Restoring: bring back (a previous right, practice, custom, or situation); reinstate.
Relations: the way in which two or more concepts, objects, or people are connected; a thing’s effect on or relevance to another.
We use the term ‘restoring relations’ often. We understand that relations are always present, although maybe latent or historically damaged. And that in our current local/global situations, we have the responsibility to seek their restoration. This includes relations between peoples as well as relations with the waters, lands and all beings. We are committed to co-creating opportunities that build relations through curiosity, learning through a readiness to listen, and practicing genuine humility. These are guiding forces in how we organize and carry out a walk/pilgrimage.
With all we do and co-create, we place water at the center – as our guide, teacher and companion. This offers a vastly different experience from the current dominant system – we no longer become guided by profit and resources, but instead by that which offers and receives life. Water is a resilient dynamic able to respond to its environment in form, rhythm and speed.
Re-centering water as a sovereign living force upon which all of life depends requires that we dismantle and heal from the many systems of supremacy, domination and colonization that have caused the dominant system to commodify waters, lands and peoples in pursuit of power and profit. We seek to recognize and honor the indigenous leadership, particularly here on Turtle Island, that has been protecting the waters and the lands from extraction and exploitation of colonization and capitalism for hundreds of years. While water unites us on a deep level with all of life and reminds us of our deep unity and interconnection, we also recognize that issues of water injustice disproportionately impact communities of color, and that we must attend to and undo the systemic and historic systems that have harmed waters and peoples alike.
Both the land and the waters hold the stories of our ancestors and the memory of healing. We are called to understand on whose land we walk or move through, whose stories have not been told, recognize what might be missing and above all, ask permission. Our best practice is to request permission to walk the lands of the original stewards or tribes who currently reside in the places we work as a practice in restoring relations.
Water is a collaborative being and such a core tenet of the ways Walking Water organizes and responds in the world. Collaboration, inclusion and partnership, support us to contribute to both local and global movements and strengthen our collective resilience. We encourage and are committed to engaging in and supporting partnerships in all Walks of Resilience.
Bearing Witness/*No-Enemy mind:
Both the local and global water systems are full of conflicted interests and judgement, with water treated as a resource. Walking Water attempts at all times to not fall into judgement but instead bear witness and lead with curiosity. We work on this both individually and as a team to reach a simple understanding in support of everyone and all beings to receive what is needed. This allows us to respond in ways that may be diverse, co-creative and leading to strengthened resilience. <span
*from Zen practice
Walking Water works with the opportunity money represents to create and strengthen community. We aim to borrow logistical items rather than buy when possible because we create relations by doing that. We seek grants for small amounts to create many partners rather than relying on one single funder. And we work to be in a place of both giving and receiving. As a predominantly white-identified core team, we also have a responsibility to be transparent about money and to redistribute it where possible. Resilience also asks us to take the opportunity to be in relation with money and support its flow. Walking Water asks that these relations with money be explored and worked on, and hopefully adopted, in relation to local walks.
We would love to hear what you think and feel about each of these elements outlined in this document. Do they relate to your own principles and ways of working? What is the mutual reciprocity between Walking Water and your project/initiative? What are your commitments? Please share your principles with us and we can then look to create a living document of our working partnership.