NamasteA few years back I had an acquaintance who, with unveiled hostility, called me pretentious for having a “Namaste” sticker on my car. There are many variations of definitions for what Namaste means but my favourite, the simplest and most direct, is: “The divine in me recognizes the divine in you.” The implication of the word Namaste is that there is something higher than or greater than the physical me that acknowledges its mirror or counterpart in you. This does not have to refer to God in my opinion, simply a higher consciousness and greater awareness than we humans typically employ. Abraham Maslow, the originator of the concept of “The Hierarchy of Basic Human Needs,” which I refer to in my book and in my work with all clients, later in life added Aesthetic needs to his hierarchy, in between esteem and self-actualization. By Aesthetic needs he meant the need for beauty in our surroundings, the need to contribute to make the world a better place. If you think of it, it makes perfect sense. As Maslow indicates, we need to have our physiological needs for food, air, water and rest (basic self-care) met before we can fully focus our energies on our physical safety and security (a safe home, solid finances, no abuse or threats of harm to us or anyone close to us). And those needs need to be in place before we’ll have the full energy we need to focus on our needs for love, acceptance and belongingness in which the actions and words of others towards us and around us get interpreted by us as a measure of our worth and deservedness in the world, which then naturally gets internalized as our self-percpetion, aka our self-esteem. Esteem is the next level of needs on the hierarchy after love, acceptance and belongingness and again, that makes perfect sense.  It is here that Maslow, in his later years, added the Aesthetic needs and this, too, makes perfect sense. When we have the physical health, the physical security and the acceptance and healthy connections that we need and we feel confident that we have just as much right as anyone else to exist, to take up space, to have an opinion, we experience a sense of peace that we’ve never experienced before. The anxiety we’ve been carrying all our lives just isn’t there. The Drill Sgt. within is quiet, and we feel strong and supported from within and from without. In this space, we naturally start to think of things that are bigger and broader than our own lives. We consider the homeless more, we consider world peace more, we consider environmental issues more and take the time to do our part more frequently. I see it this way: until we feel solid in ourselves (in our esteem), we are living in a constant state of flight or fight – chronically hypervigilant for the next threat on the horizon, which, because of our life experience and the way we’ve come to view the world, and our place in it, we expect with rapid succession. In this place, we haven’t the resources energetically or psychologically to think much of the big picture, we’re just getting by in our own little world. However, once we start to feel more solid in ourselves and more trusting of our place in the world, we stop scrambling to find a place and instead start, for want of a better word, “nesting” in the world. It’s as though something in us has decided we’ll stay, that we’ll likely survive for awhile and that we had best make the world and the others in it as happening a place as we can for our own benefit and for the benefit of others.  We now have the resources to start to give something to others, even if it’s just a smile and a helping hand across the street, and we have the confidence in ourselves to believe that we actually have something to offer. It’s a sweet place. And from this place, in my mind, body and spirit, the word “Namaste” naturally arises. I do not subscribe to any particular belief system and The CEDRIC Method does not speak to any spiritual belief system, so regardless of your beliefs, there will be no challenge or dissonance with the tools. In my opinion, that’s the point. In order to feel confident and secure in yourself and to naturally want to, and take the time to, make the world a better place (in other words, to see the interconnectedness between you and your actions and the needs and actions of another), all the lower level needs on Maslow’s Hierarchy must be met. This is what the CEDRIC Method helps with. It helps you to realize the situations where your needs aren’t being met and shows you how to take simple and effective action to meet them, and it shows you how to realize the situations when your needs are met but you’re caught in a confused perception of the situation that’s causing you unnecessary stress. Once you have clarity about this and the tools to manage and excel at life, you will naturally find yourself thinking bigger picture and feeling energized to do more (in a balanced, life-enhancing way, of course). And this is where we naturally start to see, in a greater way than ever before, the natural interconnectedness of all things and all people, that we are, in essence, fish in a bowl and that what I do on my side of the water has direct implications on you which come back to me.
You could say “What goes around comes around.” Or “Do unto others as you would have done to you.” Or “Namaste.”
There is something precious in each of us. Even my dear mentor, Abraham Maslow asserted this by putting self-actualization (the realization of our full potential and the expression of our innate gifts) at the tippy top of his hierarchy. Being solid and grounded in your own esteem allows you the confidence and space in your head to see and acknowledge the strengths in others and their specialness, without feeling in any way diminished yourself. To me that is Namaste. I recognize that I am unique and have gifts to bring the world and I recognize the same in you. I celebrate them in fact and want to support you as best I can to make them manifest in the world because I know that makes the world a better place on so many levels.
You will likely recall the same sentiment echoed in Marianne Williamson’s poem, Our Deepest Fear:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Recognizing our strengths and being proud of them does not imply we think we are better than others or separate from them (ie. that we don’t need to consider their needs and the impact of our actions on them), it means we love and care for ourselves, and that makes us more able to love and care for our communities, our country, and our world. Being the best you can be benefits us all in huge ways. So if there is any part of you that thinks healing and growing and shaking this self-judgement and harmful food coping strategy thing off doesn’t make a difference to anyone, think again.
Shine baby, shine. Or should I say, Namaste.
Love The CEDRIC Centre - Michelle Morand

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