In 1998 a friend invited me to write a column in her monthly newsletter -- a real, printed-on-paper-and-mailed newsletter. I called my column Lightspeak Currents.
I'm healthy enough as I approach 80 that I don't think I'm about to disappear, but I have begun collecting written pieces that I think my son and granddaughter might want to read. I wish I'd known what was going on in my mother's and grandmother's hearts.
Today I started going through the collection of those Lightspeak Currents pieces, and lo and behold, I like them! I think I'll share them from time to time here and right now this is the one I'll share first, written sometime between 2002 - 2004, probably. Oh, a bit of background: the name on my birth certificate is Roberta Lynn Rubin. My mother began calling me Bobbie when I was a baby, and it stuck longer than I enjoyed it, though I never liked Roberta, either. I found the name that felt right in 1998, reading Anita Diamant's "The Red Tent" on the Assateague, VA beach. I was going through perimenopause and hadn't bled in eight months. I bled right there on the beach through the thin fabric of my red and white bathing suit, entrained with the women in that red tent. It took me a few years to get up the courage to ask people to call me by my new name, the name that felt like me.
Here it is:
At some time, each of us has come up against a situation which stymies us, and we find ourselves asking, “What would (name your chosen role model) do?” We then find strength in the emulation – actually, the mimicry, as closely as we can manage it – of the stance, the words, the feel, of what She or He Whom we would most like to have take care of the situation would do.
Recently, I started to use the name – Leiah – which I feel most accurately enfolds me. “Leiah” is more sure of herself as a Divinely radiant being than “Bobbie” does, although “Bobbie” knows this is her nature. I did not choose “Bobbie” and have always been a little embarrassed by it, although in truth I did not realize it until this very minute. When I think of myself as Leiah, I feel my back elongate and my shoulders square.
When I introduce myself to someone as Leiah, I feel a clean breeze enlivening my interest in this new person, I smell the invigorating scent of pine and balsam; I know I am completely trustworthy, and feel utterly comfortable and confident in whatever interaction or relationship will follow, because Leiah describes my authentic self.
I no longer ask, “What would my Divine self do?” I check in instead and do what Leiah will do, and enact her. I become Leiah in my determination to live authentically, to side step no longer, I stop pretending that the Divine self, the Divine spirit which gives life to my flesh, is not as close to my lips as the will to open them.
I live as if I were Leiah, and I am Leiah. I am living authentically with my true name.
And so to turn this to you: you do not need to find a new name. But do this: in a moment of spare, clear focus, allow the Great Friend to come to you and embrace you in spirit. Invite the Great Friend into your inner being, to experience life through your body for a short period of time – or for the rest of your life. Notice how your back feels, how your eyes see, and what you want to do or say in that moment.
Now, no matter if the moment passes in a whisper or you fall asleep and awake heavy with dream, or if you bless yourself with complete surrender to the Divine – live as if the Great Friend speaks through you, who sees and hears through you, and you will live authentically. And you will never ask, “What would ….. do?”
Others will ask it about you.