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………..