Lots of people ask me about the name of my practice and how I came up with it. It was one of those “wake up in the middle of the night” scenarios. I literally shot up in bed in late 2014 and wrote “cardinal river” on the back of a check book that I had in my night stand. It had no meaning to me and I went directly back to sleep.

After this incident, however, I began to think about what the terms together could mean. Cardinals have always been special to me. They are symbols from beyond that guidance is with me. More broadly, cardinals are symbols of everlasting joy. Because they are one of the only birds that do not migrate in the winter time, they can serve as a reminder that spring is coming. This is an excellent metaphor for the therapeutic process. When people begin therapy, they are usually searching for insight, answers, and hope. They are looking for their cardinal in the winter time.

Cardinals also symbolize equality since the males and the females share nesting duties equally. Equality is one of those values that I try to walk through my life carrying to everything I do. The past couple of weeks, we have had a cardinal flinging himself into our kitchen window. We think he feels threatened by his reflection. Despite feeling badly for the poor little guy, I am also seeing this cardinal influx as a positive reminder of the beauty that awaits me shortly.

And then, there is the river. Ahhhh, the river. Rivers have always been my special place. A place of refuge and restoration. When I can hear a river, I can feel negative energy leaving my body and spirit. There is just nothing like a river. This is reflective of the space that gets created in therapy. It is safe and restorative but must be navigated with caution as some rocks can be slippery. And only you know how to correctly balance your footing on those slippery rocks. 

Do you have animals that seem to show up for you? What do they mean to you? What's your special place in nature or otherwise?