Monday, April 30, 2007


'Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What's Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call'd,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
And for that name which is no part of thee
Take all myself.
Leila’s Musings on Names

In response to a discussion and question posted by Barbara Ann O'Leary, who founded her online Evoking Authenticity community forum, I have journeyed into the question: What is a Name?

What is a Name?
When musing on this question, I think of the Bard’s famous lines, quoted above. Are they true? Is it perhaps, that a rose by any other name is not the same?

I feel that there is something vital, something essential (as in of the essence), something true and authentic about our Name.
I capitalize Name because it seems to command a certain respect. Name. In the beginning was the NAME. And the name contained the energy of the named.

Certainly we exist before we are named. It’s not that naming is preter-phenomenal to our existence, but it seems that naming is a distinctive moment in our existence. As if, that thing there, this thing here is hereby this essence named this!

So, I existed as something, some form of energy before my mother said you are Leila. But in the naming moment, something clicks, and voila! There is Leilaness about me and all other Leilas , just as there is Janiceness about youJanices, and Barbaraness about all Barbaras, and Adamness about all Adams.

I see it as something similar to being born under a star sign. I mean, come on, there are only 12 sun signs, but there are 6 billion or more of us on the planet right now! So, there is something Piscean about me, that is true for all Pisces, naturally, as with each of the 12 signs. There is something essential in the energy pattern that is associated with a name, a sign. It seems that a lot more energy has gone into researching and cataloging the various characteristics of astrological signs than names. While there are many resources for the meaning and origin and historical use (etymology) of names, I think there is something that we, as the Named, have personal experience that can speak to what it is to be with the names we acknowledge.

I really don’t see Names as labels. Leila is not a label for me. Writer or dancer or poet are labels/roles. But, I find that my Name does not feel like a label.

What’s in a Name? The Power of Naming

It seems that a Name can contain Secrets to patterns that our being takes, tends to take, can take.. potentials (dormant or active), a flavor of being, a title, an identifier, an identity (but not always).

It’s interesting that there is so much energy put into naming, the act of giving a Name, of naming something… that energy goes somewhere.. into the named, into the subject, who now embodies something, some force, some essence, some part of the energy of that naming, of the Name.

I like the idea of considering that name is a verb and a noun. I Name myself the Name, Leila.
And thus, contain some essence of that which is Leila-ish.

When I looked up “name” at
I was fascinated with the synonyms, and the thesaurus references. Words I saw there, that struck me as interesting, include: Appellation, Moniker, Title, Designation, Sign, Character, Distinction , Reputation (like, the name you’ve made for yourself…)
Name as verbal or symbolic representation really stood out to me. I like the symbolic aspect. For years I’ve researched the meaning, origin, history, and occurrence of my birth name, Leila. It’s meant a tremendous amount to me to have a relationship with my name, to feel my acceptance and recognition of it is intentional and authentic, true to me, and who I feel I am.

You see, I’m 100 % certain that I would be very different if I were not given the name and lived with the name and identified with the name, Leila. Over the years, I have learned that my name, Leila, means many things in many languages, but some of the common themes are dark purple, the dark of night, the play of the cosmos, and soulful love.
I've given these meanings a lot of thought, meditation, and attention. I've explored what it means to be or feel, express and embody those things. In some ways, the meaning of my name has guided me, informed me, and inspired me.
What can I learn from the meaning of my name, I've asked. How am I embodying the qualities of my name that I aspire to? Am I truly Leila? How can I be more Leila? Am I .. Authentically Leila?
And in a lot of this exploration I discovered that my signature changed. I have signed my signature like this since I was a teenager:

It's like a giant, spiraling adventure and question with a lot of exclamation and distinction. It seems very much like me! And it looks like it's dancing and transforming.

It was interesting to play with what I found in the etymology and history of names.
I found Shakti Gawain’s explanation of her name in her book, Living in the Light. She talks about how it was a process, an adventure, and that over the years she started being called Shakti, and it stuck, until one day she realized she identified herself and thought of herself as Shakti, and had her name legally changed.

Whatever naming is and names are, what our names mean and the energy they carry definitely affects us.
One thing is for sure: there is a distinct power in naming, claiming, and recognizing a Name.

Do you know what your name means? What is your relationship to your name? How do you claim it, be it, identify with it? Have you changed your name? If you were to change your name, what would it be?

Can you experience yourself beneath your name?
Absolutely! That’s just it! I do not think that I am only my name, Leila. I am not just that. It, Leilaness, is part of me. But there is more me, all of me, that is not just Leila.
I live day to day with the awareness of the being here, this being here that experiences this here like this right now that is not just Leila but is also Leila.

Usually, for me, Leila is a subject that is experiencing things. The Leila part of me is the character in the adventure, the protangonist in my life story, the heroine on her journey.

There is definitely a God here, a Divine presence, a spirit and conglomeration of benevolent, compassionate, and wise beingness in me, that I do not attribute to the unique flavor of Leila. But, as Leila, I can describe the experience, communicate about it, share with you about it, express it, and cherish it.

And there is nothing inauthentic about being Leila and noticing the notLeila. In the end, I really feel it’s all one. All one. And I just look at reality through this peephole most the time.

I feel this is authentically delivered in the spirit of musing on a subject I’ve always been fascinated by: Names!
By the Named, Leila and all the unnamed beingness herein!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Talking about names... MY NAME IS LEILA TOO!