How To Create a Home with Namaste (Episode 272)
How do you create a namaste environment in your home, and what exactly does "namaste" even mean? As I was challenged this week on what all I deliver to families, this reminder of my business name stood out once again. It's Mama Says Namaste for a reason, right? So what exactly does namaste mean to my family? How do we create this in our home?
What is the essence of namaste? I have a whole page and podcast devoted to the words "om" and "namaste", and I invite you to dig into the meanings of them both. If I could summarize the importance of namaste to me, this is it:
It's pretty eye-opening to view this as honoring the place where the entire universe resides. That takes into account all of humanity, and our basic needs for survival. This isn't just sitting in "zen meditation" all you life; it's seeing all about life that is required for true living. It's getting involved, falling down and getting back up, learning and growing and adapting along with an ever-growing world.
How often do you react to a situation in the moment without the bigger picture in mind? How many times do you get clear on exactly the way things "should" be, and then something completely throws you off? Are you clear on what your bigger goal is - what the grand picture is on the life you want to create?
When we talk about being intentional, it's not about having the next ten years planned out. It's really more about mindset than anything else.
You can be intentional about controlling one thing, and one thing only, and that is YOU. It's your thoughts, your actions/reactions, and your perspective on life and how you play a part in it.
You cannot be 100% intentional about your whole path moving forward and stay true to that without flexibility. Variables will happen. Broken down cars, sickness and hurricanes have all shifted our course.
Sometimes we do a disservice to our family/our kids by being so regimented that we don't allow for those variables. Those variables in life - those are the lessons to give you an opportunity to learn something new. What does it make possible for you?
Flexibility is key - how are you going to flow with what comes your way? Setting an intention on mindset allows you to handle what will come at you outside of your control. Your response has everything to do with how that experience will be.
Our challenge as a family is not to live in zen all the time. It's to aspire toward those things above - to see and honor the love, light, peace, truth, peace and beauty - in myself and in others. It's not about eliminating the chaos; it's paying more attention to those things we appreciate and want more of vs. getting stuck in the mud.
Sometimes the journey is difficult, and even undesired. There can be all kinds of external factors that throw a wrench in things. So get intentional about what you CAN.
Breaking Down NAMASTE
Life is coming at all of us, and the way we respond to it has everything to do with your outcome. We have friends who scratch their heads at how "lucky" we are - yet we firmly believe we reap what we sow.
Hard days come our way. We mess up and we get all the crazy emotions and experience them fully. And the way we respond to these situations, especially in front of our children, creates the echo of what we get to experience.
So what is the "magic step" to make it all happen? It's not just one. It's the little things. Those little things build on one another, and those little efforts come together, make sense, and create that synergy in a positive way. This is a printable I created a long time ago that really breaks down what open communication and support looks like in our home.
N - Notice the Present Moment
Pay attention to what is going on in the present moment. Is this really the best time to address this? Are you speaking your agenda and not acknowledging where the other person's head may be?
Our kids know that if they aren't paying attention to what all is going on in the present moment, they are very likely to get a "no" due to poor timing. Timing is everything. Asking for a treat as we're prepping dinner is likely to set us off at this point (are you kidding me??)
Yet contributing around the house, all of us sitting around during an afternoon lull where we'd accomplished a lot - now that is a time we're likely to say yes, just like we did yesterday with an ice cream break in the middle of a hot afternoon (which, for the record, is a great little joy-spark to add into your day).
A - Ask "What Is My Goal"?
This is one I've addressed many times before. "What is your goal" was a game-changer for me in how I approached my relationships, especially with Nathan. What is your goal? Is it to support that other person? To connect with them, or look to add to that relationship? Or is it to condemn, criticize, make them hurt like you do...?
Pay attention to the patterns and what conversations you may be having on repeat. Do you really care about their answer? Is what you're saying True, Helpful, Informative, Necessary, or Kind? (Before you speak, THINK). If your goal is connection, and you're getting the same answer to "how was your day" every day, maybe it's time to reframe your question.
Check in with each other. Be truthful about what is important, and what the ultimate goal is.
M - Make Amends
Take personal responsibility for what you bring to the table. For example, with these first two -noticing the present moment and knowing your goal - if you get those wrong, own it! Own what you do immediately and seek to make it right. It saves so much time and energy!
When you own things immediately, it allows that other person an affirmation on what the true goals are - and they feel more heard and deeper connection. Be clear and come forward fully. Show up fully. If you're coming with defensiveness, resentment, a grudge...what good is that?
How are you noticing the present moment, or are you sitting in the past? Are you able to move forward if you refuse to own what is yours from the past, and how it impacts you now?
A - Allow for Feedback
We can spiral into a "feedback dump" if we're not careful. When one person starts to state something they have issue with, the rest of the family members gang up and join them - and then we end up in this defensive situation where someone can feel really ganged up on. I know our family is guilty of this.
So we work to create a space where feedback can be given one at a time with space to share one another's perspectives. And then, once it's been addressed, we look for an easy cue as a reminder - something we might say or do that helps to remind a person when they are reacting in a certain way again.
The more we make space and then give grace for them to refine (habits can take a while to reshape), the more likely they are to stick with it, knowing the feedback is helping them be the person they want to be vs. it being just an attack.
Feedback is most helpful when it allows someone to bring awareness to something that may be an issue to others. Don't beat them up over it. Look for some little reminders/triggers that can help to reset.
S - Stay Silent and Observe
We are big on creating awareness at home. And a biggie is to never, ever (unless it's a true emergency) walk into a room talking. When you enter into a space, it's your responsibility to observe what's going on first and foremost to determine how you will best interact with what is already going on.
The word "listen" contains the same letters as the word "silent", and it's important to make space for some silence in conversations. When you first enter a space - stay silent and observe. When someone else is talking to you in conversation, stay silent and observe - don't be thinking of your rebuttal.
Pay attention to what they are saying. To their body language. To their tone of voice. Take into account all of what they are communicating to you.
T - Take Action
Sometimes we can just sit in the stench of inaction for so long nothing ever happens. Sometimes, we can be ready-fire-aim and the action comes before the thought is fully formed. There is a compromise here. There are times where you need to take action quickly, and we can celebrate those styles that can make a fast decision. And there are times where some solid thought and sleeping on a decision is very valuable, so you can fully process the impact.
Nathan and I both take action in very different ways. Sometimes we have to come to an agreement that works for both, like setting a deadline on when the decision will be made. So we create space for processing, yet also set a clear checkpoint for the next step so action actually happens.
E - Explore the Potential
When we talk about creating anchors and being intentional in our life, it's not structuring everything, yet playing with what things could be. How can you, with your family, play with what things could be if...?
What if we did a week with no sugar? What if we did a week with no TV? For us, maybe, what would it look like if we hit the road again full-time, or what would it be like if we stayed stationary in Venice, Florida for a while?
Exploring what it might make possible is something we talk through a lot. We do a lot of daydreaming together, to see what it would truly look/feel like. And sometimes the talking and stewing allows us to see the holes and saves us from a situation that would NOT have been as helpful. So we talk through the fears, the hopes, the desires and drawbacks, and aren't afraid to test things out and course correct as we gain new insights.
And of course, when those hard moments come (which they will), take the quote above to see what may shift if you see it as a lesson to learn or something you need instead of thinking, "why me?" Explore the potential of what it might open up for you if you let it.
Even as I speak on intention, our life has plenty of opportunity for curveballs. The unintentional sneaks in daily. We allow for serendipity. We allow people to show up when they're ready, recognizing there are times we simply have to meet them where they are (even if we're in a different place). We cannot control and navigate everything and dictate every part of our lives.
Yet, we can seek to add more "namaste" moments in, and seek to honor and celebrate those in others.
Notice the present moment. Ask, "what is my goal?" Make amends. Allow for feedback. Stay silent and observe. Take action. Explore the potential.
All of these are tools in your toolkit forevermore. You are no longer ignorant of these options. You know the things you can do to show up and to communicate by being present, and seeking to honor that space in all of us where the whole universe resides.
We're humans! With all our clunky emotions and all our beautiful creativity. Let's celebrate how the uniqueness in each of us strengthens all of us.