Book 1: Water

Somehow over the weekend I stumbled into a new obsession, Avatar: The Last Airbender.  I started with the movie which I thought was so moving.  I mean ok the acting wasn’t Oscar worthy but it didn’t distract from the message which I thought was AMAZING! So much so that I immediately began seeking out the television episodes, and digging for more information.  I really took to the airbenders, which after “entering my birthday” online some little cheesy thing told me I would be an Air Nomad (out of the four possibilities: Air Nomad, Water Tribe, Earth Kingdom, Fire Nation).  The Air nomads were monks, and unlike the other 3 who only had a select population that were “benders (able to manipulate their respective element) all air nomads were airbenders.  Fun fact:

Airbending is one of the four elemental bending arts, the aerokinetic ability to control and manipulate currents of air. The peaceful Air Nomads utilized this type of bending in their everyday lives.

Unlike other bending disciplines, Airbending is almost entirely a defensive art, similar to its practitioners and is the most dynamic of all other elements. Air is the element of freedom. Airbenders continually sought for spiritual enlightenment, the result being that all Air Nomads are benders. The first Airbenders learned from the Sky Bison.

The key to Airbending is flexibility, finding and following the path of least resistance. Airbending is notable for being almost entirely defensive, however it is reputed to be the most dynamic of the four bending arts. Airbenders can overwhelm many opponents at once with large and powerful attacks that could prove fatal; however due to the pacifist nature of the Air Nomads such attacks are rarely used (source).

Still not entirely sure why I took so immediately to airbending, but I did. Funny thing, last night in my play therapy class we had to show with our bodies what certain things looked like. I illustrated “power” by laying on the floor body relaxed, arms behind my head resting; for me this was freedom.  Other people thought I looked powerless or defeated, but to me nothing is more powerful than peace and freedom of care or want.  Perhaps I am air.

Later, I got to thinking about my job–counseling–and how it is just like water bending, which I equate with Tai Chi, the great dance.  Push|Pull, Yin|Yang, and the quest for balance and congruence.  That is my job, I do it  daily and I do it well.  How is it that I, an airbender, find myself trying to master water bending? I laughed at the thought that maybe I’m an avatar, able to manipulate all the elements and be the go-between for the spiritual and physical worlds.  Who knows…but here’s a bit about water-bending:

Waterbending is based on a style of Tai Chi Chuan (specifically the Yang style). It is a Chinese martial art that features slow movements and elegant forms that evoke the feel of flowing water. Waterbending provides a versatility of experience. Waterbending’s strength is its defensive capabilities which, rather than supporting a separate set of offensive methods, are transformed into attacks and counters – defense into offense. Rather than simply stopping to deflect an attack, Waterbending’s defensive maneuvers focus on control, achieved through turning an opponent’s own strength against him, instead of directly harming the opponent. According to Iroh, water is the element of change (source).

Never thought I’d be so spiritually connected to a cartoon!! I can’t wait to learn more about the Earth and Fire bending, and see how that plays into life. I swear you can find meaning in every single thing if you look. 

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6 thoughts on “Book 1: Water

  1. Jess, Jess, Jess. You are such a woman after my own heart. I too, am absolutely OBSESSED with Avatar: The Last Airbender. My son got me hooked on the animated series a long time ago when he’d ask me to watch with him. Since I was such a long time fan of the series, I was HIGHLY disappointed with the movie. It was poorly cast, poorly acted, poorly adapted and just all around horrible in comparison to the genius of the animated series. But I digress. As you said, the message and philosophy of bending is beautiful and one can actually learn a lot about life from the wisdom of Aang and the gang. I’ve decided that I would either be a water bender, or I’d be Ty-Lee (have you been introduced to her yet? She is able to alter and block people’s energy/chi to keep them from harming her or others).

    I was reading on a blog that goes into the history behind the story of the Avatars and the four nations, that there may end up being another cartoon focused on (spoiler alert) Aang and Katara’s granddaughter. I hope it’s true! Fingers crossed.

    ** and end nerd moment ** 🙂

    1. LOL I’ve heard about the new series! It was announced by the head of Nickelodeon studios. I’m completely obsessed with this entire series, I haven’t gotten past “Water” yet and just watched about 5 minutes of the 1st Earth story. I’m excited to see how it unfolds.

      I was introduced to the movie first so maybe that’s why I don’t hate it so much…I thought it told a great story (obviously) bc I wanted to know more. Wasn’t the greatest but wasn’t horrible.

      1. Yes, you saw the movie first, LOL, that’s why you didn’t hate it. Well, if you want anyone to “talk Avatar” with, I’m your gal!

  2. The cartoon series. is. AWESOME SAUCE! I watched it all the way through and couldn’t bring myself to watch the movie. The casting alone was awful–the entire Avatar universe is Asian so while I didn’t object to Indians being cast as the Fire Nation (it’s South Asia, after all) whitewashing three of the main characters was just too much for me to bear. Same reason why I won’t be supporting the live action Akira remake.

    Anyway, the elements are at play in astrology in too. Aren’t you a water or air sign? I’m a textbook Capricorn so I was psyched for the Earth chapter.

    “Earth is the element of substance, making Earthbenders and their people in general proud, persistent and enduring . . .The key to Earthbending is neutral jing, which involves waiting and listening for the right moment to strike, and when that moment comes, acting decisively. In other words, Earthbenders generally endure their enemies’ attacks until the right opportunity to counterattack reveals itself, then strike with unyielding force.

    1. Well, like I said I was working backwards because I knew the movie first. But now looking back, its SO significant that Earth- China Fire – Japan Water – Inuit/Eskimo Wind (air) – Tibetan It all plays into Egyptian view of elements and even the power of each element coordinates with a different martial art… I could literally go on and on. I’m seriously OBSESSED

  3. Haven’t caught this yet, but I’ve had a running fantasy since bout age 11 of being able to generate elements when I want.

    In my head, my soul mate is able to as well, though he’s not aware of his abilities until he meets me. When we join powers (have earth shaking relations driven by trials and tribulations resulting in unconditional love), we create a tangible version of our love for each other…The Quintessence.

    (Result of Sailor Moon fanfiction, a computer game called Zork, and a short obsession with alchemy.)

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