FLOURISH BLOG: Providing tools and (true) stories for creating an inspired, intuitive life.
Every day of our lives, even without knowing it we use our names to define who we are. The first thing we do when we meet someone new is introduce ourselves: “Hi, I’m Aimée- who are you?” It’s such a common place thing that for the most part we don’t even consider it. Think about it, every time you introduce yourself you are affirming qualities about yourself. Do you know what these are? What characteristics are hidden in these words that are so close to you, you believe they are you?
We are about to take a journey that will lead you on the path to discovering what pearls of wisdom are behind the names that you call you.
People’s relationships with their names are as varied and as intricate as creatures on the earth. Some seem to fit their names, while others have names that you just can’t seem to remember because they don’t seem like a “Darrell.”
I have a friend named Sarah, whose name never seem to me to fit her. I asked her about this recently and she told me that she was born with a different name. The moment she said this other name, I could see the energy around her body illuminate. I could feel it’s fullness at the presence of that name. She was a Laura, not a Sarah.
Others change their names, giving themselves a self-proclaimed outlook on life, or perhaps a name that is more suited to their essence. I know an old woman who is called Heron. She was born Bette. She told me the story of her name once, of how for years she admired the herons along the beach headlands watching their daily rituals and appreciating their focus. And then one day at a gathering she surprised even herself by introducing herself as “Heron.” Almost with the same quickness that a heron strikes at a fish, the name jumped out of her mouth. She’s been Heron ever since.
Still others seem to come into their names naturally, like a girl into womanhood. I hated my middle name, Colette, growing up. It was completely out of the ordinary and it felt like a foreign object on my tongue. On top of that, I once discovered in a baby name book that it meant “necklace.” “What is that supposed to mean,” I thought, “I’m a necklace? That is so lame!”
Years later while thinking about it as I biked down the road I discovered what my middle name meant to me. “Necklace,” I thought. “Something worn about the neck, another name for the neck is throat, a throat is used for speaking. Ahh-haa! Someone who uses her voice!” In a life increasingly filled with public speaking and writing, this hit home for me. Perhaps I had finally grown into it.
Names have always held special significance. In times past it was common for a person’s name to identify their profession or special qualities they had. Karen Carpenter for example, would have meant Karen the Carpenter, not Karen the singer! Today it is still possible of course to tell place of origin and lineage from names but they also mean much more.
In some spiritual traditions the power of names is still recognized. Students are given a special name by their teacher that signifies who they are. This name is seen to illumine characteristics of the student or even bestow qualities. In some Sufi traditions, names are even changed as a person evolves.
So what does your name say about you? Here are some tips for discovering the hidden messages behind your name.
Start by looking up the meaning of your name. You can look at baby name books or even on the web. Look at several sources, as you are likely to find some variations. The name Susan for example, depending on what internet site you look at can mean “lily, or rose, or trusting.”
Free associate. “Lily” or “Rose” make me think of gardening, of growing flowers, of growing beautiful things. Think of the qualities of the objects have– they are rooted in the ground. Both have strong and intoxicating fragrances. A rose makes me think of love and romance. Lilies strike me as the actress of flowers- they are very vocal. You don’t need to see a Lily to know it’s in the room- their fragrance is so powerful.
What pathways does this free association lead you down? How do these words or concepts fit your life? Investigate how these links pertain to you. Use a dictionary or other reference sources to look up the words that have jumped out at you and see what other meanings or highlights they bring.
Research the famous people who have had your name. One website notes the name Susan associated with a “woman who ministered to Christ”. Is this Susan a healer? Either ancient or modern references will provide insight. In addition to a famous explorer, my own last name makes me think of the Cartier Jewelers -of diamonds, of one of the strongest gems known. When contemplating your name you might think of famous singers, or marathon runners, or companies- whatever comes to your mind.
Ponder how you have played these roles in your life. Does Susan like being on stage for example? Does she have a natural presence and beauty that is hard to miss? Or is she a gardener? Is she very connected to the earth? Is her life dedicated to growing things- perhaps children? Does she easily make beauty out of a combination of things? Perhaps she is an artist. The possibilities are quite limitless, even from one name. And through investigation you will be able to discover what your name means to YOU.
Look to your own life for examples. Think about the moments that have sparkled and how they relate to the qualities you are uncovering about yourself. They may be as simple as a feeling you get when you did a certain thing or as obvious as a hobby or a way of life that you are already leading. For instance for most of my life I have traveled- from the time I was a teenager I would take trips even to other states or countries on my own. This has always been natural for me. And for most of my
family—at least the ones named Cartier. Despite growing up in the Midwest, my father’s 8 siblings live all over the world, from South Africa to
Alaska. Like the famous Jacques Cartier, exploring is simply in our blood.
Taking an in-depth look at your own name, and what it means to you is a great way to discover or reaffirm your talents and gifts. You may discover things about yourself that you had forgotten, or enlarge images and feelings that you had only glimpsed. At the very least you will recognize what it is you are saying about yourself every time you use your name anew!
Aimée Cartier is a gifted intuitive who works as a freelance writer from her home on Vashon Island, WA. To contact her or share your name discovery story email aimée@aimeecartier.com