A few months ago this image made the rounds on social media:
The picture & its text brought to mind when I taught playground yoga in Oakland to wiggly second graders.
It reminded me how the kids struggled to be still (they were monkey mind incarnate in the most fantastic of ways).
It sparked me to recall a child who stopped me after our morning moments and asked:
What exactly does namaste mean? Why do we say it?
I knew the child was Jewish so I compared the word to Shalom by way of versatility.
I explained it meant, essentially, I bow to the divine in you. The divine in me sees the divine in you.
The child pondered and replied:
So it means the good in me sees your good?
“Yes!” I told him. “That’s a great way to phrase it. It’s as though you’re saying to your classmates: I see the good in you, they say it back and you carry the sentiment through your day. Together.”
It was with that in mind I shared the NERDMASTE image and said, quite seriously, how great would it be if we really had a sign to flash?
A gesture to indicate I see your lonely or your nerdiness. I acknowledge it in you.
A few weeks later, I was talking to the Child and she took her hand and formed a letter C by her shoulder.
Ever accustomed to her
not really paying attention wiggles, I ignored the movement and continued with my thought.
Over the next few days, this gesture happened repeatedly during a wide variety of conversations.
“What are you doing?” I finally asked.
“It means connection,” she replied as if it were obvious. “I’m showing I connect to what you’re saying or doing.”
I’m misfit enough to share, from that conversation forward, each time she made “C” I felt heard & happy.
It was everything I’d joked about with a NERDMASTE gesture and it rocked as much as I’d hoped.
“Ugh I’ve had the longest day.”
“I cannot wait to just relax tonight with Gilmore Girls.”
“…and then I realized I love when The Chairman scratches like that.”
I often go through life wondering if anyone “gets” or connects to what I’m saying.
I’d falsely thought it would take a giant, tremendous…something to shift the way I felt, but I was wrong.
All I needed was a small wordless gesture of acknowledgement.
A barely perceptible if you weren’t looking for it which signaled to me I wasn’t alone in what I was doing or how I felt.
I love this.
I think we all could use this.
I think we all start doing this.