Ubuntu- I am because you are.

I have been bestowed such a lovely honor by my friend in South Africa, that of Ubuntu.  The literal meaning is as stated above; I am because you are.  She wrote a beautiful tribute about the meaning of the symbol, and the words, in her own life.  Now, it is my turn.  Even though I try to live my live actively in the name of this philosophy, it has kinda blown me away, to put it mildly, that my friend feels that so strongly that she wants to bestow this upon me.  It is intense.

To me, this phrase means that the needs of others, in addition to my own, are important.  Vital.  Keep the whole cycle and circle of life going.  I believe that to be very true.  This has been an evolution of sorts for me, however.  Since I was a young child, I have been such a giver to others.  You need something?  Let me give you what I have.  You need an ear?  Call me any time day or night.  Need a ride?  I am there for you.  I have always been willing to bend over frontwards, backwards, and allwards for others that needed something.  It was always a very natural inclination for me, and never done for me to get recognition, or to pave my way to heaven, or because someone told me it was the way I was SUPPOSED to act.  I know that I had an extremely effective role model in this way of behavior, my mother.  She is to this day, deserving of the way of Ubuntu.  She gives, she gives from a very deep and genuine place in her heart.

What came to be true for me over the years, however, is that I was often, if not almost always, giving to others in full and healthy ways, and began to build a bit of resentment.  Not sure if that was because I was giving to many persons who appreciated and needed the giving, but had also been giving to many others who were and are takers, and really had no desire to appreciate the nature of the gift that they were being given.  I was starting to feel empty in my giving, like I was having a gift taken from me, rather than giving it freely.  Like I was SUPPOSED to give, rather than the wanting that had once been there. 

What I realized?  I had been giving to others, instead of also giving to and caring for myself.  What made me come to such a realization?  I don’t know that there was one thing, but several things, that brought that realization to pass.  When that happened, I knew that I needed to change things, and begin to give freely to myself, to keep my soul fed, so that I could in turn, feed others.  The other major change?  Letting others feed me.  Hence, my understanding and interpretation of Ubuntu.

Ubuntu begins for me with me, with my ability to have a free, open and compassionate heart and soul.  I need to tend to and feed that heart and soul willingly and lovingly on a consistent basis, by listening to its whispers, following its dreams, and keeping hope in self and in the world and the future.  All of these elements to me are essential.  Then, I need to be willing to believe in others.  Believe in the fact that humans are basically good, and need us to help them, or at least, walk beside them along the way.  Not a hand out, but a hand up, as Amber described it.  Helping others to help themselves. 

However, for me, I need to add this additional element, that I need to also allow others to come into my life, and to be there for me when I need it, or even, when I don’t know that I need it.  Because there are several outstanding humans out there, that know when I need it more than I do myself.  I have learned to trust that, to listen to my soul crying for love and support, and to go to where I get that. 

I described it being as the circle and the cycle of life, and I believe that Ubuntu is circular in its mantra, because as we give to others so is given to us, and the circle goes on and on without end.  That which we put out into the Universe, that which is the quality of the gifts which we offer to the world, so will that quality be bestowed upon us.  That which we give so will we receive………..


22 thoughts on “Ubuntu- I am because you are.

  1. Ubuntu is a pretty cool concept.

    It’s allowed a technically mediocre Linux distribution to become the major contender for home user Linux choice.

    I don’t follow sports that closely, but I believe it’s also led the Boston Celtics basketball team to some proud achievements.

    I also ate a restaurant in Napa, California called Ubuntu, and that feeling of warmth and togetherness was there (needless to say, the waitstaff were attentive and friendly) – never mind that the food was also amazing!

    I’m down with Ubuntu. It’s also great to read how Archbishop Desmond Tutu explains it.

  2. Absolutely beautifully put, it is indeed a circle forever evolving and revolving… it is the spirit of Ubuntu

    Thank you for all that you do for all the people in your life, for those yet to come into it and the world. I am honoured to know you and your existence gives me hope. You are one of few.


  3. This is such a beautiful concept! I recently had an “Ubuntu” awakening of my own involving my extended family. My family and I tend to be the polar opposites of one another on certain issues which have led to incredibly heated arguements in the past. But then one day, I just suddenly realized that even those that oppose us are needed in our spiritual journeys because they actually help to solidify and strengthen our own beliefs. “I am because they are.” I don’t know if what I’m attempting to express falls into your specific definition of “Ubuntu,” but the sudden feeling of peace and love and acceptance that swept over me upon this realization, I’m sure, is universally understood! Thank you for such a beautiful post.

  4. It DEFINITELY fits…… because of who every single person in my life is, so am I. We are interconnected, we are dependent, and even when the relationship is conflictual, we learn and grow and get what we need, even if we don’t immediately realize it…….

    Thank you so much for your visit….. I hope that you will come by again……… Peace, Vanessa

  5. Beautiful post and so true as always Vanessa. You have an acceptance of what is, is and understand that we all contribute to the whole. How beautiful! You said, “Ubuntu is circular in its mantra, because as we give to others so is given to us” What a powerful statement and it so sums up the spirit of Umbuntu! Peace, Light, Love and Umbuntu to you! CordieB.

  6. I wanted to leave a note but then meandered through some of your other posts and realized I didn’t come back to this one. It’s been an enchanting journey.

    You speak so well of, as Cordie says, acceptance. Funny how difficult that can be to accept and allow the flow without resistance. Doing so can actually shorten the less than good moments. Maybe because I then realize they are only “moments”.

    Ah, lots to read here, thank you for the inspiration.

  7. i stumbled across your pages today when looking for wonderwall and was beautifully surprised. your writing is honest, heartfelt, and *pure. thank you for a welcome addition to the day.

  8. Hello, Vanessa. I am another one who “stumbled across” your wonderful piece on Ubuntu. Actually, I really don’t believe in coincidence or “stumbling upon” – as I think that there are reasons why we are brought to whatever we are brought to in this life, whether it is a written piece, meeting someone, picking up an obscure book in the library – I believe there is a reason for it and things to be learned from it. I am in my mid fifties, and it took me all my life to finally learn about Ubuntu. I didn’t call it that until today, but now I have a name for it. Finally I learned to accept what others give to me, spiritually, emotionally, mentally – and to look after my own soul, heart, mind, needs, emotions. It was difficult because I have been a “giver” all my life. Sometimes freely and without resentment, more often not so freely (but given nonetheless), and up to four or five years ago, with much resentment that others felt a sense of entitlement to what they wanted me to give to them. Your writing about Ubuntu has once again helped me solidify what I have been working on for the past four or five years – and I thank you! May all good things come your way! Maggie

  9. Maggie: I am so glad that the fates have sent you my way……….. I never had a name for what my life seemed to entail in terms of giving, receiving, and feeling deeply connected to the world. The events that go on for all of us as living creatures impact me in such a profound way……. my soul aches for those that face war, hunger, disease…… poverty, weather, homelessness…… those that feel unloved or uncared for. Ubuntu has enabled me to put a name on it, and also I have created balance in my giving and receiving…… I understand my motivations which has removed the resentment from it. And, now when I give, it is freely, and I lose nothing and gain everything……

    I really hope that you will come by again soon!!! Peace, Vanessa

  10. Hi Vanessa,
    I happened to come by to your site, which I believe is by the force of the Law of Attraction. I am touched by what you have written. I may not be as generous as you, but some years ago I had prayer form in my heart all of a sudden.

    I asked of the Universe to make me as compassionate as it is. I forgot about it but slowly I can feel the magic working in its beautiful way. I am awakening to so much of love in my heart and learning to let go of many of my unwanted qualities within me. This is a process of self cleansing for me.

    Thank You for being there as another angel on earth filled with compassion. I know there are many angels like you out there making this world such a beautiful place.

  11. Shweta: Welcome, welcome.

    I am so glad that you are here. My journey has been a lifetime already, and I know that I still have so much to learn. Yet, I love to give what I learn to others, so that we may connect, and they can also learn and grow as well, as I learn and grow from others in my life.

    I can’t wait to check out your blog!!!!!

  12. Hey you! Glad that you made it here. I never heard the term or knew of it until last year, and now I embrace it as the best description of who I try to be every day of my life…..

    I am so glad to reconnect with you! Peace, Vanessa

  13. Right here is the perfect site for anyone who wishes to
    find out about this topic. You understand so much its almost tough to argue with you (not that I really would
    want to…HaHa). You definitely put a new spin on a subject
    that’s been discussed for decades. Excellent stuff, just excellent!

    1. Thank you so much for your comment! When I found this word and concept, from a dear friend of mine, it fit perfectly as the description of how I view my life. Thank you for reading! Peace, Vanessa

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