I See You!
I Am Here!
For centuries, African Bushmen have greeted each other in this way. When the one becomes aware of his brother or sister coming out of the brush, he exclaims, "I See You!" and then the one approaching rejoices, "I Am Here!"
This timeless bearing witness is both simple and profound, and it is telling that much of our modern therapeutic journey is suffered to this end: to have who we are and where we've been be seen. For with this simple and direct affirmation it is possible to claim our own presence, to say, I Am Here.
Those people in our lives who have validated our personhood by seeing us and exclaiming so are the foundations of our self-worth. Think of who they are. For me, the first to rejoice at my scrambling into the open was my grandmother. If not for her unequivocal love, I might never have had the courage to express myself at all. And, after all, isn't art in all its forms the beautiful trail of our all-too-human attempts to say, again and again, I Am Here.
It is important to note that being seen enables us to claim our lives, and then it becomes possible to pass the gift on to others. But just as important as bearing witness is the joy with which these Bushmen proclaim what they see. It is the joy of first seeing and first knowing. This is a gift of love.
In a culture that erases its humanity, that keeps the act of innocence and beginning invisible, we are sorely in need of being seen with joy, so we can proclaim with equal astonishment and innocence that, of all the amazing things that could have been or not, We Are Here.
As far back as we can remember, people of the oldest tribes, unencumbered by civilization, have been rejoicing in being on earth together. Not only can we do this for each other, it is essential. For as stars need open space to be seen, as waves need shore to crest, as dew needs grass to soak into, our vitality depends on how we exclaim and rejoice, "I See You!" "I Am Here!"
* Sit with a trusted loved one and, with your eyes closed, meditate on their essence as you know them.
* When filled with their presence, open your eyes and declare with joy and sincerity, "I See You!"
* Allow your loved one the space to proclaim in return, "I Am Here!"
* Switch roles and repeat this process of first seeing and first knowing.
* If moved, live your life this way.
Mark Nepo's book