Drink for Thought

Are you drinking enough water?

If not, (or, if so) according to whom?

The Sacred Cow.

Popular wisdom (now there's a conundrum!) tells us that we should be drinking 8 -10 glasses of water a day, or some other 'water:body weight:activity level:perspiration' algorithmic ratio requiring a math degree.

Where did this information come from? And what ever happened to just drinking when you're thirsty?

Disconnection from our own bodies and needs - like the very basic and natural experience of thirst - has left us vulnerable to the expert and flawed advice that we should be drinking 8-10 glasses of water a day, and has somehow allowed or caused us to circumvent the whole consciousness of where our water comes from, and how meeting that 'need' actually affects our bodies as well as the rest of the planet.

Wait, "flawed" advice?

Like most common knowledge, somewhere, some 'expert' along the line probably stated this observation in a study, and like many such 'facts', it was picked up and passed on as sound medical advice. Or taken completely out of context.

Just google "eight glasses of water + myth" and you'll find a multitude of posts disputing this sacred cow of health.

Not that we don't need water, but we - as a culture so disconnected from our own inherent bodily needs - are too quick to latch on to these 'facts', pass them along as truths and dogma, and fail to question the bigger picture. Happens all the time. (Like soy ... remember how good soy was supposed to be for us...?)

So?

So, unlike some myths, this one is far from harmless.

I'm not sure if there's any other consumption habit our country has that better exemplifies our ignorance, our arrogance and our sense of entitlement than that of water.

Maybe I'm preaching to the choir here, but I hope by now most of us know how our own over-the-top water 'needs' have given free pass to massive corporate destruction and exploitation, and have trumped the very real needs of many third world populations.

And then there's the wasteful by-products:

plasticbeach2.jpg

Oh yeah, and the personal consequences.

Oft-used phrases such as 'flushing out toxins' creates this image that our kidneys operate like plumbing. Sure, our tissues need water and hydration but the kidneys are less like pipes and more like sponges, and can be overworked. I'm no physiology major, but I do think our bodies are better served by eating more whole foods, far fewer processed foods, and spending more time outdoors.

I've also read that drinking too much water can lead to dehydration - that it can actually pull water out of the tissues, and make you crave more water, working the kidneys even harder.

Rule of thumb: If your pee is clear, the water is esentially just going right through, and possbily taking much-needed minerals with it.

Adding a few grains of good quality sea salt can make the water more available to your cells, replenish electrolytes lost from sweating, and curb thirst more effectively.

And drinking water (espeically cold water, or any liquid, really) while eating can dilute your digestive juices and inhibit proper digestion.

But there I go .... I'm no expert. Please, don't just take my word for it. Trust your own body.

Back to my point....

I don't think many of us intentionally set out to destroy the environment and cause harm to innocent people when we are simply trying to quench our thirst. So, where's the disconnect between our actions and their effects? And what do we do? Stop drinking water? And what is one person's actions going to mean in the face of mountains of plastic bottles?

The truth is, the further out of alignment we get, the harder it is to get back, and the fewer 'simple' soultions there are available to us.

Yes, we will still need to consume water to survive, but ultimately, we will have to take a more conscious path in meeting that need.

What has to happen first is re-establishing 'right relationship', and replacing 'expert advice' with 'common sense'. It's one thing to know in our heads what the 'shoulds' and 'right things to do' are. It's another when we have an intimate connection and relationship with  something, that compels us to make fully conscious choices about it, and feel a real sense of protectiveness and respect.

Rekindling the love affair.

We are instilled with a natural attraction to water ... we call it thirst.

It's a beautiful thing to consider that water - clean, fresh, pure - lovingly draws us to itself, and in turn provides us with an essential component for our survival. If we did not have this natural attraction - this desire that draws us to the qualities of cool, clear, hydrating - what else would compel us to take it in appropriately so that we could survive? How wise nature and our biology is!

How did we get to a state where we have to be told by 'experts' to seek out something so natural and essential to our lives? And now, it's not a delicious craving to satisfy, but an obligation to fulfill. How many times have I heard people admit guiltily that they're not drinking enough water?

Does anyone else see the insanity of this?

An exercise.

I invite you to reconnect with your natural attraction for water. It may seem silly at first, but you may be amazed with what presents itself to you. If you can find a natural body of water, great. If not, a glass or bowl will do.

Think about a prior good experience you have had with water... either drinking it or being in it or near it. Think about the feelings you had, and any other sensations you can remember about the experience... colors, sounds, feelings, smells, moods, textures.

Were you taught or advised or read about how to have these good experiences, or was it your innate natural attraction that provided those good feelings?

In regards to the water that is now in front of you, can you connect with where it came from, where it's going, what the quality of it is, where the path led from where it was to where it is now? Is it water that you can trust to nourish you, or is its safety questionable? How do you know? Do you feel differently about this water now than before you began this exercise?

Do you recognize from this experience that there are intact, inborn parts of you that inherently have to the ability to register and retain attractive sensory contacts with nature? Can you acknowledge this expererience as a fact - as true or truer than what you were told to believe about water and your relationship with it?*

Lastly, does connecting with water in this frame of mind make you conscious of the fact that all humans and living things have this same natural attraction, and that ours is no more important or imperative than anyone else's?

Please, share your thoughts by hitting the 'post comment' link at the top of the post. I'm eager to hear from you.

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* This exercise is based on the work of Michael J. Cohen, and the Natural Systems Thinking Process