What’s In a Name?

When I was born, I didn’t have a name.  I didn’t have any parents so I laid in a crib for 10 days with a tag that read “Baby Girl Mulgrew.”

Kate, who had given me up for adoption, held a name for me in her own heart.  “Phoebe Columba Mulgrew”.   She later introduced me with that name to her sons, when they were young boys, who then began to dream of their sister Phoebe who was out there somewhere, who they hoped to meet someday.  It kind of feels to me like Phoebe became a spirit of her own and lived a life of her own, in a sense, before I came a long to take her place. I even had a dear friend once who I felt a strong Soul connection with tell me that since the time he was young he felt he would meet someone named Phoebe and she would be a very important person to him.  He went on to tell me that I looked and acted just like her, in fact he was certain that I was her.  However, that friend later made some choices and actions that caused us to go in separate directions and our friendship to come to an end.  I also kind of feel that the spirit of Pheobe Columba Mulgrew went with him.

My parents gave me the name of “Danielle Marie Gaudette”.  My father chose it.  Since his parents were French and French Canadian, I suppose he wanted me to have a French name :). I like this name because I love it’s meaning.  It is of course the female derivative of the name Daniel, whose meaning comes from the Biblical story of Daniel in the Lion’s Den.  Do know this story?

From what I understand, Daniel, a Jew, was an adored assistant to the king. He was a sincere, gentle and pure-hearted man of faith who prayed ardently and often to his God.  One day, due to unrest among his people and manipulative plotting by another one of the king’s men who was jealous of the king’s love for Daniel, the king suddenly declared that Jews were no longer allowed to pray and anyone caught doing so would be sentenced to death.  Daniel, though loyal, could not let this law come between him and his truest loyalty, his greatest love, which was his loyalty and love to God. So, he continued to pray as usual.  When caught, the angry king gave word to have him thrown into an enclosed den with three lions.  However, hours later the king came rushing back, shouting that he had made a terrible mistake and that the guards were to open the doors immediately. When doing so, they were awe-struck to find Daniel standing there peacefully in the center of the den, his arms raised to Heaven in prayer with the three lions lying quietly by his feet.  They removed him at once from the den. The king, realizing how special Daniel was, then had the other jealous man who had manipulated him thrown into the den.  He was torn apart by the lions in seconds.

Therefore, the name Danielle means ‘Judged Only By God,’ just as Daniel’s fate was determined by God alone. And this resonates so true to my heart.  I have had so many hardships in this lifetime and have been handed so many lemons.  I have been so often unable to deliver my heart as I truly wanted and have been misunderstood and even sometimes mistreated by others.  However despite that, I have always felt that the loving light of God has been with me – shining brightly in my heart as the Light of my Soul – guiding me through every situation and each one of life’s turns.  I too feel that I can be judged only by the Great Eye and Mind of the Cosmos, who is taking care of me according to my heart’s deepest intention.

Two summer’s ago I received a new name, a spiritual name, from my teacher.  That name is “Johwatong” . The meaning that came with this name is more like a mission, a purpose, and it goes like this:

Create harmony and connect with everyone.  Live inside of energy and share energy.  Heal the world through healing yourself and those who are around you.

So now I have some students and fellow instructors who call me by this name.  Whenever they do, it reminds me of a bigger role and a bigger me.  It expands me and makes my heart light up.  I can feel my potential stirring inside.

Once I heard my teacher say that, “The biggest obstacle to your Enlightenment is your first, middle and last name.”  He didn’t say it directly to me but to a room full of people at a conference in Sedona.  As I live my life and do my practice, I feel this to be so true.  It is my attachment to the self that I have built around my name – the identity that I have falsely come to believe is my true identity – that blocks me from meeting with who I really am, living as that Love in the world, and creating my life from that place.

All of my names have become a great meditation and reflection for me.  But I know deep down that the real me exists far beyond any of them.  The real me is nameless and wordless. Infinite.


6 Thoughts.

  1. Names do not necessarily define a person as the meanings can be completely off. I come from a family of four adopted children. My brother’s name is Daniel so I know the meaning behind it as well. He was given the name after my adoptive father Michael, whose name is Michael Daniel. His middle name is his birth first name of Alexander. My other brother Brendan has the name of Brendan Michael Jonathan Paul, though for a lot of legal stuff they only put Brendan Michael. His first name was after Franciscan Friar Father Brendan Cullen who was actually my uncle. Jonathan Paul was my brother’s birth name. I am of French Canadian, Native American (together known as Metis or Micmac) Irish, Scottish and British descent, raised by Irish-British parents. My birth name was Rebecca Albert and I am still called by it(my birth first name) by some family but I am known as Taya. On my birth mother’s obituary, my birth name was stated as I told you previously because what mother is going to state that four of her 8 children were taken, not given up freely? None. The name Rebecca is nice but its meaning never has defined me, which is why the name Taya was chosen. It has more than one meaning in different languages. I feel like I was someone before all of this, before I became Rebecca and then Taya. People will scoff at the idea of reincarnation or even believing in the unknown. But I believe that there is a possibility that I existed at least once before with an entirely different name. It might sound weird to you or to others reading this, but it is me. Within my soul is another name entirely.

    • I understand what you feel Taya. I am sure that within your soul you can sense your true self. Thank you for your sharing ~ 🙂

  2. Interesting. I have never thought about the meaning of my name or if it might define me. And since we basically share the same name that was very enlightening. 🙂 Funny enough, it was also my dad who chose my name. My mama had something different in mind but that was also the name of a rocket produced by the ESA at that time. And my papa refused to name his little girl after a rocket. I am still grateful for that.

  3. Have you ever had the problem that people wanted to abbreviate your name? I was faced with that constantly while I was growing up and I absolutely hated it! 🙂 I have always liked my name and have never understood the necessity to shorten it to Dani. 🙂

    • Yes, I don’t like the nickname Dani either. Not many people called me that – maybe once and a while. And sometimes people called me “D” but only the closest people too me so I didn’t mind that one 🙂 Otherwise, I also much prefer Danielle!

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