You are 8 weeks today. We finally sent your birth paperwork, complete with a new name, off to Juneau.
For weeks I’ve searched relentlessly, obsessively for a new name for you. For one word that could capture all I experienced when you were born. All that followed you into this world, like a luminescent trail from the other side.
Your brother stayed dutifully invested in my hundreds of name options, weighing in on each while scanning your face for clues. Your father remained patient, but neutral. He told me if there was going to be a new name, it would come in a moment of inspiration, not from pushing.
He was right of course. Nothing surfaced from my frantic searching. I decided it was time to move on.
Your brother reassured me that we didn’t need a perfect name as God had already scooped the sea into your midnight blue eyes, minus the salt. Colin has a way of reaching into the center of the center and pulling out the truth.
I attempted to make peace with the name Shepherd. I wrote a story about it being time for you to come from the sea to live on the land. I explained that you would never herd in the classic sense, but instead act as a guide, shining your light so warmly that others would naturally want to stay close to your source truth.
That night, I cradled you before bedtime, swaddled in your white sleep sack, your face pale and pure. Only your dark eyes broke the halo effect as we gazed at each other. I swayed and rocked you, singing old gospels, and then just naturally said – Ansel. A tingly feeling washed over me from from the top down. I looked at you and whispered it again – Ansel. It seemed to fit, perfectly.
I felt both calm and buzzy, as happens when an aha pops in. I didn’t know the meaning of the name, I didn’t even particularly like ‘A’ names, but there it was…resting naturally on your face.
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The next morning at 5am, I settled onto my mat for day one of a 40 day Sadhana, or daily spiritual practice, to clear blocks, set new habits and raise vibrational energy. My postpartum self desperately needed this lift and re-set. The stress of moving, job and life changes, and fear of getting your name wrong was weighing me down.
Less than an hour into my first practice, I felt lighter and higher than I had in weeks. As we moved our focus into the third eye center of internal knowing, or Ajna in Sanskrit, the fireworks began.
I suddenly realized the name, Shepherd, was vibrationally dense and heavy. Sh, ph, dh. It felt like a thud in my heart. How could I saddle you, my floating sea star, with this weight?
The meaning was heavy too. Yes, the lineage was a beautiful philosophical concept, but it was also a load of expectation to heap on a new soul. And somehow it didn’t seem to align with your unique gifts God had so clearly showed me.
Finally, it occurred to me that if you can’t speak your truth, it’s not your truth. For weeks, I had accidentally refused to say your name, my mouth switching to call you ‘baby’ at the last second. I slightly cringed when I heard others say the name Shepherd. Intellectually, I told myself this would soften over time, yet the block remained. The name was like a magnet pushing away; it simply wasn’t your SatNam.
I let those realizations zing around, while going deeper into the stillness.
Every day we absorb millions of visual stimuli with our two sensory eyes, but it’s our third eye, Ajna, that truly sees. Represented by an indigo color and activated by the pituitary and pineal gland, this internal dark space delivers us to God and allows us to access our true wisdom. In pregnancy, women have heightened pituitary function, increasing their intuition and insight. In utero, babies pineal gland has cells that resemble retina with light sensitive nerve endings, making it a functional third eye. After birth, the pineal gland remains, tucked behind our eyes with mysterious capabilities not fully understood by scientists. However, we do know it manages our response to dark and light. The Sanskrit word for teacher is guru and translates to dark (gu) and light (ru); I like to think of our pineal gland/third eye center as our own internal teacher.
While continuing to stay in this sacred space, the weight of the last weeks dissolved and my understanding became clear.
That field of midnight forever I walked in while delivering you, that we touched together when you first arrived, that I still saw in your eyes as you spent timeless hours observing the Aleutian light – that was our shared Ajna.
The shades of purple and blue that radiated off you, the otherworldly quality that we were all in awe of, and the calm stillness that made you appear to float – you, my son, were formed from the Aleutian wind and sea to become a living Ajna guru of presence, light, and love. And it took my rising to your higher frequency, then dropping into my internal knowing to finally name it.
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I told your father the name and all my subsequent yoga truth bombs. He agreed that Ansel felt right and thought it had a white aura, which made sense as it came to me in that halo soaked, sparkler moment. I told him I wanted to spell your name Ajnsel to keep your Ajna third eye close, but after some conversation, he convinced me to spare you a lifetime of pronunciation woes. Paired with your middle name, Galen, you now possessed the floaty-est name ever; so much that I wondered if you might be untethered and simply drift away. But we trusted the pure thought that had compelled us to find and agree on Galen, meaning calm, in the hours after your birth.
So, in the end, I did not find a name that captured everything. As the ancients knew, there is no one name that can capture the infinite dimensions of God. Language will always be a barrier to our experiential understanding. But I did go into the deep to find and honor our shared truth. What a magical start for us, my son.
Welcome, again, Ansel Galen Spring.
May you float lightly above it all, yet remember to sink down into your own still waters of truth. May you be gentle and curious like that precocious sea turtle I saw in you, happy to explore life riding the current of God’s love. May you never forget that I breathed the powerful Aleutian prana into you, a secret Gale force of ancient wisdom.
And that behind any name or identity you take on, beneath the spacesuit God equipped you with, remains your original state of perfection and potential like an endless ocean.