WHAT’S IN A NAME?
It’s both incredibly important what we name ourselves and it’s also just a label.
In Buddhism, when we chant, we see the power of words, which when repeated over and over become well-worn grooves that carry our prayers to the eternal.
In the Kabbalah faith, they believe your name becomes your destiny. That it is already written.
And in Numerology, it is your name that determines your soul’s urge and life path.
Practically, we use our names nearly every day, it’s usually the first thing people ask us, “What’s your name?”. And because that name means “me” it typically becomes one of our favorite words consciously or unconsciously.
The Power and Significance of Your Name says that:
“The one defining characteristic we all share, the one unique and profound element of each and everyone of us is the name we are given. From the reason to why we were given such a name to the historical lineage and significance of what a name has come to represent, our name, beyond it’s objective purpose, encompasses what and who each of us is. It’s essence is at the very heart of our existence.
It signified what tribe you came from. It represented the language and dialect you spoke. It made others aware of the region you came from. And grew into characterizing the nationality you came from. It effectively describes us in a manner more than we truly understand or choose to realize. It was the mark you put down when coming to the New World, the signature that made your home and the last thing that is ever read in a letter by the one you love. Your name is utterly more powerful and significant than simply the characters that represent it.”
And yet, words are linear. They are carriers of energy but they don’t come close to encapsulating the dynamic aliveness of what they describe.
I think it’s interesting that we have a practice of picking out names for our children before they are born. How can we chose that without knowing who that little soul will be? Is it the name that writes the destiny or the person who makes the name?
I’d say both.
It’s a rare thing but I recently met someone who chose to wait for 3 months before naming his daughter, Lotus.
While there was a lot of outside pressure, he and his partner decided they wanted to see/feel/know more of who their daughter was before making such an important decision.
I love that.
So what happens when we choose our name or when it chooses us?
Over the past four to five years, I’ve been experimenting with receiving a new name, “Lotus”.
My dear friend and past love, Max, used to call me “Divine Lotus Butterfly” and when he passed away, I went to the Temple at Burning Man to honor him. After the ceremony, I went adventuring into the night and climbed a big art sculpture. It was there that I saw a massive Lotus art car that transformed its colors from purple to fuchsia to red to blue roaming across the desert into the deep playa. I felt my heart swell and I heard a whisper, “Lotus”.
I’ve been testing the waters of becoming Lotus ever since.
Two years ago when I journeyed to the East, I shed my Western identity and became Lotus. I found a spaciousness from self and the rise of another aspect of my being. More yin, spiritual, graceful like a crane or swan.
I also discovered that the Lotus is highly revered as a natural phenomena.
One of the most ancient and deepest symbols of our planet is the lotus flower. This flower has the ability to grow in muddy water and rise above the surface to bloom with remarkable beauty AND no evidence of the mud...as if untouched by the impurity. Because of this, the lotus flower often represents purity of the heart, body and mind.
As Thich Naht Hanh says, “No mud. No lotus.”
The Lotus represents transformation and rebirth.
The perfect theme for my own personal transformation.
And now as I return to the West, I am Kelsey. My mind knows this is my name but it hasn’t been resonating strongly. Almost foreign. It feels like a label.
Today, my coach asked me, what is the meaning of Kelsey?
I hadn’t ever asked myself this question. After all this soul diving, spiritual seeking, and meaning making, I hadn’t ever looked up the meaning of my own name.
So I did. According to SheKnows:
The name Kelsey is an Irish baby name. In Irish the meaning of the name Kelsey is: Brave.
Norse Meaning: The name Kelsey is a Norse baby name. In Norse the meaning of the name Kelsey is: From the ship's island.
American Meaning: The name Kelsey is an American baby name. In American the meaning of the name Kelsey is: Brave.
Soul Urge Number: 1
People with this name have a deep inner desire to use their abilities in leadership, and to have personal independence. They would rather focus on large, important issues, and delegate the details.
Expression Number: 5
People with this name are excited by change, adventure, and excitement. They are dynamic, visionary and versatile, able to make constructive use of freedom. They fight being restricted by rules and conventions. They tend to be optimistic, energetic, intelligent, and to make friends easily. They may be changeable, restless, untidy, and rebellious.
All this time, 29 years, I took Kelsey at face value. Thought it was dull and never inquired more deeply.
How often do we do this to ourselves and others? Live on the surface of things. Judge a book by its cover. Pass by ourselves without noticing.
It makes me think of a poem by St. Augustine…
What a beautiful lesson to see that the ordinary is extraordinary and the extraordinary is ordinary.
As humans we have the ability to use our awareness and perspective to see the realness behind things. However, as humans we often get confused or stuck in the mud and miss the point.
But that is our nature and that is our opportunity to learn and grow.
I believe as human beings we are both human and divine (being).
Our humanness allows us to make meaning, connect to ourselves and one another in a profound way. It allows us to chart our destiny and become masters of our ships, all the while knowing there’s a cosmic orchestration at play.
Our divinity, reminds us that we are also part of this grand eternal mystery that is unchanging, immovable, destined to be. It came before us, lives on after us, it is ever present in both its darkness and luminosity.
In Eastern tradition they call this the “Tao”
“Tao is the nameless beginning of things, the universal principle underlying everything, the supreme ultimate pattern and the principle of growth.” ~ Bruce Lee, Artist of Life
In other words, “the truth”.
So whatever is your truth, whether it be in your name, your voice, your identity, your history, your work in the world. I encourage you to explore yourself, make it a self-study.
Inquire deeply into the nature of who you truly are.
Enjoy the journey!
With love, light, and curiosity,
Kelsey Lotus Wong
p.s. you have to be Brave.