“And how are you?” said Winnie-the-Pooh.
Eeyore shook his head from side to side. “Not very how,” he said. “I don’t seem to have felt at all how for a long time.”
“Dear, dear,” said Pooh, “I’m sorry about that. Let’s have a look at you.”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
When I saw these hats covering lights on the ceiling of a restaurant I thought about the origin of tipping the hat in Western societies. The military salute is thought to have come from the hat tip. And that was replaced by the head nod.
There are many ways to greet each other throughout the world: press your foreheads together and look in each other’s eyes, nose kiss, curtsey, bow, kiss on the cheek, handshake, slap on the back, hug, fist bump, wave, hands pressed together in a prayer fashion, a jumping dance, squeeze thumbs, stick out the tongue, touch the cheek and breath in, and rhythmic clapping.
Recently I read about an African Zulu greeting where you face each other and look into each other’s eyes. One person says, “I see you.” (Sawubona). The other responds, “I’m here to be seen.” (Ngikhona) Then you say the reverse to each other.
This is now the way my husband and I greet each other. We slow down, look into each other’s eyes, and acknowledge each other’s presence with the Zulu greeting. It only takes a moment, but it’s such a powerful way to show up for each other.
Lately we’ve started to change things up a bit…
I love you. I ‘m here to be loved.
I hear you. I’m here to be heard.
I understand you. I’m here to be understood.
With the world spinning so fast it’s important to take the time to let others know we see them, we hear them, we understand them and we love them. And that we ourselves feel seen, heard, understood and loved.
I see you…and I’m here to be seen.