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Monday, August 14, 2017

I See You! I Am Here!

We often introduce the African greeting: I see you! I am here!, in our leadership classes as a way to encourage people to be present to each other and themselves. Initially, people feel a little awkward to be really “seeing” each other. Just saying the words, “I see you” and responding “I am here” seems a little artificial. But after a few greetings, people start feeling the connection. The laughter subsides and people become present to each other and themselves. They start breathing again and seeing each other in new ways.
I See You I Am Here

How often are we just going through our days…passing neighbors, dealing with customers and patients, meeting with co-workers…and we don’t really SEE or HEAR them. And other than our bodies being present, we’re miles away, planning what’s next, solving a problem or adding something to our grocery list.

I see you! Greeting another person, and really seeing and hearing them requires putting aside our lenses of assumptions and judgments. Looking into their eyes and seeing their humanity, their unique beauty and value is a gift to both giver and receiver.

I am here!  Just making that statement often brings me back from my distractions and busyness. I momentarily slow down and become present to myself and the other person. Whether it is for just a fleeting moment of greeting, or the beginning of a longer interaction, being present enriches the connection and allows us to sync up our energies.

My beau and I live in different states. I live in Florida and work in New York. He lives in North Carolina. When we get together every few weeks, we have to rediscover how to really “be” together again. We’ve created a ritual of reconnection: As we first meet, we look into each other’s eyes and say these word, ”I see you”.  The other responds, “I am here”. With these simple phrases, we become present…to each other and ourselves. The connection becomes real. We are two humans, living our individual lives, yet sharing the connection of love, life, and purpose.

One of my favorite authors is Mark Nepo. He’s written many books. My favorite is The Book of Awakening. Reading the daily meditations is a regular part of my morning practice. One of the entries is about this African greeting, found here.

How can you be more aware...
Of others?
Of yourself?
Of the impact you have on others?

Written by: Ingrid Bredenberg

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