When Your Name Chooses You
About six years ago, I started to meditate on a frequent basis. I’d rise early, pray, meditate, and throw some dumbbells around. I started following the work of Michael Bernard Beckwith (MBB) and brought daily affirmations into my life. I’m beyond thankful for my friend Sadé West that introduced me to MBB and the Agape Spiritual Center located in Culver City, California. One morning, while in meditation, I started to have the desire to change my name. I kept saying my given name over and over again; it just didn’t fit with who I was and who I was becoming. I wanted my name to call me and for some reason my given name wasn’t working. I sat on this feeling for quite a while.
During this time, I was also considering medically transitioning. I thought that my desire to rediscover my name was associated with my want to explore my gender more. It was a curious time in my life that I appreciate because it was honestly one of the first moments I looked at myself in the mirror and said what I liked and didn’t like. I admit I’ve spent most of my life avoiding mirrors and looking away.
Three years ago, I was in meditation and the name came to me... Evolve. What I actually heard was "Evolved" but I wanted my name to be a call to action. The reason it showed up in meditation was because I asked myself, “Who are you?” several times during my quiet moments. This question was about more than my name; it was a question of who I am and what am I meant to be doing. I still ask myself this question today. I want to always be sure I am aligned with my calling. This ritual of meditation is one way to choose a name, or perhaps, a way to let a name choose you. This realm of spiritual asking and listening didn’t happen overnight and didn’t happen when I was in joyful place. My name chose me during meditation, a quiet time and when my life wasn’t balanced. It chose me when I needed to be called to action.
When I told my family about my name change they were extremely resistant. Their resistance looked like calling me “cousin” or my given name even though I corrected them many times. I assume that the majority of my family has struggled with this because change is hard, but also because my mother named me. My mother passed away in 2007 and my family has so much respect for her. For some of my family members, this transition was extremely easy. For instance, my Aunt Andrea started using my chosen name right away. She was the type of Aunt who sent cards for every occasion and made sure we had albums of baby pictures on Facebook. When I moved from Los Angeles to the Bay Area in 2015 she gave me a card that read “Congrats, Evolve”.
Believe it or not, in conversation my grandmother often goes back and forth calling me by my given name and my mother’s name. When it comes to being stern about the use of the new name, “Evolve”, I always give my grandmother a pass. When I told my father about the change he asked me several times why I didn’t like my “real name” (as he referred to it) and tried to tell me my mother wouldn’t be pleased. I told him my Mom told me it was okay. While, my mother didn’t physically show up and tell me that it was okay, I don’t believe her spirit would allow this name to chose me if she weren’t a fan of it. My mother was an innovator and I know that she would see this as me becoming a better version of myself. My new name has brought a new energy to my life. I started a new job, moved to a new city, I live in one of the nicest places I’ve ever lived in my life, and I have an amazing partner who was actually apart of my name transition. My life has literally evolved and continues to daily.
According to Webster Dictionary the act of evolution is “ a process of continuous change from a lower, simpler, or worse to a higher, more complex, or better state : growth a process of gradual and relatively peaceful social, political, and economic advance.” I appreciate this process of growth, of change and finding myself.
Here are three rituals you can use when choosing your new name or letting a name choose you:
1. Take ten minutes every morning and listen to this meditation. While listening ask yourself “ Who I am I? "What name describes my new journey?” Be patient. I did this for a few months before my name chose me.
2. Burn sage and write out 10 names (or as many that come up) that bring your feelings of joy. Put the names in a hat and pull out three. Rate the three names from 1-3 based on which one brings you joy. Pick the name that resonates the most with you.
3. Rename yourself after someone that you admire.
While my name transition has challenged others, I have never felt so alive and at peace with who I am and who I am becoming. I appreciate everyone who has shifted in order to create space for the new me and those who give life to my name “Evolve” by speaking it and respecting it.