Within my dreams this morning, I was walking up stairs while brushing my hand across my face. This motion happened three times, walking up the stairs and brushing my hand across my face. These actions made me think about the removal of our personas, our outwardly exposed faces as we move upward, grow, and ascend.
In my view personas can be both useful and detrimental. On the one hand, a persona can be used to be more descriptive of what is currently happening within our internal world. On the other hand, I find personas are often being used to hide and protect what is actually happening deep within us. In the middle of this, however, is a place to play and experience another way of being or to further experience some aspect of ourselves.
As I think about this further, I notice how names can act as personas that can both be restrictive and freeing. They can communicate something about ourselves but also objectify us, enclose us, restrict us, and form us into specific personas. From within this, I see how I’ve been given names, lived names, and given myself names, mostly in that order.
At birth, I was given the name of “Jamie,” which I actually like as a name that holds both masculine and feminine associations. Within my family, however, I also remember being called “Lulu Bell” and “Jame Jame” among others. But then, growing up within difficult situations also brought the names of “Ugly,” “Stupid,” and “Lazy,” to name a few. Moving further within our culture, I might also be described through the personas of “Girl,” “Daughter,” “Woman,” “Wife,” “Cat Mom,” “Divorcee,” “Single,” etc.
Past these initial naming conventions and associations, we often also take on the personas of the jobs we do in the world. Within this category, I’ve been given the personified names of “Bookkeeper,” “Systems Analyst,” “Program Support Specialist,” “Volunteer,” and “Gardener.”
In experiencing these names so far, I’m guessing that you have ideas or judgements of what these look like, which may or may not be true. For instance, although I was a “Bookkeeper,” what I really did was count and balance cash register tills. As a “Gardener,” I mostly pull weeds and haul mulch.
Beyond these given names, there are also names we can give ourselves. The first name I gave myself, as a young adult, was “James,” which seemed to come with my desire to be acknowledged as more than just female. Then, within more recent years, I’ve taken the name a of “Cedar StarSpirit,” as was suggested by my spiritual guides. In between this, I’ve also invoked different names in attempts to describe what I do, as I named myself a “Reconnective Pathfinder,” a “Shamanic Art Therapist,” and a “Holistic Life Guide.”
Of greater interest to me, however, have been the names that others have used to describe me in reverence to who they see within me. With this respect, I have received the names of “Shaman,” “Hermaphroditic Warrior,” and “Cave Keeper.”
So, today, before we begin to remove or shift our personas, I simply suggest recognizing the levels of personification through the kinds of names I have been describing here. What names have you been given? What names have you given yourself? What names have you been given in reverence from spirit or from others?