Posts Tagged ‘Ubuntu’

Fall is my favorite season, a time of bounty, beauty, turbulence, transformation, perpetuation, and possibility. It’s also a season that invites solitude, reflection, and gratitude.

During this season of Thanksgiving, give thanks for persons who have called your name, even if you weren’t aware of them doing so. When others call your name it is a way of acknowledging you… all of  your unique gifts, skills, and talents, which comprise your signature presence.

When others call your name, it is part of a larger pattern of recognizing the importance of an individual and the collective of which we’re all a part. It also recognizes our interconnectedness to one another and all of life, as well as our responsibility to care for one another and our planet.

As we’ve learned from so many cultures where hospitality and harmony are of utmost importance, I cannot exist with you, and you cannot exist with me. In many African cultures, this kind of innate interdependence is an aspect of the spirit of “Ubuntu.” 

When we deeply understand our interconnectedness, we understand the soul of leadership. In Western culture, we sometimes call this stance servant leadership.

As you prepare your heart for your Thanksgiving celebration, reflect on and count your blessings. Be sure to include persons who have come into your life – however briefly – who have extended a kindness to you… a loved one, a friend, or even a total stranger.

This week, take time to fill your heart with and reflect on these questions: Whose am I? Who supports me? Who do I belong to, and who belongs to me? Who has extended graciousness and blessings to me? Who do I extend graciousness and blessings to? Whose name will I call today?

Pass It On!


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One step at a time. One smile at a time. One hug & one handshake at a time. One day at a time. It is what my African brothers & sisters would call the spirit of “unbutu” (pronouned oo-boon-to).

You make a difference when you say “hello.” Ubuntu. You make a difference when you don’t say “hello” …when you keep moving because you’re too busy today… & you figure that someone else will pick up the slack.


A few days ago, I sent an e-mail to a friend in Botswana. She’s almost 70… serving in the Peace Corps. Almost immediately, she sent me an e-mail back to let me know that my note  made her day… she also told me about a friend, a young man who stepped out of his childhood to care for his siblings because they’d lost their mom & dad to HIV/AIDS. Among his many fine qualities, he’s a poet. “Poetry,” he said, “allows God’s light to shine through me…” In this way, he shares his light with other youth to inspire them to make something of themselves & their lives. I sent him a poem… & he was so deeply moved that I’d take the time to do this. Such a simple act… reaching out to embrace someone with a blessing of words, a blessing of soul. Now we share our poems across the miles. This is what Nelson Mandela & others would as the spirit of “ubuntu.”

You never know who you will touch, or who needs a touch. And in the grand scheme of things, it’s not really our business to know. It’s simply our business to be kind, generous, & reach out to others.

How can one person make a difference? You already know… a smile, a hug, a handshake, a warm hello. Ubuntu.

Mighty blessings–to you & yours.

The truly wealthy are those who give until it feels good.

Pass It On!

Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/gloriaburgess.

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