The day I thought I would die.

We’ve reached the last post on the detachment kaupapa (topic) as we near the end of another moon cycle. This last piece is like the puna (pool) which all the awa (rivers, in this context a metaphor for previous posts - clever aye) have flown into; much like us with whakapapa (genealogy, evolution), this post will be the culmination of the posts before it.. Detaching our minds from colonised definitions of our culture, letting go of habits or behaviours that no longer serve our cause, peeling away the external layers we use to define us and now here we are, panui mai.

Holding onto Papatuanuku in DeGrussa, Western Australia, 2017.

The day I thought I would die started off like any other day: awesome (it's an attitude, you should try it). There were a few indicators that something was off but I wasn’t quite sure what.. I’ve put a lot of work into developing my instincts, so I rely on them a lot of the time and a lot of the time they’re right. I could feel a weird energy but didn’t know what or who it was. The events of that day happened so quickly, it’s hard to make sense of the whakapapa; how it all unfolded, how one thing lead to another, how everything happened the way it did. That’s all detail and although important, not really the kaupapa (purpose) of this post; it was a horrible day, bad things happened.. We get it, you live in the real world. Maybe a post for another day but what I want to discuss in this post, is how I went to sleep that night with the belief I wouldn’t wake up.

But I did. I’m here. I did wake up. I’ve written this, I’m breathing, I’m doing what I love, I enjoy the person I’m becoming. I’m alive. I’M ALIVE! I’ve thought what it would be like to die before. Not in a suicidal way, just wondered about it, like would we know? Does a caterpillar know they’re going to become a butterfly? That kind of way. So chill out whanau (family), I’m ok.

I felt like I shouldn’t have woken up that day, but I did.. and oh how grateful I am to be here. Although, I’ve always considered myself a grateful person ya know; grateful for the whanau and friends in my life and those who choose to have me in theirs; grateful to be me and give what I’m able to give.. I have areas in my life that don’t feature on Instagram but all my experiences play their role in shaping me so I’m grateful for the process, overall. On a gratitude scale of 1-10, I’d say I’m a strong 8, soft 9? But with this new perspective, my strong 8 may as well be a mild 5.

Experiences have a way of shattering our perceived limits beyond what we could dare to imagine and causes a shift within us. It’s all relative and subjective to everyone, but surely there's someone with me on this; that certain moments in your life, your mind or your very being has been stretched so far with new feelings or information that you’re unable to go back to how you used to be, you can’t look at something the same? It might be the understanding of love which intensifies after the birth of a child or after meeting the one.. The feeling of loss when we miss out on a job we want compared to losing our favourite person. The concept of whanau after spending time with someone else’s.. Reading a book, watching a movie, an awesome teacher at school.. surely there’s something that has happened in your life which sparked a new thought, a feeling, an action, something!!

These moments cause us to detach from a way of doing or being that perhaps used to serve us well, but with our new paradigm shift - has become obsolete. My tupuna went into Te Korokoro o Te Parata as Ngati Ohomairangi and came out Te Arawa. They were reborn, changed, a new people and purpose.. the name denotes that.  To break it down: the event (whirlpool) happened and they were forever changed because of it. 

Letting her go, DeGrussa, Western Australia, 2017.

As they did hundreds of years ago, I experience shifts in my perspective as my tupuna once did. I think these epiphany-like moments happen frequently in our lives, some just seem to have more of an impact than others. Waking up after believing you never would again, aue, made me reassess a few things thats for sure. One in particular which I've been trying my hardest to work on has been, TIME. I’d waste time waiting.. waiting for inspiration to come for a shoot or blog content, waiting for someone to get ready when we were supposed to be in the car 5 minutes ago and they’re just jumping in the shower… waiting to feel good, waiting for others to acknowledge their wrongs before being happy, just waiting!

It’s funny (in a sad way) that it takes something drastic or even devastating to shock us into action. Like hitting rock bottom to build ourselves up even greater and higher from a solid foundation - pretty much an exact description of what stripping the external layers of our identity back and getting to know ourselves at our core looks and feels like (first post of the series). Do we have to experience a near death situation in order to know ourselves? Probably not, but if we changed the way we interpreted 'hitting rock bottom' and replaced it with a positive narrative and reflected on the 'bad' experiences in our lives as something to learn and grow from; our ability to exercise our rangatiratanga and become self-determining in every way would bring about a freedom no war could compete with.

 

Stop waiting. You are going to die and so am I! I honestly hope it’s at the end of a long stint doing what we love and creating a better world for ourselves and future generations but bring it back a bit, reel it in and ask yourself; are most of us already dead? Nevermind that we have our last breath at 70 or 112, we die the second we decide that realising our gifts, combined with the knowledge of our tupuna, serving a purpose, contributing to something in some way….isn't worth it. The world deserves better than that from you, heck YOU deserve better from yourself you 1 in 400 trillion miracle. 

What are you waiting for? Yes I totally get that somethings in life are time sensitive but that’s not the timing this post is referring to.. I'm talking 'bout the procrastination, the putting dreams and passions to the side, wanting to do what’s right but nah someone-else-will-do-it time wasting mentality. If it's important, make it bloody happen. For instance, I just took up a job to help support my whanau and our dreams because my business ventures aren’t quite sustainable just yet. I’m still writing, still working on my photos and learning about business and marketing etc. and I’m also making money on the side to keep the landlord quiet, Australian BayCorp away, my darling happy and for new gear too. It doesn’t really matter what I do because I’ve detached from identifying Hana as her job - as long as I stick to my values and principles and keep affirming my rangatiratanga to define who I am and what I’m about, I can do almost any job out there.

So, detach.. or in the words of uncle Bob,

“Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our mind”

Detaching from the external definitions of ourselves, our culture, wants or needs creates a particular type of freedom that once you taste, your life will never be the same. Try it.

Tena rawa atu koutou,

Hana.