I love the word Namaste. Because I am a student and teacher of yoga, and just because.
It can mean hello, goodbye, or it can be a form of recognition. It's a beautiful word that can be translated many ways:
The spirit in me sees the spirit in you.
The love in me sees the love in you.
The divinity in me respects the divinity in you.
I see me, so I see you.
And for you Star Wars fans, The force in me feels the force in you.
Translations vary, but the core meaning is powerful - the love and respect I feel for ME allows me to fully love and respect YOU.
During yoga class last week I realized the deep connection between Namaste and the practice of self care - we must take care of ourselves to fully give of ourselves - to our children, to our partner, to our work.
I know, this is not a new idea, you have heard it many times before. But do you practice self care? Do you practice loving yourself?
Maybe you still think it's selfish to put yourself first (old programming) or maybe you believe that you don't have time to make yourself a priority.
But really, self care is the key to effective parenting - take care of yourself, love yourself, and love your children for who they are right now.
It's such a shift to look at self love as a parenting tool, but it's the truth.
This self love allows you to see your children as individuals with their own lives and their own needs. It helps you understand what Kahlil Gibran was talking about when he said:
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you, but not from you.
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
Because you love yourself - your beauty, your quirkiness, your light, your dark, and your gifts, you will see and accept these things in your children. You will know that you are not in charge of making them who they are - they already know who they are.
You just get to love and support them as they grow and experience their life.
This is the same in partner relationships, in friendships, and any other interpersonal interactions. What you have to offer is what you carry inside, so it all begins with embracing the beauty of you.
And Namaste is the perfect prayer, the perfect reminder to offer yourself the gift of love and understanding.
And by loving and accepting all parts of yourself, you offer everyone around you permission to do the same.
This is what it means to offer your heart.
And this is why we place our hands together at our heart when we say, Namaste.
Cathy Adams is a certified parenting coach, yoga instructor and mother to three girls.
See more of Cathy's stories here.