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I’ve just started a Qi Gung class and when I was the only one to turn up for one class, the Qi Gung master and I settled into a long conversation about energy and healing. In the midst of it he made a comment about 'watering concrete’. The image was so striking that I cannot now recall why he said it or what came either before or after that comment.

'What a great title for a blog or newsletter,' I was thinking (which is the other reason why I didn’t hear what he said after that comment). 'I’ll write it when I get home…' only to find myself sitting in judgement on the concept of watering concrete. It was clearly a criticism of someone, something, some sort of action, but perhaps there was something useful to extract from the apparently pointless exercise of watering concrete… ?

 

I decided to use writing, my medium, to find out. So I leapt off into the unknown with one idea, the idea of ‘owning' concrete-watering. After all, if that idea had grabbed my attention so strongly, it must be reflecting something in me; there must be a message in it for me. 

I wrote one line, ‘I water concrete’, and the rest flowed out…

I water concrete.

I spray it energetically,
blasting that hard grey expanse
with a powerful spray of
rainbow-shimmering water,
confident that it will grow.

It 
does
not.

Instead it reflects me back
from its clean grey surface
and I see myself there,
hopeful, patient, industrious,
intent on working miracles.

I used to judge Italian mamas
for hosing concrete. What
a waste of:
water
energy
resources
time!

But perhaps there is a kernel,
the seed of something useful 
in this act?

Much as we love the 
soft dark earth,
Much as we treasure its 
ability to put forth shoots,
Much as we value greenery
and growth and nature,
perhaps… sometimes…
our task is to 
simply
water
concrete.

***

Having written this poem, I am reminded of the story of the Man and the Rock that I read in Why Me? Kicking Cancer and Other Life - Changing Stuff by Yvonne Chamberlain:

‘A man was sleeping in his cabin when suddenly it became filled with light and God appeared before him. The Lord told the man that He had work for him to do, and showed him a large rock, explaining that he was to push against the rock with all his might. This the man did, and for many days he toiled from sunup to sundown, his shoulder set squarely against the cold massive surface of the rock, pushing with all his might. Each night the man returned to his cabin sore and worn out, feeling his whole day had been spent in vain.

‘Seeing that the man showed signs of discouragement, Satan decided to enter the picture, placing thoughts in the man's mind, such as “Why kill yourself over this? You're never going to move it!” or “Boy, you've been at it a long time and you haven't even scratched the surface!” thus giving the man the impression that the task was impossible and the man was an unworthy servant because he wasn't succeeding in moving the massive stone.

‘These thoughts discouraged and disheartened him and he started to ease up in his efforts. “Why kill myself?” he thought. “I'll just put forth the minimum effort and that will be good enough.” And this he did, or at least planned on doing, until, one day, he decided to take his troubles to the Lord.

‘“Lord,” he said, “I have laboured long and hard in Your service, putting forth all my strength to do that which You have asked of me. Yet after all this time, I have not even budged that rock half a millimetre. What is wrong? Why am I failing?'”

‘To this the Lord responded compassionately, “My friend, when long ago I asked you to serve Me and you accepted, I told you to push against the rock with all your strength and that you have done. But never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it. At least not by yourself. Your task was to push.

‘“And now you come to Me, your strength spent, thinking that you have failed, ready to quit. But is this really so? Look at yourself. Your arms are strong and muscled; your back sinewed and brown. Your hands are calloused from constant pressure and your legs have become massive and hard. Through opposition you have grown much and your ability now far surpasses that which you used to have. True, you haven’t moved the rock. But your calling was to be obedient and to push and to exercise your faith and trust in My Wisdom. That you have done.

‘“Now, my friend, I will move the rock.”’

***

Do we ever truly know what our purpose is? Buckminster Fuller claimed that our true purpose is always at a 90 degree angle to our perceived purpose. In other words, we can't see it! We think our purpose is 'abc' but it turns out to be 'xyz', just as the bee thinks its purpose is to collect nectar when its real purpose is to pollinate the plants it passes over...

Have fun watering concrete! 

Comments   

+1 # Guest 2014-11-11 21:37
Thank you for an Awesome Article Liliane, I needed to read this today :D
Reply
+1 # Guest 2014-11-13 17:44
About ‘watering concrete’. – Did you know that newly laid concrete actually needs to be watered / kept moist to prevent surface cracking and added strength?

I really love thinking in and playing with metaphors. Just thinking: Does something rigid (like a business idea or structure) need watering? May this actually dissolves some of the surface stuff that is currently hiding any underlying issues? – Too much watering may weaken and not enough my kill. Is it not all about the balance?

Rainer
Reply
0 # Guest 2014-11-13 18:05
Thanks you for the reminder re watering newly laid concrete! How funny - I had completely forgotten about that. I appreciate your thoughts about dissolving stuff that's in the way and balance. :roll:
Reply
0 # Guest 2014-11-17 08:22
I have many fond memories of my dad watering our swimming pool in summer. At the time, I thought he was trying to make it grow, but now I think he (a)wanted to get out of the house away from Mum (b)liked watering(I know I do). I remember hot summer evenings volunteering to water the garden, and spending just as much time watering the concrete to make it cool enough to stand on barefoot, and to create that rain smell.
- Helen Patrice
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0 # Guest 2014-11-17 14:00
I love this. Thank you for sharing, Helen. I can just imagine him standing there with that water cascading out of the hose into the swimming pool... :-)
Reply
0 # Joan Derrick 2016-03-30 23:09
Ha Ha, how many times have we gone forth thing "This is what I must do," and find that on the wa.y we were diverted . Very ofter the original goal did not happen and a different opportunity presented. That worked nicely for some time and then another roadblock and we are moving in another direction and so it goes- until the day comes and we deeply reflect and we work out what we feel we are drawn to and what flows intuitively and suddenly we are knowing our life purpose, and life is flowing effortlessly.
Reply
0 # Liliane 2016-03-30 23:26
Hello Joan. I see you're having a good old blog read! Commenting on quite a few posts. :-) Funny that this article includes a mention of precession, which I had just referred to in my response to your comment on the blog about 'Watch a human being emerge from a cocoon.' I suspect that life never flows effortlessly for long... At least, I've never met anyone for whom it does. I think part of being human is some degree of stumbling. We all experience moments of insight and even enlightenment, but we rarely sustain that for long.
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Who is Liliane?

A writer, writing coach, teacher, speaker, editor, ghostwriter… 
I love creating worlds, both imaginary (fictional stories) and real (living consciously and deliberately)  and I love helping others to do those things too (write your books, create your reality). I also love providing safe, fun environments for learning phenomenal, empowering ideas about writing and life mastery / universal laws. To enquire or book me as a speaker, send me a line!