How I Got My Name

Since earliest childhood, I’ve had a spiritual focus. Some day I may write about my conversations with my spiritual guides when I was a child and about the states of reverie I often fell into. This focus continued into my life as a young adult studying, teaching and performing music. When I became a mother, I grew aware of family health concerns and issues that are a threat to the survival of humanity. I turned my focus toward independent research, and became a family advocate and medical writer.

My own hereditary family is made up of materialist-scientists, artist-mystics and working-class persons. In my immediate family, there are outspoken, domineering (dare I say arrogant?) atheist scientists. While I was growing up, I was often criticized and challenged, but while that was incredibly painful at the time, it turned to my advantage when I entered the health arena: I knew how to present my research to the science community in a way that would garner respect and acceptance, and in this way I could make alternative and holistic information available to families.

I have been successful in this goal, and have received the same wonderful reviews for my health books as I have my spiritual books.

Unfortunately, my desire to serve families created an unexpected problem when it came to my spiritual writing. Reluctantly, I accepted the fact that to protect and preserve the value of my health writing, I would have to publish my spiritual books under a pseudonym. This may be hard to understand, but I had to avoid showing my “woo-woo” side to the evidence-based healthcare providers who recommend my books to families. My desire is to serve and affect change in the world, and I don’t want to put my work at risk.

Deciding on the right name for my spiritual books was a creative endeavor. The name should be beautiful and unpretentious, a name I can slip into and feel comfortable in, like a flannel nightgown.

I searched my memory.

“Dana” is the name of a violinist I greatly admired when I studied music in my early twenties. She was audacious, kind, humble, hardworking and immensely talented. I was struck at that time by the beauty of the name Dana, simple and elegant, with both a masculine and feminine feel.

“Williams” is the name of the Vice-Principal of my elementary school. The day my mother brought me to Kindergarten, she told me over and over that I was going to meet Mr. Williams and that he would take care of me. I didn’t know what a Mister was, or a Williams. To my surprise, a man in a suit met us at the gate. He had a round face and gentle, sparkly eyes. On that day, and for years to come, he was consistently kind to me.

Dana Williams it would be.

I hope to one day attach my legal name to my spiritual books, and I am working toward this end by incorporating mindfulness, meditation and similar healing modalities into my newest work for families–including hypnosis.

We’ll see. Bridging the gap between science and spirit has been close to my heart all my life. Perhaps I’ll be guided to this work more fully in the future. In the meantime, I continue to keep these two sides of my writing life as separate names.