I got a call from a young woman asking if it would be okay if she joined my class. She explained as a child, she was injured in a fire that left limited movement in one leg. I told her she would be most welcome to join the class and explained our emphasis was not on the body, but on the effort, the focus, and the breath. She liked my response and said she would come to the next class. When I asked her name, she replied, “Faith Strongheart.” I said, it was a great name and then asked what her parents named her. She said, “Faith Strongheart.” I responded with some gurgling clearing my throat sound and said something like, “that’s amazing”. Faith started attending my classes every week and she did have some limitations, but her commitment was beautiful to watch.

Once a month I offered an early morning sadhana. We would all show up at 5 in the morning to stretch, do yoga, meditate and align ourselves with our highest potential. This spiritual discipline is a great way to prepare for each day. On the morning of our sadhana Faith shows up with her younger brother, who had never done Kundalini Yoga. This intense early morning experience was to be his first taste of the challenge of Kundalini Yoga. I figured if he was half as determined as his sister, he would do well. When I asked his name, he introduced himself as Dependable Hickory, but most people called him Hickory. With a big grin on my face, he confirmed this was the name his parents gave him. He did a great job and even went on to join the teacher training I offered in Santa Fe in 1993.

On another occasion, Faith and Hickory came to class with another young woman they introduced as their sister. Her name was Hallelujah. She informed me she usually goes by Lulu.  These sorts of things were common in Santa Fe as it was a spiritual crossroads with both a history and a future helping people connect to their souls. Faith did have a strong heart, Hickory was resilient and Lulu did celebrate life. They were all remarkable people with a clear presence of knowing at least, part of their purpose for this life.

Hickory eventually decided he wanted everyone to call him by his full name, Dependable Hickory. He had a strong personality, like the strength of the actual wood, hickory, which is used to make baseball bats and handles for axes. Dependable Hickory had grown away from Kundalini Yoga and begun following another spiritual tradition. After a long journey in India, he decided he wanted to teach Kundalini Yoga again but had a problem. So he wrote to me to say he had thrown away his teacher’s manual, and could I send him another. I did.

I have not heard from any of these remarkable people in more than 20 years, but I am certain they are doing great things wherever they happen to be. Have you ever considered giving yourself another name? One that will help you live your life to the fullest? In case you like the idea but have not a clue what to call yourself, I offer a suggestion. In our tradition, Yogi Bhajan trained one woman to access a person’s destiny and retrieve their spiritual name. I don’t know how she does this but trust the process. This is a free service, although they do welcome a donation. A person’s spiritual name is also known as their destiny name. Here is the link if you are interested. https://www.3ho.org/spiritual-names/request-spiritual-name



Note: In doing a search for Hickory I came across a short film he acted in, which is not surprising as he was acting on stage when I knew him as a teenager. The film, called Linda, as in Beautiful, was directed in 2007 by his sister Faith. Hope to get to see this film one day. Hickory in white with friend Alex.

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