I see you. I am here.

I heard someone say the other day that she is a lifelong learner.  I like this sentiment.  We are all lifelong learners.  I seek growth and feel fully present when I am in the process of learning and evolving.  My life experiences have been shaped by years of primitive living, sharing with my family, teaching, studying, researching, gardening, dancing, playing music, reading, painting, creating, seeking ways to express love . . . time draws together in a harmonious confluence – constantly moving and flowing in directions that connect me as a part of the greater whole.

I believe that we all want to be part of a bigger whole.  We seek empathetic connections that acknowledge each other, define our lives in powerful ways, and allow for us to be examples and inspirations of growth, kindness, and healing — to truly see each other.

Among the tribes of northern Natal in South Africa, the most common greeting, equivalent to “hello” in English, is the expression: sawu bona. It literally means, “I see you.” If you are a member of the tribe, you might reply by saying sikhona, “I am here.” The order of the exchange is important: until you see me, I do not exist.

What this acknowledgement means is simply empathy. It means that you acknowledge the other as one like yourself. It means that the ‘I’ and the ‘You’ are the same – parts of a bigger whole.”  [I dearly wish I could remember the source from which I read this translation.  My apologies to the author.]

i-am-here_webI believe that every little bit works together into one whole, one flow.  And it is sometimes simpler to banish the roots of uncertainty and doubt in others than it is in our own selves.   It requires courage for us to explore new pathways.  In life’s journey, I want to experience and communicate both sawu bona (I see you) and sikhona (I am here).

I came across a passage in my reading recently that resonated with me: our blessings and gifts earn value when used . . . our abundance is an expression of how we use our gifts and how we can feel truly prosperous.  When we share, our riches grow in value because we have given them with compassionate awareness.  Wow.  This is just so beautiful.

I so believe this to be true.  We can create abundance in our lives and the lives of others by giving freely of what we have and who we are.  It is a humbling thing to think on and to write of.  It is an enormous privilege to become part of another’s journey and to think that I stand to be instrumental in another’s growth or happiness.  Wow.  Sawu bona.  Sikhona.  toaster oven

Recognition: I See You

I see you.  When was the last time that you took a moment to recognize another person’s hard work?  Another person’s perseverance?  Kindness?  Generosity?  Talents?   Honesty?  Thoughtfulness?  Sweetness?  Creativity?  Spontaneity?  When was the last time that you paused to say, “You’re awesome!” or “I like what you said at the meeting this morning.”  Such a simple gesture.  Still it means so much.

Can you remember how good it felt the last time someone took the time to recognize you?  Your talents, your effort, your creativity . . . your you-ness.  Maybe it is good to be reminded of how good it felt so we feel more inclined to share those good feelings with others.  Pay it forward with simple gestures of recognition.

dulyposted_respect-gratitude_quoteTake a look around today and see if there is something that unsung hero is doing . . .  something that might seem so small or insignificant to that person but that has the potential to make such a difference all around.  Maybe you see someone picking up a piece of garbage in the lunchroom or you see someone offering up their seat on the bus.  A parent tying his child’s shoe or someone holding the door open for a stranger.  I don’t know.   There are so many ways to make the world a brighter place.

It doesn’t take much.  A smile.  A high five.  A Way to go!  A You’ve got this!  An I see you.  So simple, right?  I want to put an I see you into my daily life.  An appreciation for someone else’s thoughtfulness.  I see the ripples that these small acts spread across the water. Each act promises great significance.

And the fun part?  We all benefit.  Recognition.  Gratefulness.  Appreciation.  All of these words take on immense proportions in relation to their original state.    I see you.