The Power of Ubuntu – Finding Strength through Community
“Ubuntu is what it means to be truly human, to know that you are bound up with others in the bundle of life, for a person is only a person through other people.” Archbishop Desmond Tutu
The word “Ubuntu” originates from the Bantu languages of South Africa, and is a humanistic philosophy centred on people’s relations with each other. It's ethos is that our very humanity depends on the humanity that we show to others. 'I am because of who we all are'.
In the Western world, we sometimes appear to have lost touch with our basic need to support and be supported by, and to connect to others in community. Ubuntu reminds us that we need each other for our survival.
We all have a longing to belong, and a perceived lack of community greatly affects our experience of life.
It’s empowering to realise you’re not alone in what you’re going through, whether that’s menopause or any other area of life. Feeling like you belong enhances your self-worth and boosts your mental health leading to reduced feelings of stress and anxiety.
Yoga too is very much about connection and community. Connection with yourself, and connection with others. Even the word Yoga comes from the work Yoke meaning union.
The basic principles of Ubunto are very similar to many yogic philosophies:
· Respect: for yourself, and others regardless of colour, race, sex, age or circumstance.
· Kindness – always a biggie!
· Compassion, both to others and importantly to yourself
· Tolerance – another biggie!
· Try not to contribute to the suffering of others
· Give without expecting to receive
The healing power of community – Finding your (Menopause) Tribe
Women have been gathering together for centuries to support each other through the rites of passage of womanhood. But in the modern world, going through Menopause can be lonely and isolating; actively seeking out your ‘Menopause Tribe’ can be empowering and liberating. Not only will you receive support, but showing the same support and compassion to others allows us to stop focusing solely on our own problems and leads to feelings of self-worth, strength and well-being.
Like so many women experiencing the symptoms of peri-menopause, I had no idea when it was happening to me. A huge restructure at work affected my self-confidence and left me feeling that I had lost my edge and my relevance. I felt scared and embarrassed and it was a challenging and lonely time for me with no one to turn to for support.
There is definitely more help out there right now, and it is a sign of strength to seek it out.
Our needs change as we age but humans will always need other humans. Community is as important for our emotional and mental well-being as sleep, nourishing food and physical activity is for our physical bodies. Our emotional and mental health greatly affect what manifests physically in the body.
We all have a need for passion, meaning and community in our lives, and without that sense of community we can feel isolated. Being an active member of a wider community keeps us alert, motivated and vibrant. Community is healing for your soul whereas enforced isolation can be damaging.
Menopausal women who have spent their lives focusing on their family or career can feel isolated and demotivated once they transition to this new stage of life and need to turn their attention inwards and find meaning in their lives again.
Welcoming this ‘Second Spring’ stage of life with an open mind and heart, and embracing opportunities by finding new passions or rediscovering old ones can help women to rediscover meaning in their lives. Looking forward to the future with a sense of excitement can help women to navigate what can be a very de-stabilising journey into unknown territory.
As human beings we all need and seek out the reassurance of others and we are constantly striving for acceptance; to belong to our tribe, and find that sense of belonging within a community of like-minded souls to provide us with validation, nourishment and support.
Your tribe can be any group of people, friends or acquaintances where you feel accepted, heard and understood. You may find them through volunteering or mentoring, or by looking for local and online community groups.
Why not reach out to someone in your community today....to both receive and offer support.