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By Janet Baird

Namaste is a common Hindu expression used with greetings. In simple terms it means “the divine in me holds the divine in you. I see your beauty, I hear your needs. I am your believing eyes. Come, let us journey together with one heart.” Janet Baird wears a necklace every day that says Namaste.


Janet was born on Saturday, January 31st, 1948 at St. Mary’s Hospital in Oklahoma. She recalls hearing about coming home to her four-year-old brother who saw his new baby sister and responded with a “Humph,” and walked off. As a four year old, he wasn’t too sure what to think about his baby sister. Though now he and Janet are close and talk every weekend on the phone. Currently, he lives in San Diego.

Janet was born in Oklahoma and moved to California while she was in elementary school. “I had a carefree childhood,” says Janet. She enjoyed school, spending time with her brother, going to the beach and playing on jungle gyms, especially going down slides.

Janet was born with CP, short for Cerebral Palsy, a disorder that affects one or multiple nervous system functions including movement, hearing, seeing or cognitive abilities. There are different types of CP and it affects people differently.

“I have trouble with fine motor dexterity. It’s hard for me to pick up small things from off the table,” says Janet. “I used to be able to walk, but I got vertigo real bad. I kept falling down, so I think that is why they put me in a wheelchair.”

Some people have misconceptions about CP, thinking it affects one’s cognitive abilities. This is untrue. Janet says, “I’m very intelligent. I graduated from junior college and I received good grades. I’m proud of that. It took longer to finish, but I did it.”

Janet also wants people to know that patience is very important when interacting with those who have CP: “I just feel that if people were more patient, they could understand me better,” she says.

“I feel I’ve undergone worse. I do my best, and I do try to help as much as possible in my daily needs. I help dress myself on top, I brush my teeth, I shower and wash my hair myself. And I do as much as I can,” says Janet who returned to Kansas City in 1991.

Janet prides herself on staying busy and having positive thoughts. As for enjoyment and relaxation, Janet enjoys listening to music, reading, meditating, trying to go on daily walks, sitting outside and enjoying the fresh air. She also enjoys spending time and talking to her strong support system of friends. One of Janet’s favorite pastimes is reading and writing poetry. Below are some of her favorite poems.

Janet’s Poems


brisk, invigorating, air

renews my being. 11-12-97


Contemplating on

justification about

pleasurable wants. 11-12-97


Winds shaking our hut

Floods devastating our crop

and still my love smiles. 2-26-1985