• Ashley Batistick

The Reciprocal We: A Meditation in Prose

Updated: Jul 21


It’s a vision I return to.

Balancing on the belly of a paddle board, I breathe in and stroke the blade of my oar into stillness. Each slice windmills drops of water out and up almost as quickly as they replenish themselves back into the ocean.

I feel solid. Steady. Even in its unbalanced way, I’m confident I won’t fall as I tack alongside the shore.

I know because I’ve been knocked off too many times before.

This is my refuge. The place I return to feel my strength, find my breath, and paddle toward what is important.

In the early hours of this morning, it’s knowing I can trust myself. The sea: She is quiet in agreement.

It’s been six months since I was further out laboring my second child — my son — through monstrous waves only to confirm this truth.

Although it hasn’t always been easy to know.

There have been former expeditions battling tsunamis of doubt and shame only to abandon myself and the vessel I carried myself in. All she could do was swallow me whole and churn me back onto rocky shore with the feeling I should have built a better boat.

Out on the water, the marine layer burns off and I am bathed in sun.

I imagine sailors and their unmoored ships navigating the water before me with only one intent: to conquer. An outdated model of the masculine analytical mind obstructing the feminine emotional waters of heart and soul.

I am on a path all together different.

No need for a boat this time.

Because I am a drop of water to be held and contained by the vastness and depths of your love.

In return, know myself out of which springs feelings of gratitude, responsibility and taking action for my part in this embrace.

There is no separate “I” or “you.” Only the reciprocal we.


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Image Description: The blade of an oar, which is bright orange, paddling through clear blue ocean water.




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