Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Namaste Cleo!

When I was a little girl, my favorite part of the Catholic Mass was The Sign Of Peace. As a child, the reflection and reverence aspect of the Mass that makes it so special was a little lost on me, but shaking hands and smiling at everybody around me during “Peace” was right up my alley.

The sign of Peace is when you turn to those around you, shake their hand, look them in the eye, smile, and say, “Peace Be With You”. As a kid, it was all about checking out who was sitting behind me and smiling at them – which I thought was fun! As an adult, this gesture carries a much deeper meaning for me. “Peace Be With You.” What a great thing to say to someone! Who couldn’t use a little more peace in their lives?

“Peace Be With You”

In India, they have a similar greeting – Namaste. Even though there’s no exact interpretation of this word, the intent is clear: “I honor the spirit in you, which is also in me”. I love that idea. To me, it means respecting the person standing before you for who they are and where they are in life and recognizing that we are all on our own path, trying to find our way to the same place – whether we know it or not – and all of us are doing the best we can to get there. Even the looney-tunes of this world, who seem completely lost, are doing the best they can with what they know.

Today, I saw a patient, that I‘ll call Cleo, who when I first met her, seriously challenged my patience. Even the girls at the front desk were voting on what flavor of crazy she was. When I meet patients such as this one, I just kill ’em with kindness, cover ’em with compassion, and do my best to tickle their funny bone. Most people can’t resist this trio and Cleo was no different. It wasn’t long before she was putty in my hands. As time went on, I watched her crawl out from underneath that crazy, grumpy shell of hers and emerge as a sweet, sensitive soul with a fiery spirit.

In countless ways, Cleo and I are as different as two people can be, but we quickly discovered some small and interesting things we had in common. Every appointment she has with me, I learn a little more about the person she really is and I see her tender heart. She makes me smile when I see her now, and despite all the madness in her world, I respect the spirit in her, which is also in me. I haven’t determined what flavor of crazy she is yet, but whatever it is, I honor the person she is and I honor the person she’s trying to become.

Namaste, Cleo, and Peace Be With You….


Kuckie said...

I love the meaning of Namaste as well...I just wish more people knew it's meaning!

And you know I TOTALLY get what you are saying about patients...even the ones that drive ya nuts, you somehow like them!!!

NAMASTE, girl!

M, J, B, G, Sam & Sadie said...

Now see....why can't the rest of the world view life through that perspective?