Aqua est Animus, Animus est Bonus (Water is life, life is good)
From this soulful connection with self we might then experience a more sacred connection with nature that could inspire us to support it's preservation and healing also. What if water were the medium?
Back at the start of this century, I set out on a quest for the wisdom of water that led me to establish a small spa-retreat that I called Aquaest, a combination of Aqua and Quest. The phrase is also Latin for 'water is' and for me 'water is ... everything'. That first spa-retreat is no longer but my quest continues.
During 2008, I have endeavored to reach out to people who share my interest in 'water consciousness for personal and planetary health'. I'm especially inspired by the concept of spa-retreat as a means for restoring soulful and sustainable ways of living.
To begin, I decided to create three interlinked and interrelated weblogs that each focused on my particular areas of interest (spa culture, aquatic bodywork, and creative expression respectively), and through which I could share my ideas, receive feedback, and maybe inspire cooperative ventures.
Just after the recent election of the new US president Barack Obama, Change.org proposed that members of this innovative social network put forward ideas for positive change in no more than 250 words, and vote on these to discover the best from around the country (US). I drafted mine but didn't have the audacity to post it.
As 2009 opens and I am considering how I'd like my work to develop during the coming year, it seems appropriate to share this summary of my 'dream for change' here. Below it, I will outline how the ancient healing tradition of Asclepius might inform, and be adapted to serve, our modern world to some benefit.
How does spa-retreat fit this ancient healing model? The word hospital has the same root as hospitality. Both mean being welcoming and generous to guests. Spa culture has it's roots in sacred healing traditions, just as retreat has been associated with spiritual seeking. Spa-retreat combines health and hosting.
Many people are dissatisfied with fundamental issues such as quality of life, the search for health and meaning, care of the planet and its residents, and the absence of the sacred in nearly everything we do. We need to envision a future that encompasses all these and is available to everyone.
Here is my dream for change:
The concept incorporates the idea of taking sabbaticals of at least three-months from everyday concerns in order to focus on one's own well-being and that of the planet. An inspiring model for this is the ancient Asclepian sanctuaries to which people went to seek healing from troubles of body, mind, and spirit.
Those returning from these retreats or sabbaticals would bring back with them insights and actions of value not only to themselves but to the whole (much as Native American vision quests are intended to do). These places of seeking-and-support would be free, and free of any doctrine.
Many people are attracted to the images of health and reinvigoration associated with spa-retreat. However, the underlying essential value and role of our physical and social environments is often overlooked. Spa - sanus per agua (health throught water) - should not be a luxury commodity.
Water as an indicator of health and also a tool for health, is central to the spa-retreat offering. Water, as a metaphor, provides many insights into human behavior and human potential, as the Taoists knew well. Water and humans need to be free and to have depth and clarity to thrive.