Wednesday, December 29, 2004

What's In A Name?


Isaiah isn't my real name. It's Tommy. I was born a Thomas the III, childhood friends called me Top cat, my old band-mates called me TC, I'm known as "dad" to my son, my associates call me Tom and my wife sometimes calls me every name in the book. When I first thought about designing my presence here on the web I knew I didn't want to use my real name because I wanted to free this "Tommy" to do some writing outside of himself. Not that it really matters to anyone but me- but, I caught a breath of freshness taking on the new identity of "isaiah."

Sometimes I think we become confined by our name and identity. The sound of our name, the letters that spell it out, and the years of baggage we have accumulated can act as a holding cell. We become so accustomed to our character that the world becomes old and stale.

The opposite of this can be true as well. The sound of our name from our lover's lips can make us light as air and take us to the edge of ecstasy and over. There's a sweetness that echoes through the house when I hear my son call out, "Hey dad." We create soothing works of music, art, poetry or craft a fine piece of wood- work which we are then compelled to autograph and hold forever as our very own.

So which is the case? Do names confine us or free us? Do we choose to hold on to old notions about our character and limit the roles we can play or can we find the courage to break free from the ego we have created in order to discover new and exciting- limitless possibilities?

One of my favorite quotes is from the great writer Susan Sontag who died yesterday. It helps me to see beyond myself into the realm of the Divine:

"The only interesting answers are the ones that destroy the question."

What is really in a name anyway? Posted by Hello

4 Comments:

Blogger Meredith said...

Dear Isaiah/Tom,
This post reminded me of a poem that actually changed my life. It is titled "In Silence" by Thomas Merton. In this poem, which begins...

Be still
Listen to the stones of the wall.
Be silent, they try
to speak your

Name.
Listen
to the living walls.
Who are you?
Who
Are you?
Whose silence are you?

Oooohhhh I love this poem. It began a line of deep thinking, of deeper 'being' for me. I pondered this question: "Who are you?" I think Merton asks us to "be the question." Holding this question, going deeper and deeper into the silence that is the center of everything, possibly we are able to be the one we do not know. Our familiar name is burned to ashes, setting us free to be who we really are.

I'll send you the full poem if you would like it.
Blessings to you,
M

12:42 PM  
Blogger isaiah said...

Yes, please send the entire poem. It is enchanting, what I have read so far. Did you see the Fall edition of "Parabola" magazine? Some of Merton's photography was featured as well as some of his poetry.

http://www.parabola.org/

1:27 PM  
Blogger robot said...

a rose by any other name would still smell as sweet :)

3:46 AM  
Blogger Trev Diesel said...

"So which is the case? Do names confine us or free us?"

This, like so much else in life, is probably not an either-or predicament.

BOTH-AND.

Thank your for your honesty and your compelling thoughts Isaiah, I mean Tommy, I mean Thomas, I mean Eternal God-Consciousness, I mean I AM

;)

9:36 AM  

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