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.