“I see you!”

What are you seeing?








What do you think you see in this wintry window?

The other night I watched David Feherty interview former President Bill Clinton on the Golf Channel. They obviously talked a bit about golf, but Feherty’s interviews are so interesting because he covers a broader spectrum of topics with his guests.

One topic they covered was the work funded by the Clinton Foundation, which is working to bring humanitarian aid and economical education/training to areas such as Haiti and parts of Africa.

Mr. Clinton noted that while in Africa his hosts took him up into the mountains, and the roads along the way were dangerously narrow and treacherous at times.

When another traveler approached them his hosts would call out to them, sawabona, which means, I see you.

Instead of the customary greetings we here in America use, such as hello or hi–it was simply I see you.

The response came back, ngikhona, which means, “I am here.” It is more involved than that, however. It tells the other person that you feel you have been seen and understood and that your personal dignity has been recognized.

That’s a rather neat trick, don’t you think?

I had to read more about this, of course. The members of these African tribes go about their day with this personal validation from all they encounter. Everybody is being seen by everyone they meet.

That must feel good.

Back to the interview. Mr. Clinton said he wondered how often during the course of our day, our lives, do we fail to see others because we either don’t want to, i.e., the panhandlers on the sidewalks, the homeless sleeping on park benches, or someone we don’t want in our social group because of their ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc, or because we are so wrapped up in our immediate lives, we can’t be bothered to look another human in the eye and acknowledge them in one tiny moment.

It is a point well taken, and not a comfortable one to pose to ourselves.

I’ve come to realize that journaling is like that. It is seeing yourself on the page. And it doesn’t necessarily go to rampant neediness, although we all have a level of that, but I believe it points us to greater aspirations and deeper self-realization.

Before I finally decided to vacate the standard business world and turn to writing, I felt like I’d become invisible; not only out there among that every day, supposedly normal business world, but definitely to myself. It was not a good feeling. The fact is, I learned that women who approach that 50-something mark, one day find themselves not quite as highly valued in the American workforce. I can’t speak for other countries; no experience. Sorry.

I’m glad to say I finally figured my way out–the hard way. If you aren’t living your days doing the thing that matters most to you, you are going to get soooo lost to yourself.

Sooooo . . . . my online journaling class/exercise I signed on for these 6 weeks turned a wee bit a’challengin’ this week. I confess I am behind on some of the prompts due to other required writing I had to finish for a deadline, but I kept up with what the group was called to attempt.

I realized that journaling is greeting yourself on the page. And I’m not a newbie to this pen and paper act, but after listening to the Clinton interview it dawned on me that frequent journal writing provides a chance for me to say, I see me today.

What the hell–answer yourself back while you’re at it. It’s nobody’s business but yours.

And as one of my journal mates commented: “I feel calmer when I’ve finished.”

That is not a bad way to start—or finish—a day.

I’ll close with this:

If I handed you a sheet of paper and told you to make a list of 100 things you like about yourself, could you do it?


10 thoughts on ““I see you!”

  1. Bec,
    Sawaona my friend. Thank you for this inspiring post and sharing such a meaning-filled custom. I love the respect they exemplify in the way they greet one another. And I love how you’ve connected it to the journaling process. As I wrote in my journal this morning, I reflected how it was helping me clear out the clutter and here I find you wrote about that last week! Anyway, I will carry this new thought with me into my next journal entry. It’s so lovely to be journeying together on this JYL class.

    • Cynthia!

      How wonderful to find you out here on my blog! Thank you.

      I’ve been working in my NPJ this evening and am headed downstairs now to continue. I am quite far behind, but that isn’t the point, is it. The suggestions will always be there for us to return to. The freewriting is my favorite. It is also where I am most seasoned. Cutting out pictures from magazines, well—I am more past that particular end of things–as you well know!

      So glad you brought this opportunity before me.


  2. This was a good read. Feeling as though one is invisible is akin to the feeling I had at the end of a 27 year marriage; I felt that no one lived inside me. When one feels that way, the individual either takes action to find the one living inside or else, that person continues to feel dead inside. Terrible feeling.

    I enjoy the thoughtfulness you put in your writing. Thanks for allowing me to share.

    • Oh, thank you, BJ. I can remember taking breaks with you at ROK and discussing things with you. Lucky you, in that you knew you could and would take action. You knew you wanted more out of life–and you got it! If only others could be that brave.

      Life is just too dang short to exist in a state of dead. Leaving the ROK was THE best thing I ever did. 😀

  3. Great post Rebecca, in this busy world we don’t see the others, it’s bad, but the worse as you pointed out is we don’t see us. Every morning we use the mirror to make-up, hair, brush teeth, but we don’t look into our eyes and pay attention to our inside needs. The JYL course is being great, we are really having a deep look inside, and this way understand better the outside.

    • Thank you, Elizabeth. Well stated, and the JYL course appears to be a boon for all the posters out on our Facebook page. Great testimony. Is good to realize how many of those ladies will be so much better off, even after the daily coursework is complete. I hope many of us will stay in touch.

      I continue to be behind on the exercises, but as we have ferocious winter weather coming in these next two days, I suspect I will have good cozy opportunity to do some journaling catchup.

  4. Sawabona. I see you possibly more clearly than ever before. This post is most revealing and empowering. Ngikhona : I feel you have seen me and I feel as though I have been seen as well. This is a true inspiration to me and should be too many. Congratulations on such an insightful piece my friend.

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