A Reluctant Namaste

Please welcome friend of Beerasana, Elisa Van Arnam! 

Sitting in the parking lot of Earthfare, I finally spied someone I thought was in need of my services, but my heart began to race and my hands started to sweat and I seriously could not believe I had to get out of my car and hand this woman “the card.”

This was so NOT the crisis I was expecting myself to have. I was surprised, disjointed; beside myself with self-doubt and incredulity.

And here’s why: I am the co-owner of an inspirational, conceptual card company called SoulKu. My partner and I created this company to facilitate deeper human connections through our conceptual card sets.

We decided to start a new blog called One Namaste a Day to “highlight” how awesome our new Namaste card sets were. They come in packs of 15 and one side says “Namaste” and the other says, “The Light in Me Honors the Light in You.”

They are meant to be handed from person to person to make everyday encounters more “sacred.” It helps to “take your yoga practice to the street,” we’d been telling potential customers…

Yet here I was…day ONE of One Namaste a Day and I was literally too afraid to get out of my car and give someone a freakin card. I’m definitely more of an introvert than my amazing SoulKu partner. I’m the designer/blogger/website person. She’s the sales force. She had been handing them out all over town with glee for over a month.

She literally said to me, “If I had 100 a day to hand out, I’d do it, in a second.” She loved it.

But I did not. I would rather curl up with a book or take a bath or even eat a pot roast. And this was problematic for many reasons:

1. I am a vegetarian. 2. This was MY company, this really matters to me and if I can’t/won’t do it, how can I expect anyone else to? 3. The whole idea of our company is to break through all the nonsense that’s happening in this world and connect people (for the sake of our children and future generations) and I didn’t really actually want to connect with anyone, and 4. I was not really comfortable with what this said about me or what sort of flaw this indicated in my character…what was it about me that found connecting with someone so difficult?

The whole thing felt so non-yoga like. It sucked.

But I HAD to do it. I HAD to find someone to give the card to. The whole One Namaste a Day idea was mine in the first place and I couldn’t very well say, “Oh just forget about it.” We’d made a kick-off video…I said things like, “We’re SOOOOOOOOOOO excited…” We’d set up the blog and put it on Facebook and tweeted about it…people were waiting to see this thing.

So I sucked it up. I jumped out of my car, ran after a woman with three screaming kids and a broken shopping cart. I tapped her on the shoulder, she turned around and I gave her the card. For some crazy reason tears started welling up in my eyes.

The only thing I could think to say was, “I see you.” Her whole face just fell when I said it, as if she’d been waiting for someone to say that for a long, long time. She may have thought I was crazy but she seemed genuinely touched by receiving the card.

I turned and walked away. I got back into my car and just sat for a moment. I sort of wiped my eyes and smiled at myself in the rearview mirror. It wasn’t what I thought it was going to be at all. It very was different.

I had to do it two or three more times before my heart was actually in it and I was genuinely excited to find a Namaste recipient.

I think the shift happened after my “I’d give 100 Namastes a day if I could” partner “Namaste-d” me. She hid in the bushes outside my house and jumped out with a basket of Namaste cards and flower petals to drizzle over my head as I was getting ready to leave for a retreat. (This revelatory moment is actually on video on the blog.)

And…something really odd happened. It was as if by Namaste-ing me she made it OK for me to Namaste someone else…like, because she saw the light in me, my light was amplified and more solid and I felt comfortable to acknowledge the light in someone else.

It was that simple. I know it sounds corny but, my light was acknowledged and shining bright and it made me want to share that flame with someone else.

I have to say that I’m a little annoyed that we’ve come up with a product that feels challenging to people (people meaning ME and most likely many others). I mean who wants to spend money challenging themselves when beer/chocolate is so much easier, cheaper and tastier?

But it makes me WONDER (I might even substitute the word DREAM) what kind of a world would it be, if we each challenged ourselves a bit more when it came to interacting with people…Maybe stepping out of our comfort zones just a bit and pushing the walls back on how we thought about connecting…maybe it could be revolutionary.

The result may be some nervousness at first, but then…who knows? If I could do this…anyone could do this. And then…anyone, ANYONE could make a difference out there in the world. And the best part, the most interesting part, is that the biggest difference you may make could be inside your own self.

Elisa Van Arnam is a wife, a mother of two and co-founder of SoulKu; an inspirational, conceptual card and gift company dedicated to helping people CONNECT and BE the CHANGE.

Visit her website at www.soulku.com and follow her “One Namaste a Day” adventure at onenamasteaday.blogspot.com


One response to “A Reluctant Namaste”

  1. philipp68 says :

    As kids we created a set of cards we used to hand out to bullies The card said something like: “Use your brain and think!” It never really worked, but we had some fun with it. Your Namaste cards are a wonderfull idea and I am shure they will have a positive effect on the world. Namaste.

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