The Meaning of Names

Peace of Eden Series no. 1

My birth name is Mandy, it means 'loveable and worthy to be loved'. I think my mother hoped that I would grow into it one day, but the name has often sat a little lopsided and sometimes slipped right off!

I value the practise of early aboriginal tribespeople, who did not have a name for life, it keeps changing with each new life transition. When my journey of self-discovery began I called myself 'wildtree': 'wild' because I was just that, a little uncontained and longing for an increasing sense of liberation like the wild dogs I studied; and 'tree' because my heart was in the right place - wanting to be a deeply rooted soul, providing rest, fruitfulness and shelter for those who nested in my branches or rested at my roots. I discovered emotional healing is like peeling an onion, it seems to happen layer by layer, and as I have been through each life transition, I have also kept changing my 'tribal' name! I became 'butterflybird' having metamorphosed liked a butterfly struggling out of cocoon constrictions, strengthening jellyfish wings, to fly with invigorated sprite like the spunky orangebreasted sunbird, endemic to the Western Cape. The wisdom of the elephants I next observed lead to me calling myself 'elealoe', then 'humpbackhope' after a favorite humpbacked dolphin singularly swimming his intonated message to me through the warm waters off the Mozambican coast of Ponto D'Ouro. Finally, I am 'Figela'. 'Figela' in several African languages means, 'I have arrived', and having met the cuddly, cute meerkats, the variously talented meerkatman and the friendly town of Oudtshoorn, with its mountainous surrounds, I feel like I have found my roots and an integrated sense of belonging.

As you can tell from my many name-changes I have been privileged to take many paths along my own journey of self-discovery, maturation and healing. My own professional theories as a psychotherapist have expanded to include the wilderness spaces I love and the animals with social behavior that teach me so much. I would like to share with you, week-by-week, what they have shared with me, in a series called, 'peace-of-eden'. For you see, I believe that genetically and spiritually we evolved in adaptation to nature, and we do not live so comfortably with the stresses and strains of city life and westernized lifestyles. Maybe we can dialogue together. If there are questions you would like to ask, opinions you would like to share, please email them to me. See you next week when I would like to tell you about the 'meerkat on guard'!