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Friday, November 13, 2009

What's in a Name?

In an effort to remain fairly anonymous, I opted to have my name appear as “Administrator” for things relating to this blog. When I saw it appear after a comment I made on someone else’s blog, I realized that it did not represent who I am or my mission in this world. I consulted a friend who is, as a rule, an “out of the box” thinker and while I passed on his suggestion, I was inspired. I Googled a list of Sanskrit Yoga terms, searching for a name that called to me. There were, as I imagined, many compelling names that I felt connected to, but only one that halted me in my thought process. Sakshi, means Witness. I feel strongly that among our many obligations in this life that at the very least, we bear witness.

I saw the towers fall the morning of September 11, 2001, two days after my wedding. The effect was and continues to be life-shaping. Television failed in its regular ability to distance me, as the viewer, from the images it was transporting. I know I was not alone. The city & people I loved were devastated and the bliss of my brand new marriage mingled with the mourning of the world we no longer knew. I was there. Because I was a witness I can pass it along to my children to pass it along to theirs and we won’t ever forget.

The same is true for survivors of any traumatic or elevated experience. To witness is to begin the healing or sharing the joy or simply passing along the information. The examples range from extreme conditions to the banal. It is equally as valuable to witness an elegant expression of compassion or connection as it is to witness acts of brutality. Even to witness an ordinary moment of beauty or plainness is to be alive.

Several years ago I was practicing Yoga next to someone I’d never met. Her practice flowed with a grace that made me take notice. When we were rolling up our mats I felt compelled to tell her how beautiful her practice was. In this simple act of witnessing I felt elevated. Five years later, she is one of my teachers. Weekly, I get to witness her process while participating in the dance.

Part of my mission in even posting these musings is to share observations that may have some universal appeal. We are all witnesses to our lives and the world around us. That is part of what connects us all.

Sakshi. Witness.

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