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Sharkey & Friends - What's in a name?

Growing up with a surname like 'Sharkey,' I always imagined I had some fishermen among my ancestors. A part of me always identified with the shark, the powerful and ancient king of the seas. I was proud also of the bravery my fisherman ancestors must have had, to have earned the name.

In times of challenge I would find myself calling up my shark archetype, pulling as needed from either his strength and evolutionary wisdom or equally from that fisherman bravery.

The dual totems served me well and it was only in my thirties that I got the idea to do a bit of research to find out the actual etymology of the name.

Boy was I surprised.

It seems the Shark in Sharkey has nothing to do with sharks. It just so happens to have evolved the same spelling. The Shark in Sharkey comes from the Old Gaelic 'Searc,' for Love.

Probably many people will feel this way, but growing up I always knew I was on the side of love. I knew I wanted to see love in the universe, to strive to show love to those around me and to use love as the core value by which to orient my moral compass.

This moral grounding helps direct me well as I slowly scale up Sharkey and Friends, but I know that no man can be as strong alone as together with others. That's where the ''friends' come in.

My father had many jobs but his main one was as an interior designer running a small business he called 'Tom Sharkey and Associates.' I wanted to honour his memory in choosing my own name. 'Associates,' is a reasonable word to cover the group of architects, contractors, builders, plumbers, electricians and others he regularly worked with, but it doesn't seem to be the right term for the yoga and martial arts teachers, the meditation coaches and dance instructors, and the other health and wellness coaches I am trying to unite to better serve our London community. 'Friends' is, well, more friendly.

I think his favourite job however, aside from designing, was as an ambassador -- a capacity in which he supported numerous local charities. I'm trying to bring these two aspects together, working with friends to benefit local groups. All in the name of Love.

That time my dad got a henna tattoo on his head


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