When Tamanuiterā (sun) is shining, what do we do? If you’re of the fairer complexion like me, we strip off, show some skin and let him wrap us up in a korowai (cloak) of sunshine. We engage with Tamanui, right? Too little interaction causes a deficiency and makes us māuiui (ill), while too much can lead to skin cancer and other problems.* Similarly, when we go to the beach, we interact with Tangaroa by going into the water to swim, to fish, to dive for kai (food) etc. To interact with Tāne Mahuta, we enter the forest and do what we do in there.
Although, what happens when we feel Tāwhirimātea? Usually, we wrap up in layers or shield ourselves from the wind and scowl because it’s so windy, then head back out again when he’s settled down. Safety considered and as a general statement; we don’t give ourselves the chance to interact with Tāwhirimātea or him with us, as we do with the other elements of our environment.
We usually only interact with Tāwhiri when he’s chilled and at peace (no wind), which means we can only make observations and draw understandings of him in that context - when he’s calm. That’s like saying, “it’s cold outside, so global warming doesn't exist,” or “I just ate so world hunger is over.’ Uppercut. yourself. please.
If we’re constantly removing ourselves from spaces that allow us to interact with Tāwhirimātea while he’s having a haka°, how can we expect to understand him fully as an atua, as an elemental force, as our tupuna (ancestor)?
Or let’s go deeper and think about, how can we begin to understand how Tāwhiri behaves within us, if we don’t understand how and why he acts a certain way in the physical environment? Or let’s make it personal..
How can we even begin to understand what we might be capable of, what our limits could be, why we do things…. if we never put ourselves in new, awkward and uncomfortable spaces? How can we maximise our potential if all we know and expose ourselves to - is already comfortable and familiar to us?
“What if I fall? Oh my darling, but what if you fly?”
- cool quote from Pinterest
As I said before, consider your safety, but during the next windy day go or stay outside for a little bit longer. Feel Tāwhiri as he touches your skin, as twirls your hair into the latest new style all the atua are rocking. Feel his mauri (essence) blow over you and be mindful of how you respond to him.
See a windy day for what it is, Tāwhirimātea expressing himself! Is he excited? Angry? Upset? How would you know if you don't spend any time with him?
Swap Tāwhiri out for yourself (he's you and you're him anyway but you for context.. bare with me), and become more mindful of how you behave and think when you go into new, uncomfortable, awkward spaces. Is it because you're nervous? Intimidated? Scared? Excited? Anxious?
How would you know if the second you feel anything, you go back to what's comfortable?
Kia aroā tātou, let us become aware and go into these spaces with a different perspective; to attempt to understand and grow rather than to stay comfortable - in every sense of the word.
*The sun doesn't give you cancer; it's what happens when the sun reacts with whatever is in your tinana and in your bloodstream already - plastics and yuck stuff from kai, products etc. - that causes skin cancer. Not Tamanui, get off his back already, educate yourself.
°In this context; causing a ruckus, a windy day