Now And Ever Bodhi

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The story of how after a lifetime of the name Bruce Cohen feeling so wrong, Bodhi was given his true name.

A smiling photo of Bodhi when he was Bruce as a baby.
You named me WHAT???

On August 18, 2015, my name legally evolved to Bodhi Jeffreys.

I was born with a name that never felt right. I never felt like a Bruce Cohen (Bruce Jeffrey Cohen). It's a fine name, and I'll be auctioning it off on Ebay, but it just never resonated with me. Worse, hearing it was irritating at a very deep level.

In college, I used stage names when playing music in clubs. I used Bruce Jeffreys for a while and it was better but still not right for me. I even tried Joshua Blakely, but discovered that I didn't have enough chest hair to pull that off.

My dear sister even ran a "Name That Bruce" contest. We received over 70 entries, some of which were so funny, but alas, nothing showed up.

Forward decades to 4 years ago. The name thing still haunted me. And for a guy who's work in the world depends on him being clear, this sure eluded me. Timing not right? Couldn't get out of my own way? Bad name karma for that time during the Ming Dynasty when I named my child Boobiedoo?

The Gift

But in 2011, in a sacred ceremony, Simone and I gave each other names — names we could grow into over the next span of our lives and work. We agreed to choose names that would start with the first letter of our first names, S, B.

I chose Shanti for her and she chose Bodhi for me. Without sharing the names with anyone else, 4 years we used those names exclusively with each other. She became Shanti and I became Bodhi. If felt so right.

The name Bodhi written in Sanskrit.

Every time she called out to me it was like a sweet song playing. It was vibrationally resonant,as though I'd stepped into a new frequency, my true vibration.

In late May, 2015, as her life force was slipping away and the time was nearing where she could no longer speak, she looked at me tenderly and said, "Bodhi my dear, you do realize that when I'm gone there will be no one to call you by your true name? It's time to tell the world who you are." 

It was a devastatingly painful moment....and liberating.

It took a month of being with this, working it out, processing anything that was in the way of clarity and freedom to reach the moment of absolute surrender. Then elation. Got in my car and off to the courthouse I went.

What's In A Name?

The name Bodhi written in Pali.

Bodhi is often mistranslated as enlightenment. Closer is awakened. But the purest translation is "true nature of things". Jeffreys comes from the English, "Godfrey" which comes from the Germanic, "Gotafrid", which means "peace of God". For me, the translation is "freedom". And this is what my work and path in the world has always been about: The true nature of things and freedom.

As with so many things, Simone's intuition was spot on. This is a name I can spend the rest of my life growing into, more and more deeply. And it finally feels right.

Now, and ever, Bodhi

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