sawa bona


The way in which we say “Hello, how are you?” lacks a certain depth. Often I am greeted in an automatic, rather perfunctory way and the person asking isn’t really paying attention to my response.

It was asked to be polite, to make small talk as such. The boring stuff. There certainly was no depth in the question and no commitment in wanting to really know.

Often when in such situations, I find myself equally in an automatic mode when responding. I often say ‘Yeah, I’m not too bad or I’m fine thank you” when in reality I may not be. I may be feeling extremely shitty that day, bruised or bone-tired. Now I’m not only forced to be some android and respond in a similar robotic fashion but I have to pretend to smile too when responding! Way too much energy. And I’ve not even had breakfast yet………..!

Sometimes I wished people would only ask me how I am if they really want to know. That’s what I do. I don’t ask if I’m not interested. I would just say hello and that too if you’re lucky, or nod in acknowledgement! No point in pretending I think, I’m not part of that sheeple-behaviour and . I’m certainly not interested in assuming a standard and predictable manner in approach or in retort.

What I do want (and expect) from my relationships is honesty, sincerity, integrity, of keeping it Real!

I’m OK with discomfort. I don’t need a response that keeps me comfortable nor requiring further effort or engagement on my part.

Besides I’d know anyway if you were lying in your response to me. My intuition is spot-on!

Yesterday I was pleasantly reminded of tribes in South Africa where the people greet one another daily by saying “Sawa bona”, which literally means “I see you.” Isn’t that lovely? I SEE YOU. I see you. I see YOU.

The response is “Sikhona” which means “I am here”.

This exchange is important and to me a very meaningful one. This exchange certainly HAS depth. It denotes that when you ‘see’ me, you bring me into existence. And when you ‘see’ me you may also see that I am bruised and bone-tired. You will see this because you are wanting to see, you are looking and you want to know. You want to know because you really do care about me. You care deeply about our encounter for you too want to be seen for who you are.

It’s so simple. And this is what we all need. It is a powerful intrinsic human need for validation; a need we all share. It is far more humane and vital. It supports our wellbeing and our sense of belonging.

So from my heart to yours, Sawa Bona.


if you knew

If You Knew
by Ellen Bass


In this beautiful poem, Roger Housden speaks of how Ellen Bass couples our sweetness with our stung and swollen selves – echoing Machado’s lines in which he says that the golden bees

were making white combs
And sweet honey
From my old failures.

Both Machado and Bass join our beauty to our wounding, although in this poem by Ellen Bass she addresses our greatest wounding, which is our mortality – the imperfection that no amount of prayer or goodness or psychotherapy will ever do anything to erase. We ‘are pinned against time’. Time is our ultimate demise and yet also our friend. It is our friend when we awaken to the reality that we are not here to stay. When we know this from the inside, the caution that may have colored our days will dissolve like mist over the bay. With nothing to lose, knowing there can be nothing to hold onto, we can fall headlong into life at last – “reckless”, like butterflies still hovering over a flower even as the collector leans forward with his net.

“If You Knew”
by Ellen Bass

What if you knew you’d be the last
to touch someone?
If you were taking tickets, for example,
at the theater, tearing them,
giving back the ragged stubs,
you might take care to touch that palm,
brush your fingertips
along the lifeline’s crease.

When a man pulls his wheeled suitcase
too slowly through the airport, when
the car in front of me doesn’t signal,
when the clerk at the pharmacy
won’t say Thank you, I don’t remember
they’re going to die.

A friend told me she’d been with her aunt.
they’d just had lunch and the waiter,
a young gay man with plum black eyes,
joked as he served the coffee, kissed
her aunt’s powdered cheek when they left.
Then they walked half a block and her aunt
dropped dead on the sidewalk.

How close does the dragon’s spume
have to come? How wide does the crack
in heaven have to split?
What would people look like
if we could see them as they are,
soaked in honey, stung and swollen,
reckless, pinned against time?

with gratitude

girl cloud swing

“you do not need others to agree with your heartbeat. to live. so then. you do not need others approval to be your own.”- nayyirah waheed

Yesterday marked one exact month since I started blogging and I want to say thank you to all of you who have supported me.  Just looking at my ‘community’ list on the left of this page makes me smile as it’s grown in such a short time — long may it last!

I’ve enjoyed connecting with ALL of you but there are special tributes to be made to special individuals.  This feels a bit like one of them speeches made at the National Television Awards!  But I’m not on BBC or ITV or MTV for that matter.  I’m just here on the worldwide web instead. Anyway apologies in advance if it sounds like ‘one of them’ speeches.

It is just important to me to acknowledge kindness when I see it.

I’ve received wonderful support from friends, colleagues (and even my Mum) BUT there have also been many others, people I have never met in person, who have touched me with their support here on my blog.

So I want to say a special thanks to blogger Indian Drifter indian drifter for all your wonderful comments and thoughts (and your friendship).

To Kindness Blog kindnessblog for being my first ‘like’ on my very first post, thank you very much.

You always remember your ‘first’ of everything and the supportive gestures are always remembered fondly.

Yesterday I got sent this by someone else in relation to my post ‘the greatest person ever’:

Keep writing your blog – you are a wonderful writer and I love your observations on life. Don’t know if you have read the book or seen the film ‘PS I Love you’ – but it is written along the same lines and in the format of your blog. Rather than observations on life it follows certain trends and a very unusual and personal story, which ironically enough is about the wishes and love of a guy who died, for the love of his life after he had passed away. Read it, there is no reason that in the fullness of time you couldn’t convert your own musings and story into a book/film. Bon chance!

I have read your blog and enjoyed it greatly. Perhaps you could add that to your obituary? In the meantime I would quote: “If winter comes, can spring be far behind?”

It is lovely comments like this, from such wonderful people, that inspire people like me. 

It also left me thinking how good validation can feel regardless of what we tell ourselves i.e. that we don’t need it because we know who we are, we are strong in ourselves, I know who I am and that’s all that matters! 🙂

I’ve discovered that as much as blogs are created because of what we need to say and what feel we must, they are also about connecting with the wider world around us; with other souls and kindred spirits. It is not something done in isolation for that would not work, not for me, at least.  I feel that we do need encouragement and support from time to time, so I am deeply grateful to you, for yours.

I can honestly say that I now have someone listening to my “something to tell”.

Have a peaceful (and wild) weekend and as always, be kind to yourselves.

peace of