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I See You

Every morning, I find it melodic to say good morning to each of you using your first name. There are several of you with the same first name so it’s fun to use your first and last name during my ritual. It’s melodic because each of your names hold your special energy. By saying your name, I have the privilege of announcing I see you. I welcome you. Thank you for taking time out of your day in honor of you.

Your name holds energy. Your name transcends all other words. Your name represents you. Being recognized is special. You are important. Your presence here in this space is important. You matter in this world. You matter to everyone here and you matter to you.

Hearing your name can also be a painful experience. I hold a memory from high school where I was in a language lab amid the cubby spaces and heard my supposed friends talk about me by using my name. It hurt. Someone with authority calling my name causes me to shrink back. Hearing my name in my various graduation ceremonies lifted my energy. Changing my last name back to my birth name freed me from the bonds I felt tied to my ex’s name.

I’ve considered changing my first name and chose to retain my identity as Shirley. I was named after my Aunt Shirley, and that feels good. With painful memories, sometimes it’s healing to change our name, a new name to begin again on our terms.

Our names hold power. How different would my day begin if I met myself in the mirror every morning with a warm welcoming smile and bow Namaste – I honor you, Shirley. I love you. More than likely, I would be better at remembering my daily yoga and energy routines.

More often than not I shuffle around until I am more awake and then walk from task to activity, choice after choice forgetting the gift I can give myself by saying Good morning. I love you.

Honoring others begins by honoring myself. Pausing my thoughts long enough to say I see me. I honor me. I matter.

Blessing that Knows Your Name by Jan Richardson

Chances are there will come a day when you will forget every last word of this blessing.

It does not matter.

Let this blessing slip through your fingers. Let it roll from the smooth plane of your palm.

Let each line disappear and every syllable fall away. Let this blessing return to where all blessings begin.

Let it leave you until all that remains is the place where it pierced you— whether like fire or like breath you could not say, only that you heard your name as it entered, then heard its own as it blew away.

Participants' Reflections:

  • I normally don’t think about my name until someone new asks me what it means. It wasn’t until this reading, for the first time, that I realized my name has the greatest affirmation ever. It’s been with me all this time. I’m always looking for new affirmations to write down and how amazing that I finally realize that I have my own loving and compassionate affirmation. My name means ‘joy is mine.’

  • My family is from Greece. My name brought dismay when I was younger. But now it brings a sense of belonging. When you say that you explicitly greet everyone as they log on and you say everyone’s name, I have to say I get a little bit of a thrill with it. So thank you.

  • My name means ‘full of grace.’ I didn’t get that when I was younger because I thought grace meant not clumsy and being graceful. I certainly was a little bit clumsy, so I thought it ironic when I was younger. But now I get grace a much more wonderful concept, a gift, totally unexpected. Thanks for giving us the opportunity to think of our names. The concept that you talked about yesterday (see Dec 7 blog), you said ‘gentling myself’. I really like that, being gentle with myself as opposed to being harsh. The other thing that happened during my meditation. I saw an image of a string that went out from my heart. On the string, on each side, there were little feelers. It was like a fourth of July sparkler sending energy out on this string that was going from my heart out into the world.

  • The power of using one’s name is like a kiss to one another, especially if used at the appropriate time. A friend of mine gave me a book The Secret Meaning of Names. It has to do with the vibration that you inherit as your name for this lifetime. The underlying meaning of my name is ‘passionate unveiler’ because I like to look below the surface of things. Shirley’s meaning is “the bearer of good fortune.” The book says “You are a fascinating woman with an illuminating tenderness and a deep dedication to the higher qualities of life.” The use of a name is like a kiss when used in the right way.

  • Thank you so much. It reminds me of more indigenous cultures where people were gifted by some attribute or some quality they displayed, a little tree, running brook, flying bird. They got so creative with names. I was named after my grandfather. My name means ‘female warrior.’ At one point, I used the Jamie Sams animal cards. As an abused little girl, I learned to hide my femininity. In my adult life, I jumped out of airplanes, rode a motorcycle, became an engineer. I immersed myself into a masculine world in order to conquer that, to not be afraid of it. I still hid my femininity. In the Jamie Sams medicine cards, my masculine totem is a deer and my feminine is a mountain lion. It helped me reclaim my warrioress. I don’t have to be out there in people’s faces brandishing my sword. I can know in my heart I have an inner strength. I thank you for this reminder of how sacred names are.

  • Names are fascinating to me. Growing up, people called me by a diminutive version of my name. Once I got through nursing school, I realized men don’t use the diminutive version of their names. So I started using my full name. It’s a strong name. What I realized in this meditation, I will tell people explicitly to use my full name or a shortened version. A shortened version of it is the masculine part of myself, my full name is the strong feminine side of myself, and the diminutive is like the child.

  • I never liked my name. I still don’t. I do remember that the woman who was a gentle mother to me, a gentle soul, would call me by my diminutive name. She was the only person I felt comfortable with calling me that. My brother had an abusive way of saying my name. I’d like to learn the meaning of my name to get more comfortable with it. I like the indigenous names. I want to be a deer something or a crow something. Thank you so much for what everyone said.

  • Thank you for saying we all matter. I used to think that everyone was so smart and saying amazing things. I didn’t feel like I was contributing anything important or helpful. I want it to be a two-way street, that I can help others with their burden.

  • My name means ‘goddess.’ I’ve known it all my life and have felt inadequate to it. But it is a diminutive for my real name which means ‘healer’. My father got it from a poem. Today’s the anniversary of my dad’s passing and I’m really connected to him today. My parents bonded over poetry, so it made sense I became a poet.

  • My name came from a children’s book. My mom was in a doctor’s office and saw the book and liked the name. After high school, I didn’t want to be called by the diminutive version of my name anymore. My family sometimes used the diminutive of my name and I am warmer to the name now. We do a journey with our names. We have images of names of people we knew. And then we meet someone with the same name and they are different. It’s interesting to put those together.

  • Thank you for receiving this. I feel delight when I say good morning to people and am glad you do too. I hope you all have a blessed day in your gentling.

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