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She Who Names Things

January 31, 2006


The past two weeks have been filled with many opportunities to have interactions in a group setting. As a member of an online “intentional community”, as a founder of a Sacred Circle, as a volunteer for the local high school’s musical, it seems the dynamics of being in a group are everywhere. Coming as this does after a long respite where I have been out of the fray of constant interactions, it also feels intrusive and jarring.

Yet I sought out these groups because I wanted to see myself interacting with others I wanted to show my true nature, and then see how that was seen by the group. I wanted to be present in a group and watch my actions and reactions to conflict.

So I found myself in the familiar role of challenging authority. I didn’t start out to challenge. I simply named something that I saw. I cannot help but name what I see. I have done this all my life. But in the naming, something is “called out” into the light. And it wants to stay hidden in the dark places where it can cause shame and disapproval and self-loathing. It dug its claws deeply into the soil and I dragged it by its tail up and out and into the fresh air.

And as it resisted the naming, the desire was to make someone responsible, to shame someone, to blame someone. And I stood up and accepted that. Because it is me who asked the shadow to come be seen, to be transformed, to be re-membered.

And today, as I accept my label of “She who names things” I feel a deep sadness and wonder if it was all worth it. But is there any other way for me to be in this world?

As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame;
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell’s
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
Selves—goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,
Crying What I do is me: for that I came.
Crying What I do is me: for that I came.
Crying What I do is me: for that I came.
Crying What I do is me: for that I came.

What I do is me: for that I came.
Gerard Manley Hopkins

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