When I began the journey of inner transformation that these practices inspire, I began to think of myself differently. The internal changes became profound, especially once I started to follow the strict ethical codes of the yamas and niyamas from the yoga system. Living an ethical life was a big part of how I went from being a miserable bitch to engaging the world in a way that I was proud of.
I did two external things that marked these changes that were happening inside me. I cut my hair short and started using my nickname instead of the name on my birth certificate. Changing my name was not a planned decision. A few people over the years had called me Dee, but not many. The day I walked into the first session of yoga teacher training, I looked around at the faces that surrounded me and spontaneously decided to say "Hi, my name is Dee," when it was my turn to introduce myself. In that very moment, something huge shifted.
Introducing myself differently was both exciting and powerfully symbolic. It marked the beginning of a new life, and what eventually turned out to be a new career. It was the first large group of people who'd never known me as anything but Dee... or ever known me as anything but ethical, and spiritual.
Looking back I realize that in order to grow, I needed to become someone else. And my first name needed to change as well. A lot of people in my life found this shift very hard to swallow and, years later, I'm still met with quite a bit of resistance from some. That's okay. Witnessing real change is difficult for people. And it is normal that when you decide to transform, even the most well-intentioned people will push back. It's up to you to insist that you be given respect and space to evolve into the person you want to be.
My intention in sharing this, is to inspire those of you who have aspects of your life that aren't working for you. Know this. Change is possible as well as hard work. Whether it's your level of patience, your job, your relationships, or your given name, it doesn't matter. If you don't like it, you have the power to transform. You are not stuck. Obstacles will present themselves and some in your life won't like it. Too bad. You owe it to yourself to live your best life. You owe it to yourself to find a path of peace and fulfillment.