I haven’t given a lot of thought to this trek through the Costa Rican rain forest over slippery rocks and up steep inclines to see a waterfall. It’s not until I’m almost there that I realize that I have avoided the sound of rushing water for five years now.
Single file we follow our guide, to the rocks at the water’s edge. Some in our party have come in swimsuits, prepared to jump into the cold water below the falls. Others of us merely want to look. I opt for something of a compromise, wading into the cold water to climb a rope ladder to the top of a six foot boulder in the middle of the stream to enjoy a full frontal view of the falls.
I now know, in a very visceral sense, how much power that water has. It had a enough to trap to me once, to hold me under until I thought I well might die, and all my will and strength were nothing compared to its casual, everyday force. In a similar battle I would lose again. I would lose every time.
I wrote a post awhile back about the common Nietzsche quote “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Not always so, I concluded. I was thinking about the country of Hungary at the time, but also about the many ways trauma makes us skittish and overly cautious. Like avoiding water falls after you’ve been trapped under a canoe in white water. Not stronger.
But this past week I have been going through something of a rejuvenating experience, learning about the ancient Chinese art of working with energy flow. I’ve had the pleasure of doing this while enjoying time with two old friends and the beauty of a resort in the mountains. I feel strong. I stand in front of the waterfall. And I feel that it is stronger. It will always be stronger.
It roars at me. I face it straight on and I roar right along with it. I embrace its strength as we roar together.
I decide that sometimes what doesn’t kill you will just leave you open to more interesting experiences down the road.
To learn more about Qi Gong and what I have spent this past week studying, please visit Sifu Anthony’s website called “Flowing Zen” here.