What’s up with my name?

Naima

There seem to be many ways to pronounce it.  I use Ny-eema.  Many people have told me their interpretation of the name: “blessed”, “delight”, “peaceful”, “graceful”, “that fresh feeling when you get out of the shower”.  But my favorite is “spiritual friend”.

Despite my name having a sort of “hippie” sounding ring, I did not chose this name toward the end of a long and hallucinogenic Rainbow Gathering.  Don’t get me wrong…I’ve been to Rainbow Gatherings, but I left there with the same name I went in with.

No, the name came to me from my mother.  Here’s the full story.

Sometime between 1961 and 1965 (details from this period of my Mother’s life are vague – very, very, vague) my mother heard John Coltrane, one of the greats of the Jazz world, play the song “Naima” at the Jazz Workshop in San Francisco.  During this phase of my mother’s life she lived in the center of eight burned out redwood trees, somewhere near Big Sur, California.  She would hitchhike into San Francisco, wait tables, go to jazz shows, or other gatherings, then hitchhike back down Highway 1 – back to the trees.  She bathed in a small whirlpool in the forest,  not far from the eight redwoods.  When she heard Coltrane play “Naima”, she fell in love with the song. Specifically, at the end of the song there is a crescendo, a climbing scale culminating in a beautiful note. This “whirling” in the song transported her back to that whirlpool she frequented in the forest, and she vowed to name her first-born daughter after that song.  Enter, Me!

Naima, the song, performed live in 1965, by John Coltrane.

Trivia: the song was named after Coltrane’s first wife, Juanita Naima Grubbs.

This one, is from his Giant Steps album, my favorite version.

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9 Comments on “What’s up with my name?”

  1. Michelle says:

    Do you remember when I came in to work all excited to tell you your name was the same as a Coltrane song! HA!

    Like

  2. Melissa says:

    A beautiful song and a beautiful woman you are!

    Like

  3. katherine says:

    Just listened to the song while catching up on your posts. See you later, Beautiful!

    Like

  4. very nice, spiritual friend!

    Like

  5. What a wonderful testament to your mother’s creativity that she took a meaningful space and time in her life and named you after it. Thanks for sharing that beautiful story.

    Like


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