In October 2010 I changed my name from Karen Murphy to Talyaa Liera. A bold move. This is what I wrote in October 2010:
Names are our most personal possession. It is through our name that we announce to the world who we are. Our name brings what is inside us out and allows people to find a connection to us. In many cultures around the world, one’s first name is reserved for family and close friends and is a private thing shared only in intimacy.
Names carry energy. Our names not only serve as a way to identify and differentiate us from others, but they have energy of their own. When you change your name, can create change in your energy and identity. Ask any woman who has changed her last name through marriage or divorce and she will probably recognize the shifts that took place in her as a result. I know it happened for me. Society recognizes the shift we go through in a change of surname. But change your first name? Who does that?
I wanted to change my first name when I was 11. I believed that the name “Karen” did not define or describe me. True, I was still discovering who I was. I processed my life and thoughts through nightly letters to my cat, Sheba, and tried signing my name different ways in an attempt to express the real me. But what can you do with the name Karen? “We chose your name because it doesn’t rhyme with anything, ” my parents said. “You don’t like it? Too bad. You can change it when you’re 18.” I was crushed. I knew that Karen wasn’t ME. But I didn’t yet know who ME was. I didn’t know my name.
Over the years, from time to time I wondered what my real name was. I knew it wasn’t Karen. I tried on different names. For a while I thought Solara would work until Toyota stole it and named a car after it. I took naming my kids very seriously. I tried to feel into who they were, listening to the voice within me to hear a name whispered on the wind.
When my marriage ended in 2005 I took back my family last name. I needed to complete a circle, to touch again the me that I had once been before I could move on to the me that I am. I knew it was a temporary move.
Everything changed for me this year. From the gift of cancer I looked ever more deeply inward and released things I had been holding onto. More change cameBefore I left on my road trip this past month, I knew that deep change would occur as a result, though I didn’t know in what way. I pointed my car into the rising sun and drove into summer in the Southwest, and there I found things and released still others.
Last month something clicked inside me. It’s time to be myself. It’s time to change my name. The problem I had had at 11 wasn’t in the deciding to change the name, it was in knowing how to choose the right name. How many thousands of names are there in the world? How many more thousands of names could be created? I was vastly overwhelmed at 11.
So I turned to The Kabalarians. They’re a woo-woo-ish group from Vancouver BC that does research on the meanings of names. I found them in the 90’s when I was choosing baby names. The Kabalarians say that names carry energy; this makes total sense to me. They also claim that we feel better and have better lives when we align the energy of our name with the energy of our birth potential. Life purpose. It just made sense. I felt I have a sacred destiny (I believe we all do) and that I could live that destiny more easily if my name expressed the real me. So The Kabalarians gave me a list of names to choose from. Some I hated instantly. Others had possibility. I tried them on. How could I finally know the right name? MY name?
I became 11 again. I asked my Eleven-Self which of the names on my list she wanted. She knew right away this time. Talyaa Liera.
I don’t feel as if I am birthing someone new, but rather that I am now bringing outward the Me that I have been all along.
February 2012: After more than a year as Talyaa, the forty-seven years as Karen seem much farther away now. I AM Talyaa. It is more me than I have ever been. It feels good and it fits.
What about you? Does your name fit you? Have you changed it? What did you feel when you did? Would you ever make a bold change like mine?