WELCOME to Africa, Karibu Kenya, heaven on Earth, and the pre-historic cradle of humanity. May’s search for African Ancient Tribal Wisdom leads us to the Maasai Mara reserve, where one can encounter not only the Big 5 game animals, but most importantly the great Maasai warriors, and their Wisdom that we are going to share throughout May. Please stayed tuned – trust it’s worth your time, dear Green Heart Warrior.
Jumbo, dear Green Heart Warrior! Karibu Africa.
The Swahili word ‘safari’, meaning ‘journey’, is evocative of a culture where the adventure of travel and the people one meets along the way is more important than the destination. We adopted this philosophy during our travels with the Maasai tribes across Kenya and it led us to an unforgettable experience. We feel that Africa, if you’re open to the authentic experience, certainly gets under your skin, never really leaving you. Just like India. Safari is a journey; it is people, a natural harmony with animals that accompany you on your path and whom you become one with.
After so many years of living in the bustle of civilization, you return to its cradle, to the most colorful of sunrises and sunsets, into the unassuming brutality of survival.
The rules of the game are simple. You either endure or not. This basic principle is so liberating, you never want it to end.
The largest Maasai Tribe in Kenya is the Kikuyu, while the most well-known tribe is the nomadic Maasai. Marked by a strong sense of independence, colorful clothes, and a nomadic lifestyle, the tribe moves from place to place along with their herds of cows, sheep, and goats. Today, about half a million Maasai live in Kenya. They have preserved their history by oral tradition alone, believing that by divine law, all livestock on Earth belongs to them. Therefore, taking livestock from other tribes is not considered theft. Adult men have a strong connection. They always travel together, never individually. Which brings us back to the notion of working together as a team, dear Green Heart Warrior. I’m sorry to keep on bringing up this concept. But living in a tight-knit community is one of THE keys to well-being for sure.
“Maasai men are first and foremost warriors. Being a warrior is a source of pride in our culture. To be a Maasai is to be born into one of the world’s last great warrior cultures. From boyhood to adulthood, we learn the responsibilities of being a man and a warrior. The role of a warrior is to protect our animals from humans and wild animals and to provide security to our families.
Although our children go to school, most of them decide to honor our tradition by living the rituals, having no phones, using no electricity, and saying a big NO to the modern and crazy world,” proudly explained Joseph, the son of a Maasai chief who greeted us to the village.
Join us, dear Green Heart warrior for our first Live Interview with Maasai junior elder, Moses Siron in Maasai Mara, Kenya
With Love from AFRICA, Sasa.
Have you heard about or read the autobiographical novel The White Maasai by Corinne Hofmann, a half-French half-German author, in which she describes her life in Kenya with a Maasai man and the trajectory of their marriage? According to the story, Corinne left the comfort of her native Switzerland and went to live in a mud hut with her husband who didn’t speak any foreign languages. All for love.
Enjoy your Saturday, dear Green Heart Warrior. Be Brave and in Love.
My Kenyan friend Maxwell said: “Although I am grateful for my job here in Nairobi, I do find living in the city chaotic. So many complicated relationships. But as Darwin said, it’s not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most adaptable to change. So, in order to survive, I guess, I’ll struggle with the ‘change’ in Nairobi for a while.”
A morning conversation over tea in a Maasai village is a ritual called ilomon, and it’s important for Maasai becoming consensus about the day ahead and for assigning tasks. It also always includes some discussion about the dreams people had during the night.
How is this different from the morning conversations we have in the modern world, you might ask? The main one is that we often end up talking about our own experiences and what we, as individuals, have to do that day with much less emphasis on how we are all in it together.
We focus on ourselves first. Which is important, but it is not an either/or thing. You are who you are because of your relationship with others. That’s a classic African worldview and the Maasai embrace it wholeheartedly. It’s amazing because this way of being in the world is really less stressful. Too much emphasis on ME often leads to unnecessary stress, as if the weight of the whole world is on each of our shoulders.
So, let’s turn the M upside down to W, going from ME and WE, to honor the old ways of living.
Maasai nutrition is simple and goes against everything we have been thought about healthy food. However, the longevity of their Elders, who can reach 100 + years, speaks for itself.
The Maasai consume just meat, milk, water, and honey. Milk, rather than water, is used to make tea with medicinal roots and bark for their morning chai which is also consumed throughout the day. Children often eat porridge made from boiled milk and ground maize. Milk that has sat for some hours or days called “sleeping milk” is consumed as a drinkable yogurt. Traditionally, the Maasai consume meat only about once a week. When they do, they consume massive quantities in a single sitting. This way, their bodies store the calories the meat provides. Traditionally, they have a medicinal soup along with the meat, which promotes their digestion while converting the rest into energy.
Asking them about the secret to their long life, they all agree that it’s all about being active all day long and living for and with the community.
The Elders in the Maasai village where we were staying during our time in Africa, kept asking the ladies from our LWGH team about our husbands and where they were, adding that they are their highest blessing because they can provide them with children. When our ladies replied that their husbands had been invited but didn’t have time to come along, the Elders didn’t believe that. ‘Time is there. There is never no time. Because time is not real. That’s why saying I have no time, is a man-made concept. For Maasai, that’s not real. It’s just another excuse for not being connected to life and the present moment,’ was their reaction.
So, dear husbands, now you know. We don’t argue with the Maasai Elders, right?
In the daily life of the Maasai, the waking state of consciousness is only one level of the day. A companion dreaming state is equally real and vital. As the Elders explained, when an important question is asked of a Maasai, he or she seldom answers immediately. A wise man or woman will always say “Alo airagie ina”, meaning “I will sleep on that.”
The more time we spent with the Maasai, the more we found them to be the most pragmatic spiritual people we have ever met. The warriors, elders, and medicine women we got to know would move effortlessly between grounded practicality, their dreams, and the transcendental realm of being, by which we mean being a witness to your own self.
It sounds romantic, but despite the rough conditions in rural Maasai bomas, we virtually always felt and experienced a profound depth and richness in human connection and conversation, both with words and without.
Which brings us full circle to a holistic approach to life that is far away from the dualism and separation of the Body, Mind, and Spirit we are experiencing in the Modern World, right dear Green Heart Warriors?
Join us, dear Green Heart Warrior, for our second interview with Maasai Joseph, the chief’s son in the Kichwa Tembo Maasai village.
With Love from AFRICA, Sasa.
Have you been to Africa yet, the cradle of Humanity, dear Green Heart Warriors?
On Tuesday we described how simple Maasai nutrition is: the Maasai consume only a few things: meat – once per week – milk, water, and honey. That goes against everything we have been thought about healthy food. On the other hand, the longevity of their Elders, who can reach 100 + years, speaks for itself.
Fundamental to knowing who you are in Maasai culture is the understanding of your interactions with your extended family. Magically healthy and happy families do not exist in Maasai culture any more than they do in modern western societies. Conflicts and suffering arise in Maasai families just as they do all over the world. However, what is fascinating in Maasai families is how the issues are addressed and problems worked through.
In the Maasai world, the health and happiness of any individual family member are strongly linked to the health and happiness of the whole family. It is truly impossible to ignore the well-being of a family member. If you try, your own well-being will eventually begin to deteriorate.
And we are back to living within a tight-knit community. Maasai families tend to be quite big, especially when the male head of the household has multiple wives who have given birth to numerous children. No excuses, right?
Cows are everything to the Maasai. Every member of a Maasai family contributes to the health and size of the livestock. The cows, goats, and sheep technically “belong” to the male head of the household, but everyone plays a role in their care. Joseph told me that I can ask him anything about the Maasai life, except how many cows one has. Cows are the Maasai currency.
For most people living in modern societies, the goal of work is to make money to support oneself and one’s family. Like the Maasai, those of us who are primary breadwinners are supported by family members and friends who contribute other resources—logistical and emotional ones—to allow us to do what we do.
Unfortunately, we are not often as aware of being part of this “workforce” as we can be, and therefore do not appreciate everything that’s required to increase our bank accounts.
For the Maasai that’s simple: When the cows are happy, the family is happy.
The Maasai’s belief in God, or Engai, is akin to what we term “Mother Nature.” Deep down, our soul is connected to nature very directly. When there are a lot of changes happening in the community and an individual Maasai begins to feel overwhelmed, he or she will go off alone to “talk to their nature,” sitting in silence under a tree and listening to what Engai is saying.
Sometimes you see elders sitting under an acacia tree with their eyes closed. You might think they are sleeping, but often they are practicing what we tend to call meditation.
“If anything is bubbling up from the heart,” Joseph explained, “you are open to talking to Engai in silence. You notice that the leaves are alive, the trees are alive, the water is alive, and the wind is alive. I acknowledge that Engai put me here as one of its living beings, so I say ‘Ashe’, meaning ‘Thank you’.
Maasai people feel very proud to be alive when they sit in this type of awareness.
Maasai believe every child is born with specific talents or gifts, whether it’s singing or dancing, counseling, healing with plants, healing spirits, or painting and plastering the walls of huts. When they recognize a gift, they support the person in expanding it.
For example, Joseph explained: “When a person speaks diplomatically from an early age, people can see this. He is really good, he knows things. We then tell others to go speak to this person if they have a problem or we make him or her a chairperson.”
It seems quite the opposite of the ‘one size fits All’ system we are putting our children in, right?
Approximately every fifteen years, the community’s spiritual leader, the laiboni, declares that it is time to create a new “age set”. Over the next seven or so years, waves of circumcisions are performed throughout Maasai communities on boys between fourteen and twenty-two.
This marks their passage from boyhood into the warrior stage. It is a rite that encompasses preparation for the physical circumcision, the long healing and probationary period that follows, and finally, a special ceremony confirming warriorhood.
Each boy is assigned a teacher, normally an uncle, who guides him through. Through the ceremony, the boys are not given any painkillers and are not allowed to cry. The Maasai believe that crying whilst entering the Warrior stage would bring bad luck to the community.
Throughout our series on Ancient Wisdom, we have talked about the importance of rituals in our life.
On Wednesday, we have written about the Maasai elders sitting, eyes closed, under an acacia tree. One might think they are sleeping, but often they are practicing what we call meditation.
Enjoy your SUNday, dear Green Heart Warrior. It’s time to hibernate.
Like many indigenous cultures, the Maasai envision disease as a projection on the body of social and cosmic disorder. Therefore, when the Maasai treat a sick person, whether suffering from a mild ailment or a serious disease, they employ natural substances to restore order and reaffirm the boundary that separates life from death. It is a holistic approach in which the body is seen as a part of a larger system that is intimately interconnected with nature.
Most Maasai living in rural villages know about the most used medicinal plants and how to prepare them, but a handful make this subject their specialty and become healers. Maasai are known for their longevity and for the fact that the majority never visit ‘modern’ doctors, putting their trust solely into Natural Healing.
While Freud put people on the couch to sort out pressing issues of the mind, the Maasai take it to the earth. Men walk long distances, talking to each other as they go and traveling to speak with their godfathers, olage’lie or enage’lie. Women similarly walk and talk to each other, sharing from the heart, typically while collecting firewood or water. A colleague from an NGO told me he had once announced to a group of women the establishment of a new well, which would mean they no longer would have to walk a long distance to collect water. The women looked at each other, then asked in dismay: “Why you do this? Now when are we going to have time to talk with each other?” Maasai women discuss a wide array of topics, often about how to deal with men, their husbands, and relatives. These heart-to-heart conversations, in which they speak and listen without judgment, keep both men and women clean and clear of emotional baggage.
“Anything else the Maasai can teach us modern folks?” we asked junior elder Moses. “The Maasai are very good at resolving problems, he replied, I see many Westerners on our safari walks. When they have a problem, they react by provoking the other side: couples, parents, and children. We don’t do that. Living together creates problems. When there is a misunderstanding, we have to sit down and talk. People have to know themselves; who are you and what do you want? Ask people. Western people think their own head is enough, but it is not enough. You need advice, people to process with, and your best friend. We have a lot to offer in terms of relationships, and resolving things before they get worse. Many people in the world have their problems; I can see that when they come to travel here. But they don’t know how to resolve problems. They think money can sort it out, but that often makes it worse! A guy is very lucky if he has a lot of money and knows himself very well and knows what he has to do exactly to deal with his issues.”
They say Africa gets under your skin. Being there, we could literally feel the energy flowing down from the head to the chest, where the heart sits. To this day, we still cannot explain what was physically responsible for this shift—some kind of gravitational pull, or something about the pervasive African culture that encourages your words and actions to come from your heart center, rather than being initiated in your mind. Whatever it is, it feels good to us —and we do have some overactive minds on our LWGH team.
Over the years, many people have spoken about this phenomenon, including students and tourists from the west who explain that they feel like they “lose their heads” when they journey to the African continent. Many of them note how emotional the locals are, how passionate they can be—both men and women—and it is refreshing to witness such honest and expressive humanity. It makes you want to stay and never ever leave this magical place.
Join us, dear Green Heart Warrior, for the live interview with the game driver Apollo, from Maasai Mara in Kenya.
With Love from AFRICA, Sasa.
When a particular incident in your life hits you hard and you can’t seem to shake it off,
Saturday is a beautiful day for a walk outside. Enjoy the day, dear Green Heart Warrior.
Every year, during the Great Migration, more than 2 million gnus, zebras, and other animals migrate from Tanzania over the Mara River to Kenya and back to avoid rain and in search of greener grass. It truly is one of the wonders of OUR Planet we need to protect. Together.
Something that has fascinated us ever since we started the 365 Project is how science increasingly presents evidence that demonstrates the value of what indigenous people have always known. All over the globe, modern communities that believe in universality, collective soul, and heart-led businesses are springing up. Some people think this phenomenon means we are coming full circle, back to where we began. Maybe a better metaphor is a spiral, and that we are circling as we head higher up on an evolutionary flight. What remains constant is our connection as human beings to universal truths—verities – we are now also learning most clearly through working and living with the indigenous tribes around the globe.
Please, stay tuned, dear Green Heart Warriors as we move to the ZEN of Ancient Japan. So much more to learn, right?
The sunset in Africa: the calming colors, the sense of accomplishment, silence, simplicity, and our Living with a Green Heart team, as we continue with our mission for a Better World for ALL. Answering to the big why behind the 365 Project: “Do indigenous cultures that have survived millennia and still today continue demonstrating high standards of mental and physical well-being as well as ecological intelligence, hold the answers and solutions to the ills of modern living?” We are grateful! Stay tuned, dear Green Heart Warriors.
Dear Green Heart Warrior, with May coming to an end, we are saying goodbye to the colors of Africa and are flying over to JAPAN into another Ancient Wisdom Month, full of ZEN, blossom cherry trees, temples …
Thank you for being with us and please stay tuned. It’s going to be so much fun. Love to ALL.