When you were born, somebody gave you a name. It could have been your mom, your dad, your grandparent, your adopted parent, your surrogate parent, maybe even a total stranger -- but some person other than you gave you an identity.
Independent of whatever meaning you have given or not given to your name, it is a word by which people recognize you. My name is Rupa. It's an Indian name that means "beautiful," and according to old German roots it also means "bright fame."
Jeez, that'd be nice if the German part comes true! Ultimately, It's up to me to decide if the meaning of "Rupa" will dictate what I see in the mirror and my life goals. How will the name "Blue Ivy" shape Beyonce and Jay-Z's daughter? (And will her famous parents save her from getting beat up on the playground?) The couple even tried to trademark the name for a future baby clothing line! (They weren't able to -- already taken by a Boston event planner.) And, did you know Elton John was born Reginald Kenneth Dwight?
My point is this: For some, their name can help them choose a life path. For others, a name is so inaccurate it must be legally changed.
Although I believe in the practicality, symbolism and familial history offered by a given name, I also believe there should be a word that we give ourselves that's all our own -- a self-given word that reflects our own spirit.
If your spirit were one word, what would it be?
Now that I've posed the question, are you tempted to choose one immediately? But there are so many words! How do you know which one is yours? Is there a right or wrong answer? Can you really imagine having only one word to define and drive your identity and your life?
Think about, just for a moment, all of the words you live with and by. It's daunting to think of all the words we have been exposed to in our lives and even more overwhelming to think of choosing one for our spirit.
Imagine having only one word to guide your moral compass, your actions, your inner peace and your resolve. I have proposed that if your spirit is healthy, you have lost the weight of words. I want to take it one step further and state that if you can connect to your one word, and live your one word to the fullest, you will live your greatest life.
Let's look at the definition of spirit:
Spirit: the vital principle of a person, the non-physical part of a person, the soul, regarded as a person's true self.
So... is your vital principle reading this post? Is your vital principle talking to your partner at night? Is your vital principle hanging out at the copier machine at work? Is your vital principle talking to your mom over the phone? Does your vital principle introduce itself at the bar? Do people know your vital principle? Do you know your vital principle?
My one word that defines and drives my life is "connect." My one word, like my name, is my identity.
Ever since I was a little girl I have wanted to connect. Whether it was joining numerous arts or talking nonstop to anyone that would listen, I have always thrived on connecting to people, even imaginary people! As a child, I pretended to have more siblings just to play a more connected form of make-believe. I continue to ask myself questions about my connection to the world. Why am I the way I am? Why did I choose to live in New York? How do other people grow up? Why did I become a teacher? What are the life experiences of others? Why did I write this post? And it is this drive to connect with people and to my life experiences that makes the word -- connect -- resonate within me.
When I'm unmotivated to teach class, I think of my one word; when I'm uninspired by my life, I think of my one word; when I'm reluctant to reach out to someone, I think of my one word; when I'm planning my future, I think of my one word -- my one word motivates, inspires, drives, and guides me. Following my one word is an emotional "diet" plan that keeps me healthy. Being led by my one word makes me feel hopeful and free and allows me to drop the weight of life. My one word is a compass that allows my spirit to manifest into anything I want it to.
After all, it's my one word that led me to connect to you.
We've been exploring the weight of words in my past posts, and finding your one word is the magic ingredient in the emotional diet recipe we're creating. If you can define your vital principle in one word and are able to live your word truthfully in all aspects of your life, then your spirit will feel strong and healthy.
What's your one word?
For more by Rupa Mehta, click here.
For more on the spirit, click here.