Interdependence, Ubuntu, and ‘widening our circles of compassion’

V3 Biodiversity“Our task must be to free ourselves … by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
  Albert Einstein


Hi everyone,

After organizing or co-organizing 18 public events so far in 2017, Living Ubuntu won’t be quite as ‘public’ this summer. We are taking a bit of time for organizational and personal soul-searching, and working to refine and revitalize our mission, vision, approach and website. Meanwhile, we are continuing to work on “So Give Me An F,” with feature length documentary film release date scheduled for later this year.

For now, as many in the U.S. plan to celebrate Independence Day tomorrow, I offer you a gentle reminder of interdependence and interconnection with a video released way back in 2008 by the Global Oneness Project explaining what “Ubuntu” means.
Watch video here.

Also – check out this great resource from One Green Planet for super-tasty plant-based 4th of July eating.

In the spirit of Ubuntu,
Barbara English, LMFT, CBT, TRE® Certification Trainer

Co-founder and Executive Director, Living Ubuntu
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(949) 891-2005

[Ubuntu] n. We belong to the greater whole.

As 2013 comes to a close, I can’t help but feel incredibly grateful…

If you want to go fast – go alone. And if you want to go far – go together.
African Proverb

Hi everyone,

As 2013 comes to a close, I can’t help but feel incredibly grateful to all the people who helped Living Ubuntu this year.

So, to our financial contributors:

Miriam Erb Allen, Nirmala Bhat, Terry Cleary, Kathleen Duffy, Susan Eaton, Fran Faraz, Karen Fruchter-Ross, Marsha Goldfine, Allison Harvey, Martina Knee, Gayane Kulikyan, Betsy Limebrook, Janice A. Madnick, Kiel Majewski, Laurie Miller, Pam Omidyar, Jan Parker, Melissa Rome, Lil Rostoker, Jenny Saar, Erin Shawn, Gila Wdowinski, Kent N. Treptow, and San Francisco Bay Area Darfur Coalition.

And our phenomenal volunteers, interns, advisers, and board members:

Atal (AJ) Atawan, David Berceli, Alicia Buly, Jasmin Guevarra, Bridgette Hanning, Allison Harvey, Martina Knee, Patty League, Tamara Leider, Betsy Limebrook, Terri Martin, Elad Michael Massuri, Laurie Miller, Anshul Mittal, Nkem Ndefo, Kristen Nguyen, Shiksha Patel, Zaklin Phat, Lorraine Saenz, Dave Salahi, Mirelle Leider Schlesinger, Vin Schroeter, Eleanor Taylor, and Helen Tomlinson.

Thank you all so very, very much! Your generosity made a difference in 2013 and we are all better off on account of it.

Happy New Year!

Barbara English
Founder & Executive Director, Living Ubuntu
(949) 891-2005

[Ubuntu] n. Every human being truly becomes a human by means of relationships with other human beings.

We blinked and it’s Thanksgiving…

Wisdom means seeing into the heart of things, beneath the surface of our contradictions, where there is no good nor bad, neither right nor wrong. It means seeing the human being as the animal he is, struggling to gain security yet be free, to be productive but also joyful, to seek pleasure but also to know pain, to hope for transcendence and yet be content that one is contained within a finite body. It is to know that love does not exist without the possibility of hatred. It is to know that there is a time for living and a time for dying. It is to know that the individual exists to celebrate life.

– Alexander Lowen

Hi everyone,

So, I blinked and it’s Thanksgiving week (and for some, Chanukah too)…

For me the subjective sense that time is going by so very quickly only reaffirms the need to live and live every moment. Last year this time I was dealing with a bit of shock after noting the death of four people close or well-known to me who had all passed within a two month period of time, plus the loss of a beloved feline family member. This year I sit with the sadness of two recent suicides. Life is uncertain. Life is short. We must live the life we have to its fullest extent, and celebrate life.

There is so much I am grateful for, so much that we all have to be grateful for.

How would life be different for us all if, like the Desmond Tutu quote on Ubuntu, we really allowed it to permeate deep into our being, the self-assurance that comes from knowing we are part of and belong within the greater whole? And — that we are diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, tortured or oppressed…

If we genuinely lived in pursuit of the common good, what would that look like?

So, before I blink again and find that 4th of July fireworks are going off, I want to thank each one of you for being a part of Living Ubuntu. I am deeply grateful for your presence, engagement, and support.

I hope to see you at one of our partners’ upcoming events noted below. Watch for another email coming soon giving a preview of next year’s projects and events.

For now, I hope you fully enjoy the holidays. Celebrate life.

Thank you,

Barbara English
Founder & Executive Director, Living Ubuntu
(949) 891-2005

[Ubuntu] n. Every human being truly becomes a human by means of relationships with other human beings.


Winter Wonderland — A Tiyya Foundation Fundraiser
Saturday, December 7, 7p — Mission Viejo
Facebook event »

Write for Rights & Bake Sale — Amnesty International – Irvine
Sunday December 8, 10a — Irvine
Facebook event »

* * *

We couldn’t have done it without you!

candle-vigil-1200Sometimes our light goes out but is blown into flame
by another human being.
Each of us owes deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this light.
– Albert Schweitzer

Hi everyone,

As we come to the end of the year, we want to give a special thanks to everyone that has made a donation to Living Ubuntu in 2012.  There is no way we could do what we are doing without your support and it means so much to us to know you are generously willing to help us!

We want to highlight our supporters.

Al Benoit,  Judy Bernstein,  Laurel Day,  Dorothy Devine,  Fran Faraz,  Felicity Figueroa,  Marsha Goldfine,  Mark Gonzales,  Sharon Hart,  Allison Harvey,  Virginia Hilton,  Clarita Karlin,  Damon Kinnaman,  Martina Knee,  Gayane Kulikyan,  Tamara Leider,  Betsy Limebrook,  Sara Limebrook,  Maggie Locke,  Fred Lowen,  Janice Madnick,  Terri Martin,  Laurie Miller,  Atar Mittal,  Sylvia Nunez-Serrano,  Lil Rostoker,  Jenny Saar,  Steve Schroeter,  Vincentia Schroeter,  Kathleen Scott,  Susan Shifman,  Susan Elliott Sim,  Lydia Stanton,  Tarra Starriel,  Peggy Thompson,  Kent Treptow,  Edison International,  and last but not least,  San Francisco Bay Area Darfur Coalition.

With incredible gratitude,

Barbara and Anshul
Founders, Living Ubuntu
(949) 891-2005

[Ubuntu] n.  Every human being truly becomes a human by means of relationships with other human being.

The gargantuan challenge of living this paradoxical, contradictory, incongruous, beautiful, awful life

Until he extends the circle of compassion to all living creatures, man himself will not find peace.
– Albert Schweitzer

If a person cannot see horror, then he can neither see beauty, nor sadness, anger, fear or love.
– Alexander Lowen

Hi everyone,

Life is full of so much, and so much of it seems riddled with contradictions.

This morning I woke up, felt a little bit tired and cranky, and positioned my cup of coffee to be the ideal projective object, dubbed the ultimate magic potion that was going to transform my state of consciousness and cure all of my ills.

If only I could get through my cup of coffee in peace, then I would be a happier, more compassionate person. ; )

As my hands cradled the warm mug of divine sustenance, I saw a very silly post on Facebook that was beyond the usual “oh, that’s cute”.  This was uncontrollable-belly-laugh, tears streaming down my face, and the ultimate release of a stress-induced, overly tight diaphragm that had been limiting my ability to breathe freely and deeply.  Such ridiculous silliness! There is no logic for why something strikes one as being hysterically funny, it just is.

Yet, the very next thing I read was a post about a family killed in South Kordofan.

They died because their home was bombed.  In Sudan, the government continues to indiscriminately bomb civilians.  Antonovs are not precise vehicles of military surgical strikes.  They are rough approximators and work well when the goal is the opposite of what we typically think of in war.

Genocide is unlike war in many attributes.  So-called “collateral damage” is not a secondary, regrettable consequence in genocide, it is the goal.  Civilians are the targets, especially women and children.

I had only barely recovered from my fit of all-encompassing hysterical laughter… and then, Sudan.

It gripped me.  For a moment, I felt guilty.  How can I sit and be caught up in such silliness when people are dying?  And yet, this is the nature of life.

Perhaps the art form of living is to learn how to ride the alternating, ever-changing, seemingly contradictory waves without resistance.

The laughter had actually opened me so that I felt more.  My capacity to feel grateful for all I have, and feel sorrow in the exact same moment for those killed, surrounded by their family members grieving their loss while running, hiding in caves, lacking access to food, water, and medicine, just trying to survive another day, another hour, another moment… my capacity to feel both gratitude and sorrow had increased.

How do we put these things together?  How do we process things that horrify us when the nature of horror is that it is the incomprehensible?

Many are still reeling from the shooting in Connecticut.  We are shocked and saddened to think of so many children, so young, all being slaughtered at the same time by a random gunman.  Many say the result has been that something has shifted in this country.  This time is different and we must have change.  We will not forget in a few days time.  This time we resolve to take action.

We often neglect to think about the fact that young children are slaughtered in other countries every day.  If not by Antonov bomber, by direct gunshot, or landmine.  If not by overt violence, by the indirect violence of famine, and lack of medical care.

How do we put these things together?  How do we process the extreme incongruity of life on this planet?

We are caring, loving, concerned citizens, right?  We are basically good people and compassionate in nature, right?  Yet, we live in a world of such vast contradiction.  In the U.S. even in tough economic times, WE HAVE SO MUCH.  And the trouble with having so much is that it can increase generosity, or it can become numbing, create distance from suffering and decrease compassion.

I have never understood why we aren’t more concerned about and helpful to others who are suffering.  There seems to be a belief that we are to take care of our self here on this earth, and take care of those in our own immediate family.  Too often it stops there.

Time and again I wind up back at the meaning of “Ubuntu”.  

Across this globe, across all of humanity, it is my very strong belief that we need to change the paradigm.  We need to live in pursuit of the common good for all of humanity, for all others who live among us, and to find our way to re-establish our love affair with Mother Earth.

We all affect each other.  We make choices and they have consequences.  We have incredible potential for enacting warm, loving goodness.  We have incredible potential for cold, oppressive destruction.

We will become even more powerful for good by being willing to become more intimately acquainted with our limits, and ability to do harm.

We are largely the problem, and the solution all at the same time.

I believe we have yet to scratch the surface in terms of the potential for good that lies within each and everyone one of us.  We have access to the ability to bring tremendous positive change to this earth.  It will not be an easy path.  Discouragements are plentiful.  Yet we can learn to allow deep feelings to have their way with us.

We must learn how to grieve well, and often.  

We can allow even more genuine goodness into our life by learning to stop insisting on allowing in only feel-good things. When we open, we open to it all, and we must have a strong sense of groundedness to know how to deal with that wisely.  We need the support of one another as we pursue this process as everyone gets off track and runs out of energy at times.

I write this mindful that this is the day, 12/21/12, some have said the world was going to end.  Others said it would be the beginning of a new consciousness.  I don’t honestly know if there is any significance to this date on the calendar or not.  What I know is that I see a different way for us to be together on the planet, recognizing the preciousness of life itself, and holding each other in heartfelt value, within the pursuit of supporting the well-being of us all.

Barbara English
Executive Director, Living Ubuntu
(949) 891-2005

[Ubuntu] n.  Every human being truly becomes a human by means of relationships with other human being.

Yay! We reached our Kickstarter goal.

Hi Everyone,

Yay! We reached our goal of getting $1000 in Kickstarter pledges for our “What is Ubuntu?” t-shirt campaign by the December 18th deadline!

Actually, by the final hour, we had exceeded the goal and reached $1276!!

We want to thank everyone that made that happen.  Thanks again to Ashley Strong for being willing to take this on with us, and to JoEse Gloria and Kasi Teyana for modeling.

We also wanted to acknowledge with deep gratitude everyone that made a pledge to Kickstarter:

Barbara Anderson,  Cynthia Aponte,  Maica Belknap,  Kiersten Brown,  Paula Carmona,  Dorothy Devine,  Marsha Goldfine,  Lisa Goodman,  Joey Grassi,  April Houston,  Kevin Klein,  Clarita Karlin,  Mel D. Karmen,  Martina Knee,  Betsy Limebrook,  Kiel Majewski,  June Martin,  Kristen Meek,  Heather Pritchard,  David Salahi,  Piper Sample,  Anne Saxe,  Margaret Schmitz,  Susan Smylie,  John Stanton,  Lydia Stanton,  Christine Thrasher,  Carol Wheeler

Thank you so much for your support,

Barbara and Anshul
Founders, Living Ubuntu
(949) 891-2005

[Ubuntu] n. Every human being truly becomes a human by means of relationships with other human being.

48 hours and counting…

What is Ubuntu? Kickstarter by Ashley Strong“… It is the essence of being human.  It speaks of the fact that my humanity is caught up and is inextricably bound up in yours.  I am human because I belong.  It speaks about wholeness, it speaks about compassion.”

– Desmond Tutu on Ubuntu

Hi everyone,

We have been struggling with what to write in this email.  The timing of it feels awkward.  Everywhere we turn there are reminders that Friday’s tragic shooting has caused national heartbreak.  Yet, even though we are likewise feeling it deeply, we need to highlight our “What is Ubuntu?” Kickstarter t-shirt campaign because it ends this coming Tuesday, December 18th, 4p PST and we are only $240 short of our goal.

Despite our inner conflict, here goes.

We are a teeny-tiny little grassroots organization trying to do something helpful in the world.

The t-shirts featured in Kickstarter were created as a way to increase the number of people that understand what “Ubuntu” is, and so we could create a line of t-shirts where proceeds will help fund Trauma Recovery for Refugees.

We would love to see more people walking around wearing t-shirts that feature beautiful photographs along with words like, Interconnectedness, Empathy, Compassion, Authenticity, and Forgiveness, accompanied by inspirational phrases.

Pledge to buy a “Ubuntu” tshirt (Kickstarter) »

In Kickstarter there are no partially funded campaigns, it’s all or nothing.  The campaign ends this coming Tuesday, December 18th 4p PST, and as of right now, we are $240 short of our $1000 goal.

We know it’s the Holiday Season and odds are your bank account and credit cards have already been really busy lately.  Yet, if you can help us reach the goal, we would personally be extremely grateful for your generosity.

Thank you,

Barbara & Anshul
Founders, Living Ubuntu
(949) 891-2005