Sunday, May 22, 2016


This morning I went paddle boarding. Carrying my board along the path from our house to the water, carefully setting it down to float, stepping onto it's wide body, and pushing off away from the land has become a very spiritual practice for me. When I'm on my board life slows way, way down. The sound of the paddle dipping into the water is a lullaby for my soul. May awareness shifts from anxious thoughts and plans and lists to a place of right here, right now - being in this space of explosive life and meditative stillness.

Today, for whatever reason, I was shaken with the many creatures that call this small body of water home. As I watched the fish swim about, dashing from surprisingly shallow waters and into the deep, I was overcome by this sense of wanting to know their names. All of a sudden it was really, really important to acknowledge who they are.

The other day my daughters were dancing around in princess dresses singing about how beautiful they look. I watched on with expectation. I knew within moments my husband would come around the corner, lift them onto his lap, and ask them what their names mean.

"Sunshine." my eldest replied with a smile. "FLOWER!" yelled out my youngest. My husband nodded in agreement and then told each of them that they were created to bring warmth and kindness and beauty and compassion and color and light to this world. That there is far more to beauty than a dress or sparkles or shoes, although those are fun to explore. That what makes them beautiful is how they respond to injustice and hurt and fear. That their beauty goes far deeper than their skin. It begins in their hearts.

Naming things is an ancient art, one that has grown up with civilization. From our earliest roots, there's been something within us aching to know our name. Needing to understand our place and figure out where we fit in this great expanse of life.

As I paddled around the pond, guiding my board gently along side the reeds, I was aware that everything around me had a name, and with it's name came a place in this world.

I'm learning the more I observe, the deeper I walk into a place where it all matters. Everything has meaning. Watching fish has led me to acknowledge they have a name and existence as important as my own. Watching people has led me to believe we are not all that different. That we each have a name and a light within us and, at the very core, we all want to be seen, to matter, to find our place in the world.

As the wind picked up and rippled away my view, I looked off to the side and found a nest hovering precariously over the water. In it were 4 tiny eggs, white with brown spots. The mama bird hovered nearby, anxiously waiting my decision. Would I watch on quietly or choose to imprint on her life in an unkind way? Would I see first our commonality or respond with carelessness and apathy? Would I live into the meaning of my own name? River. Flowing water, bringing life.

I took one last glance, lifted my paddle, and thought to myself "You are important and good and kind and have a name.You have a place in this life and mine and it's my honor to see you."

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