In my yoga class this semester, I learned many things. For example: how to find my sweet spot in downward dog. The definition of “yoga” (to yoke//union). How to breathe through movement.
What I also protect as a nugget from every yoga class I’ve ever taken/experienced is “namaste.” We see it on cute coffee mugs, changed into something like, ‘nama-stay in bed.’ Some people might think it’s a little looney. Some people hear it and think the individual must be a hippy.
Namaste: the divine, truest, sweetest part of me sees and honors the divine, truest, sweetest part of you.
At the end of class, usually, the teacher wraps up the practice with hands to heart, “Namaste,” and a nod. They’re acknowledging the thankfulness of the practice and making sure that you know that you are important.
Not too long ago, I was in Haiti. And one of my friends, Richard, at the very beginning of the trip said, “we’re just all waiting on that ‘Namaste’ moment.” I don’t remember the context or conversation from which I extracted it, but isn’t it beautiful? We are each waiting for someone to see and acknowledge the best parts of ourselves. We’re waiting for someone to come with out-stretched hands wanting to get to know our entire being. (Glennon Doyle Melton mentions this acknowledgment from person to person in her book, Carry On, Warrior.)
It’s been marinating in my heart ever since. Namaste.
As a Christian, I feel a call on my heart and life to live in a manner that presents love and kindness and equality to all human beings. All. Regardless of gender or race or sexual orientation. Regardless of religion, ethnicity, and origin. Regardless of political party, income level, or education level.
How often is it that we long to speak up? Or share something with someone new? How often do we feel like societal pressures quiet us and tell us that what we think doesn’t matter? How often do we compare ourselves to others and tell ourselves that we don’t have enough to offer? Competing with what we think are better gifts and talents hidden in other people?
I fall victim to these ways of thinking all the time. I find myself withholding information and stories because I don’t know what I’m talking about/I’m not a good enough storyteller. I keep from writing because I see how many wonderful authors there are and I know I won’t even come close to measuring up. I know that I wipe ideas out of my mind because there just has to be someone more creative than I am.
Here is it. My sweetest, truest, most divine self: in my writing. In my speaking. In my love. Here I am, holding my hands out, waiting for anyone to grab them so that I can share my gifts and talents with. But more importantly, to look into their eyes and acknowledge their sweetest, truest selves.
If we were all able to look at each other like this – validating each other’s thoughts and gifts and talents and creative spurts – then, maybe, we could understand that truth is what sets us free. Even when we don’t see the truth in ourselves (like so often many of us block out), we can point it out in others. We can look in each other’s eyes with love and forgiveness and honesty.
We can help each other be the truest, kindest, most loving people we’ve ever been. And you know what? All we have to start doing is practicing our little “Namaste” moments. Let’s look at each other knowing that they were created as a distinct child of God, designed for loving and living and fulfilling a purpose. Let’s look at each other and remember that we weren’t formed to compete with one another but to complement one another in our gifts and voices.
So, however, you can fit it into your day, find your moment. Glennon (because we’re first name basis, obviously) shares that she nods her head and whispers it every time she passes someone. Recognizing each of our humanity can change our world. I believe that.
Namaste, friend. I see you. I hear you. I love you.