This is one of my favorite quotes by Marianne Williamson that was spoken by Mr. Mandela in one of his speeches. I discovered it while I was a university student. I kept it up on my wall, memorized, kept it close to my heart and mind and continue to revert back to it when I find myself starting to think or feel small. I project it onto others who may have forgotten their beauty, their own inner voice or how important they are in the world.Nelson Mandela was imprisoned by the Apartheid South African government for 27 years for speaking out against them. And, after he was released, he was elected as the first black president of South Africa. During his presidency, he worked to unite South Africa, abolish Apartheid, and to lessen poverty among the black people of his country.
What I’ve read of him and find to be so fascinating, is that, in his imprisonment, following his release, and even after his passing, he exudes this aura of forgiveness. In his life, he endured hardships that most of us cannot even imagine. He was beaten and tortured by his prison guards, but he invited them to his inauguration. He asked the people of South Africa to forgive one another for past grievances. He continued to include all people in his re-building of a new South Africa.
‘Ubuntu’ is an Afrikaans word that embodies a spiritual paradigm that holds all of life as Divine. Ubuntu teaches us that our highest priority must be to nurture all forms of life in order to create a fulfilling, compassionate and sustainable Earth. In the English language, it means ‘Oneness’. Nelson Mandela reflected this way of life in the way that he lived and the way that he spoke and governed and interfaced with people. I feel like this is also the message that he spread throughout the world. That all people and all beings are important in the world and that, when we all concern ourselves with the well-being of others, we are all happier because of it.
My husband and I were recently on a short road trip, and he had downloaded some TED talks. One of these included a talk by a man who had met Mr. Mandela when the speaker was a child on his parents’ game reserve. He speaks of this ‘Ubuntu’, which I found to be so inspiring. In hearing of this concept, I had this feeling that, although we think of Africa as a harsh, impoverished continent filled with political unrest and war, there is an undercurrent of this feeling of taking care of one’s neighbor and that all people are cared for and welcomed.
I find a huge amount of inspiration when I even think of Mr. Mandela and the legacy that he left the world in his passing. In the weeks following his death last December, I spoke with many people who also had the same strong feeling of this legacy of ‘forgiveness’ that he left the planet.
In today’s ‘health tip’, although it may not feel like this is directly related to health, I find that it so much is. How we treat ourselves, those around us, the planet, the animals, and even strangers or those people that we don’t interact with on a daily basis will directly effect our health. It is our mental and spiritual health, which, in turn, effects our physical health. Being kind to others and having this feeling of goodwill and kindness helps to open our hearts and a feeling of goodness ensues, which just feels so good.
I’m attaching a link to the South African gentleman’s TED talk that so inspired me this past month. I hope you can take a few minutes to listen to it or watch it. There is a story about the elephants on his game reserve that brought on the tears (honestly folks, though, it doesn’t take too much to open up my heart). It is so beautiful. Please enjoy… and spread the ubuntu.