Hi! My name is Bindi. This is the story of why I’m changing my name. This is a vast transition I’ve been undergoing the last few years and a statement I have been undervaluing (until now!) 🙂
With this post comes nervousness, awkwardness, and yet a deep and necessary empowerment, authenticity and sense of relief. It feels important. And it feels like the right time. I’m coming out of the (name) closet! Woo!
At birth, my parents lovingly named me Britney Leigh Stables. And my whole life, I have felt deeply disconnected from my whole legal name that my parents gave me for various personal reasons.
Giving a child a name— what a pressure for a parent! I mean, this human will both give and receive this name millions of times in their life. It is the first layer of identity that they present to the world. It affirms so much of their identity, family, history, lineage etc. So of course out of so much love and care my parents named me.
And I thank my parents deeply for the name they gave me so sweetly at my birth, and the name that I was called for nearly 20 years.
But I have been reborn a thousand times already in this life.
And I’m taking this opportunity to name my own newborn self.
WHY I’M CHANGING MY NAME
Well, first I should mention that my name is already changed. Half of the people reading this post know me as Bindi (having probably met me sometime in the last 5 years.) And the other half of you have known me from before 5 years ago as Britney.
Since I went to India 6 years ago, this name has been with me and I have identified with this name in certain circles or when meeting new people. However, it wasn’t until I moved to Bali, where nobody knew me, and had any preconceived ideas of who I am or the name that points to who I am, that very naturally and effortlessly I embraced this name as my sole identity.
I’ve been here nearly 2 years, so I have been exclusively “Bindi” for nearly 2 years now and loving it.
So why exactly am I changing my name?
Simply put, the name I was given at birth doesn’t reflect who I am.
I am inspired by the quote “Don’t mistake the finger pointing at the moon for the moon.” Or “The word is not the thing.”
Words merely point towards the reality of something. But the word in and of itself is not the something. Names are merely reference points in this vast, infinite existence.
But too, words— names, are powerful. Words hold vibration, intention, and meaning. And when repeated, they create a certain vibration. A resonance. An essence.
Like the finger pointing at the moon, I know that I am not the mere name that points to Who I Really Am.
But Bindi points closer to the Truth of Who I Am than any other word I have ever known.
And I want to Be and embody “Bindi”, and all that that signifies in my own heart.
THE HUMOROUS EVOLUTION OF “BINDI”
Life gave me the name Bindi. Growing up, my younger sister so graciously gifted me the worst possible nicknames. It evolved from “Brit” to “Bert” to “Bertna” to “Gerts” to “Trendy Brendy” “Girty” and so on. (I have no idea the evolution of these nicknames or the process behind their creation… hahah) But they were all terrible!
Eventually, one day “Bindi” popped out of her mouth. I had no idea what that word meant at the time, but I knew I didn’t hate it, and I begged that if she had to call me something, that Bindi was okay.
Then, fast forward several years later, when I was barely 18 years old, I went to India.
Now – sometimes, Guru’s will gift a spiritual name to a disciple to declare their spiritual connection and the entering into, and committing to a new life on the spiritual path. This is sometimes considered a second birth, being initiated into a new name and new identity, which is one with God.
However, my own story is certainly more comical than it is mystical. I had an Indian teacher, who couldn’t pronounce my name – Britney. The “r” wasn’t working for him, so it would come out as “Bidni” – which evolved from his own Indian familiarity of the word, into “Bindi.” It was more of a sweet joke or nickname for ease of communication than a mystical adornment of a spiritual name transmitted from guru to student.
Yet still, how curious that life gave me this name… twice! I am choosing this name for myself, but first, this name chose me.
THE MEANING OF BINDI
And then— I discovered the meaning of the beautiful word Bindi. You may know of the word “bindi” as a decorative jewel worn on the foreheads of Indian women, or as a more common name for a woman in Australia (aka Bindi Irwin,) or my Aussie friends may know a bindi as a prickly thorn that get’s stuck in your feet. Haha!
In yogic circles, a bindi is worn on the forehead over the third eye, or Anja Chakra, as a focal point for an incredibly important energy center in where one focuses their awareness to experience higher states of awareness, and attain self-realization.
But to me it’s so much more.
Bindi is derived from the Sanskrit word “Bindu” meaning dot or point.
In the Om symbol, the Bindu represents the Turiya state— Absolute Consciousness. And denotes the blissful state of silence which comes after the Om.
In the Sri Yantra it represents the union of Shiva & Shakthi into One. Which signifies all of Creation and Existence.
It embodies the essence of Yoga, Oneness, or Absolute Union. All things are born from the Bindu, and merge back into the Bindu.
It is the small, simple, humble little dot from which all vast, infinite and mystical existence begins, is unified and returns to.
It reminds me of Who I Really Am. I am Oneness, Nothingness and Infinity. I am a humble dot, which is All. I am a small hologram of the entire cosmos— therefore I am the cosmos and the cosmos is I.
Now – before my sweet extended family and high school friends write me off thinking I’ve definitely joined a cult, or gone down the rabbit hole, and that this is non-sense… it too is just a pretty new name that I like the sound of, regardless of it’s meaning and symbology!
THE POWER OF WORDS & IDENTITY: USING NAME & FORM TO TRANSCEND IT
We are not the name we have. Who We Really Are is far beyond and greater than what any words can portray.
Some of you may think – it’s just a name. So what if I don’t like your name? Let the name you were given be good enough.
But consider other social circumstances?
Consider gender, sexual, racial or religious identity for example.
If someone was born as a male – meaning, with the anatomy of a male, and later transitions or discovers in life that they are female (either biologically, mentally, or with use of surgeries or hormone therapies etc.) Meaning – their assigned gender does not match their own individual gender identity or expression.
Consider the awkwardness or confusion of knowing that you’re a man, and constantly having people call you or confuse you for a woman. And refer to you as “she” and “her.” When that isn’t how you identify or express yourself. You’re a man.
Or of being born and raised a Canadian citizen with tan skin and brown eyes and hair and people constantly identifying them as another ethnicity and ask them where they come from. And they’ve never been outside of Canada. Their assumed nationality does not match their individual identity.
Or being a homosexual man, and constantly having people make assumptions and comments presuming that they are attracted to women. Would that not feel awkward? Their expected sexual preference does not match their individual identity.
Imagine being born and raised in a religious household (for example, Christian,) and later in life discover that you really like yoga or you feel connected to spirit through chanting mantras, or you are inspired by Buddha, or you like tarot cards, or religion doesn’t serve you and you become an atheist— but your family still expects you to go to church every Sunday, and your community calls you a Christian! The religious identity imposed on you does not match your spiritual identity.
Surely, the people in these examples don’t always want to always defend their identity. It’s tiring. And it can be easier to just accept the wrong assumptions people make of your identity. On a small scale, it might just be slightly uncomfortable or awkward. In more intense cases, it can lead to depression or social anxiety, or isolation or resentment to avoid the constant confusion and assumptions about people’s projections of who they think you are.
In the same way, my assigned name does not match my identity or expression of my identity.
Let’s be open to the possibility of someone defining their own identity, and allowing one’s identity to evolve in time! Let’s be receptive to supporting our friends and families evolving and changing identity and expressions.
THE PROCESS OF CHANGING MY NAME
Bindi is my “real” name. Over time, I have already begun this transition formally, and one day will transition it legally, but haven’t quite yet for 3 reasons…
1. I live in Indonesia, and not only would it be a lengthy, difficult and expensive procedure, it could create massive confusion with my work permit here/passport/residency etc.
2. If in the future, I choose to take another last name (Cameron’s for example,) I would only want to change my name once because of how big of a process it is. So I’m still reflecting upon what rings true in my heart for a last (or a middle) name… but that’s a whole other post.
3. I am still reflecting upon whether it’s necessary to change it in a legal matter. If I truly know that I am not the name that points at who I am, then there is no need to change my name. I am a bit challenged because part of me says “yes! Definitely change your name legally. That’s who you are.” And the other part of me says, “Silly you, you aren’t your name. Call yourself whatever you want, words cannot express the essence of who you really are.”
SUMMARY IN THIS VERY LOOONG ESSAY
Long story short…
Yes— I go by the name Bindi. That is how I introduce myself.
Yes— that’s my “real” name. Meaning that’s what I go by.
No— it’s not just a spiritual name that I use in spiritual circles or a nickname just for close friends. This is my actual name. In fact, I get confused when people call me Britney these days.
Yes— you can please call me Bindi, and it would mean so much to me if you would!
No— I won’t be upset if you call me Britney… I understand that this is what some people have known me as for a very long time. However, I would appreciate it vastly if my friends and family were open, receptive and supportive of this transformation. Something that means so much to me.
CONCLUSION OF THIS VERY LONG ESSAY
In the Highest Truth, our True Self transcends beyond all labels and forms. We are not our name, or body, or gender, or sexual orientation, or country of origin, or political preference or religious views etc. We are beyond the beyond. However, these factors of identity can be valuable in helping us navigating, relating and communicating through the world.
And personally, I am hopeful that by expressing the desire to identify myself with a particular name, I am hopeful that I’ll discover that even the name Bindi isn’t who I really am. I hope to realize that that too is just a name.
But for now it’s a more accurate arrow that points to Who I Am.
Thank you so much for your love and support on this journey.
I hope that in sharing this journey perhaps someone may find inspiration in fully embracing all aspects of who they really are, and how they wish to show up in the world. Perhaps someone may find empowerment to claim forgotten or hidden parts of their own self and identity in a way that feels right for them. Be it a name or a gender, sexual, racial, religious, name etc. identity.
Can anyone else relate to this? Were you given a name at birth that you don’t feel like you can relate to or identify with? To what extent does your name reflect who you are? Have you ever thought of changing your name?