Spirituality / Working

The snake in the water: dealing with life’s uncertainties


During a recent Reiki treatment I facilitated via distance for a client, I had an unusual experience. I’m naturally a bit claivoyant, and occasionally may tap into imagery or information present in the client’s subconscious.  There is no consistency to this and it’s not a regular part of my Reiki treatment; it sometimes just happens. (If it seems appropriate and I have already established a good rapport, I may discuss what I experienced with the client.)

While conducting this treatment, in my mind’s eye, I saw an image of a child swimming in a dark pond or lake. The child was afraid because she knew there was a snake hiding somewhere in the water. Suddenly, I “heard” a voice said, “If you make friends with the snake, it won’t harm you.” This message had the feel of a teaching parable. Frankly, I wasn’t sure if the message was intended for my client or me – or both. I have been working with this client regularly for about 5 months, and knew she would be open to me sharing this with her. When I relayed the experience with her, she confirmed she is working through some long-held fears about putting her face in the water while swimming. Fascinating!

However, I realized that on some level, this message was intended for me too. I also have a fear of putting my face in the water. It goes back to a near-drowning incident when I was 8 years old, but I don’t think that’s what this message was intended to address. Being in career or life transition is unsettling. It can be hard to “own that path,” to quote my friend Alice Langholt. The decisions I make are not just about me; I have to consider what’s best for my family too. Many days, I feel like I’m treading water and am doing my best not to get sucked under by the current. The snakes in this case represent the setbacks, fears, anxiety, frustrations and my own sense of limitation I’ve dealt with during this time. The energy and enthusiasm I’ve had for the first three or four months of this journey have been harder to sustain.

My typical impulses are to try to push away or divert the uncomfortable feelings, or let anxiety run rampant. None of these approaches are helpful in the long run, and actually make the situation worse for me. The message I received is clear to me, if not exactly easy to do. Feet first or face first, I have to find ways to embrace the groundlessness – the sense of being in the water and not being able to feel or see the bottom – and trust I will remain afloat.  

 (Photo credit: LOVIN’ A DAISY* on Flickr)

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2 thoughts on “The snake in the water: dealing with life’s uncertainties

  1. in 1999, i fell off of a galloping horse and hit a tree face first. broke my nose into 11 pieces according to the doctor. and he told me to stay off a horse for 6 months. my wife at the time was still riding as were my friends who we rode with, so i went down to the barn to hang out. i started having trouble sleeping after the injury and i realized that it was due to my fear over the accident and within 3 weeks after the brace was taken off of my nose i got back on and went riding again because i felt if i didn’t get back on the horse (pardon the pun), i’d be consumed by the angst over the accident.

    jumped over a felled tree that night

    • Damn, Jim! That must have hurt! Good for you for realizing that you needed to get back on that horse. It’s a tough, brave and necessary thing to do.

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