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The Meaning of My Braid


I have read that braids for Indigenous people in Canada are a spiritual practice. The practice of weaving together three sections of hair, when those three sections each stand for a sacred value, creates a daily reminder of what that person intentionally holds to.


Ojibway author Richard Wagamese in “What Comes of Spirit” recounts to us a teaching he received from one of his Elders:


“The process of braiding hair is like a prayer, he said. Each of the three strands in a single braid represents many things. In one instance they might represent faith, honesty and kindness. In another they might be mind, body and spirit, or love, respect and tolerance. The important thing, he explained, was that each strand be taken as representative of one essential human quality. As the men, or the women, braided their hair they concentrated or meditated on those three qualities…


Then as they walked through their day they had visible daily reminders of the human qualities they needed to carry through life with them.


…Suddenly, a braid became so much more than a hairstyle or a cultural signature. It became a connection to something internal as well as external - a signpost to identity, tradition and self-esteem.”


I have taken this teaching to heart. After a great deal of contemplation, I realized that I have three things that I braid together in the work I do:

grounded kindness, leaving a good wake, and reawakening the spirit of joy


These three priorities have grown out of my lived experience, now digested and made clear to me. It is with these in mind that I work with people as they unravel the strands of their life and move through life’s transitions – changing jobs, changing family structures, changing hearts and minds that comes from living life – and braid together their life with renewed priorities.


As I remake my website for the third time, and as I enter into the second half of my life (assuming I am blessed with ~100 years on this planet), I commit to this braid, and trust that I am still worthy of the work.

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