are made of water and come into the world from water. For many of us the water, whether its river, lake, sea or pool, calls out to our molecular fibers and souls at the deepest level. Come, come, immerse and be with me, we seem to hear! Swimmers often use words such - freedom, calm, fun, energizing, belonging, soothing, joy, liberating, flow, mood-lifter, empowerment..to describe what engaging with the water gives them. Water's versatility and capacity to offer a wide range of experiences is remarkable!
People say that what we're all seeking is a meaning for life. I don't think that's what we're really seeking. I think that what we're seeking is…the rapture of being alive.by Joseph Campbell
What would happen if you had the opportunity to experiment and move through different kinds of water, experiencing its inherent contradictions, listening and feeling through your own skin and observing with all your senses its magnificently diverse ways of being? What wisdoms could water impart to you that could guide you towards your own sense of flow, engagement with life and acceptance of yourself and what is? How alive might you feel by simply trying and doing so?!
To find out, I created The Water Journey: Finding Your Flow to tap into water's magic and share my passion for the water with others. The Water Journey is an immersive, 7-day sensorial experience, to explore the idea of 'being water' in body, mind and heart. It's an invitation to immerse yourself, float, wander, laugh, discover and be with yourself and others within a safe, non-judgmental, non-competitive space we will co-create, The Water Circle.
Engaging with nature is deeply healing and soothing for mental and physical well-being. And, the known health benefits of cold-water immersion are frequently reported in the news as the boom for cold water immersion has grown in popularity. Many of the articles in the Wild Swimmer Series on this website attest to these benefits.
We heal by flowing not forcing.by @medicine_mami
On this fluid pathway I will guide you as we tune into nature and the language of water and literalize powerful metaphors that water wisdom offers in a supportive and healing process. Soft yet fierce, pliable yet unyielding, swift yet still, experiencing water's many ways of being can help you connect to your own inner flow and cultivate creativity, intuition, joy, self-acceptance and a sense of belonging.
Blocked waters seek release. What is dry becomes brittle. Stagnant water can become a breeding ground for disease. Do you ever feel like your waters have pooled in some way or are unsure of their course? It's very normal. Does the water call and an inner voice feel excited by the idea of feeling 'the rapture of being alive' and liberating oneself through exploring these different wild waters? Then I encourage you to listen to, and tap into, your intuition.
How The Water Journey will unfold?
To embark on our water journey together, each day will consist of safe, carefully-planned cold-water immersions in different types of water following the water's cycle from spring to river to lake to sea. Each experience is carefully planned and themed to these different waters. To enhance the journey as it unfolds, we'll incorporate other mind and body energy practices including walking, breathwork, guided visualization and meditation, flowing body and energy movements, journaling, ritual and non-judgmental, mindful group reflection. Every day we will begin at dawn with an immersion in the Sea as the sun rises, collecting our thoughts, breathing into the new day and setting our intentions.
Remember, you can't do anything wrong on The Water Journey. The Water Journey is your journey, unique and beautiful. While I don't claim to have all of the answers myself, I do know that when water lovers gather, magic happens. And, in this case, water magic. Let us allow the journey to unfold together…..
Water is life's matter and matrix, mother and medium. There is no life without water.by Albert Szent-Gyorgi
When, Where & Who
The Water Journey's inauguration is set for 9-15 June 2022 (inclusive) in Galicia, Spain and also coincides with the lunar cycle and we will enjoy the waxing Full Moon as another layer of the journey. Situated on the beautiful Rio Azor beach, the Hotel Norat will be our base for the week and ideal for our daily dawn immersions in the calm waters of the Ria de Arousa estuary.
The inaugural trip is designed for women with a maximum group size of seven to ensure an intimate group and positive dynamic. In this case, this will be an all woman's tour to enhance the supportive and compassionate environment that women can offer to one another.
In the future I will offer The Water Journey for both men and women. Please contact me if you are interested, intrigued or would like more information about individual or group variations on the theme as I also organize private experiences.
The Setting: Galicia, Spain
Galicia forms part of Green Spain, the verdant, water-rich, coastal and hilly northern part of the country bordering the Atlantic Ocean. Set on the far northwest corner of the Iberian Peninsula, Galicia's coastline is remarkably beautiful with deep, fertile tidal estuaries that cut long furrows into the high granitic rock mountains, covered with pine and eucalypt forests, that surround and embrace the sandy shores and inviting azure waters. Water abounds in many forms and its presence is felt constantly. Whether it's the local practice of collecting artesian waters magically bubbling to the surface high in the hills, small rivers that become waterfalls on the way to the Sea, or the constant presence of the vast ocean or the ever-changing nature of the tidal estuary as the waters continuously rise and fall, water's presence is strongly felt. It's the ideal place to run The Water Journey as we can access all types of water with short shuttles in van.
Water Temperatures & Immersions
Ocean temperatures in June range from 15-18C. River, waterfalls and lagoons can range from 14-20C. Our immersions will range normally from 2-3 minutes to 30 minutes depending on the comfort level of each person. Each person's body reacts differently to cold water based on many factors: body type, immersion experience, cycle, health. Staying in the water for 'long periods of time' is not the goal of the immersions but rather to engage with these different waters on a full sensorial level in order to listen to and feel their wisdom. Breath work practices will be integrated into the cold water immersions to enhance awareness, work through layers of resistance that can be present when faced with the cold and to make the engagement a very conscious practice, like a form of meditation.
Birth of The Water Journey
In March 2020, Covid-19 shut down my life as it was and the Ocean called me back home. When the pandemic hit the world, confining us to our homes and wreaking havoc on life and society, it also opened remarkable, previously unimaginable doorways to transformation, healing and personal growth. Blessed to live on the gorgeous, rural coast of Galicia, Spain and a lifelong water lover and swimmer, I turned to the Ocean for solace. Going daily at dawn to the sea became my own sea pilgrimage, solace and therapy (thera-sea as I like to call it). I went every day for over a year - rain, shine, wind, frigid cold. In the second year, I continued to go nearly every day to the water expanding my horizons to other types of water ways and enhancing my own 'water sense', meditation practice and breathwork. You can read about my experiences on this blog.
Connecting with the Ocean became my doorway to wonder as I let the water move my body, heart and mind. During the isolation of the Covid-19 pandemic I discovered other water-moved folk through Instagram (find me there as @dawn_swimmer and @the_waterjourney). I began to connect with others whose passion for the water also drove (and drives) them to often extraordinary acts of personal commitment and will-power overcoming mental and physical obstacles to engage with the water. These connections inspired me to seeking out other wild swimmers, to elevate their voices and edit and publish their stories on this blog as The Wild Swimmer Stories. And one idea leads to another.....
Of course nothing comes nothing and my pre-Covid background is a flowing continuation of this watery permutation of a life that has revolved around pilgrimage and transformation. It's no accident that I see The Water Journey as a transformational process, a journey, a pilgrimage into one's watery life and I've designed it as a rite of passage following the flow of the water's cycle. Holding a PhD In cultural anthropology from UC Berkeley, I specialize in pilgrimage and in particular the Camino de Santiago in Spain. My book Pilgrim Stories (1998, UC Press) describes the unprecedented reanimation of the pilgrimage in the 1990s and the powerful search for meaning and transformation that so many pilgrims from across the world sought, and seek!, on this magnificent medieval holy way leading westward across northern Spain to Galicia.
For 21 years, I've led hundreds of groups on cultural walking tours along the Camino de Santiago with my partner and company On Foot in Spain witnessing and facilitating journeys of growth, expansion and transformation. Curiously, the Apostle James is associated with the scallop shell, great symbol of re/birth in the Sea (think Venus rising from her scallop shell) and his story is intimately linked to Galician waterways. Evidently, it's now time to return to my origins and take this very human search for meaning to the water, another great place of inspiration, healing and knowing. Everything is somehow interlinked....
What The Water Journey Is & Isn't
The Water Journey is not swimming instruction nor is it a swimming holiday where swimming distances is the focus of the experience. We will be reveling in the water in a non-competitive, supportive way, immersing our bodies in the water, floating, having fun and doing light swimming in safe conditions.
*It is a basic requirement of participation to know how to swim before The Water Journey starts and to be in good health.
*It is not necessary to have experience swimming/immersing in any of these bodies of water before coming.
*It is important to be prepared mentally and physically for the normal risks, adversity and hazards of accessing wild swimming spots such as hiking on uneven trails (maximum 8km) with bushes and brambles, sand getting in everything, rain, and slippery rocks around rivers, waterfalls and tide pools.
*Being aware that we will be immersing in cold ocean and fresh water wild swim spots
*While participation in all activities is optional, it is important to have a pre-disposition to engage in group activities as one of the blessings of the journey is to experience it with others with a compassionate, non-judgmental, open dynamic. We learn potentially so much from each other and while we will each have our individual experience, it is also an experience of co-creation, collaboration and connection.
I would love to live like a river flows, carried by the surprise of its own unfolding.by John Donoghue
Participation in Activities
Participation is, of course, optional in the different activities. This is your journey. Trying new experiences will often take you from your comfort zone to your learning zone. And from your learning zone you may at times feel pushed towards a personal danger zone. I am aware that each person's level of tolerance for different experiences is different and it is important that you feel comfortable sharing as you move through these different zones. If you do feel fears or trepidation about certain activities, that is okay and normal. We can work through these by exploring the nature of the fears and creating different strategies to keep you in the learning zone. There is nothing wrong with feeling fear, anxiety or uncertainty about approaching any aspect of The Water Journey. Self-care and compassion are fundamental. If you have any questions or concerns, please let me know. The Water Journey is also fluid and adaptive to the interests and needs of the participants.
You are not lost, you are redirecting.by Anonymous
You are not a failure, you are learning.
You are not behind, you are preparing.
I love the water and I love the way I feel when I'm in the water. It's my doorway to wonder and I would like to share the many gifts that deep contact with water and nature can give each person. Water is magic. And, immersing in the water on a daily basis has become a part of who I am and what nourishes and fills my heart and soul. Exploring the spiritual, energetic and physical connections with the water, has been deeply healing and instructive. I would like to share what has worked for me with others while at the same time continue to discover the infinite mysteries found in the water with you. Water heals, connects, encourages flow in and out of the water, stimulates growth, nourishes the soul, and expands and delights the senses. Do you want to come on The Water Journey with me? Please write for more information.
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This is such a beautiful piece. It's lovely to hear about your personal water journey (and also a little more of your life story) and the picture you paint of the possibilities for all of us is intoxicating. The Water Journey & bring part of The Water Circle is definitely something I want. In fact I'll be messaging right now for the booking info! Xx