Since Matariki made an appearance about a month ago, we’ve been able to recognise the significance of this period (or any period for that matter) as a phase to reflect, review and adjust our course in every aspect of the word. To immerse ourselves in active recovery; making time to breathe and consider our options, to check ourselves, to reassess and fine tune our approach and so on. I dunno about you, but during this introspection I found out some truths about myself I either didn’t know were there; ignored for so long I became numb to them; just wish didn’t exist, or all the above! So without further adieu, our new kaupapa (theme);
The basic translation is; in accordance with fact or reality. Which is a little awkward don't you reckon, since “we see the world as we are, not as it is” - so our truth could vary A LOT to the person next to us. For example, some whānau (families) in Aotearoa (and around the world) relate completely to the storyline behind, “Once Were Warriors.” This film is something of a documentary, a true representation of their lives. Whereas I personally can't relate to it that much, if at all; it couldn't be further from the truth for what I grew up with, let alone what I know Māori to be like. So truth can be subjective, great.
What else is truth? Well, we also have the problem when people can't handle the truth and will refuse to believe in something, even if/when it's backed with fact! Like institutional racism, the continued oppression of indigenous peoples all around the world (and in our backyard), and climate change to name a few.. Just because you choose not to believe in it or pay people with shallow pockets to disprove it, doesn't make it not exist. That's like saying the sun doesn't shine in the morning because you closed your curtains and didn't see it, or that throwing away the power bill means we don't have to pay it. So truths can be backed by solid facts and still face objection, greeeeat.
Hmm ok, I think we're in a worse spot than when we started. 'Coz let's face it, truth is slapped on almost everything and anything we might resonate strongly with; whether it's based on fact, borderline delusional or aligned directly with our personal values. So to set the scene and start us off - side note: I'm not doubting your capacity or ability to handle the truth but before you continue, I want you to know that this has been difficult to write, let alone share... Nevertheless, this blog follows what I experience, and with new kaupapa being 'truth', it had to be done. Ok, no need to cry, be strong, carry on... - what truths have I uncovered about myself?
I'm a hypocrite. I advocate and live being kind to our environment and making conscious decisions to protect and look after our whāea, Papatuanuku (Mother Earth), yet recently took up employment in an industry whose sole purpose is to rip up and plunder the earth for profit. Doesn't quite fit, does it? I've always felt uneasy about getting into mine work, but I tried to understand exactly what it was I was struggling with and conflicted about... Over the recovery phase of the last few weeks, I've finally got it and have since been able to act 'in accordance with this reality' (leave this type of mahi) and also put my reflections into words..
I'm shocked, and incredibly disappointed I would even consider to consciously abuse the greatest mother figure of all (Papatuanuku) and to therefore extend that abuse, through whakapapa (connection), back to me. To be clear, I was disappointed in myself because of the understanding and value I have of whakapapa, and the connection I have with my environment. It's out of character if we measure it against the values I hold dear to my heart in my opinion, but also representative of my environment. For instance; working in the mines is 'what you do' in Western Australia, it's almost expected of people who move and live here and hey, perhaps since I don't whakapapa (originate from, trace my ancestry) to this land specifically - my feelings of connection and application of my 'truth' became more and more numb, which lead me to applying for, accepting a position and heading out to the mines... It was just a job; one I disliked (in terms of both the type of work, and the industry as a whole), and one which had a major negative impact on my emotional, mental and spiritual health - which if we apply our understanding of whakapapa, is only natural since I contributed to the negative impact on Papatuanuku i.e. myself...°
I'm not making any excuses. I made the right decision¯ for the space I was in and the level of consciousness I had at the time. So, although I'm guttered, it played its part in shaping the thoughts, feelings and beliefs I have and who I am now. And to practise self-love, we must love all of our 'self'; not just the parts we show off and are less humble about.
And that is the truth I want to allude to in this first post. We are the culmination of all the decisions we've made, we've made our bed - we've got to sleep in it. Don't like it? It's still our bed (life), we gotta do something about it. However!! We can't do that properly, let alone effectively or sustainably if we choose to only focus on the 'socially acceptable' strengths and weaknesses, like our career choices, nutrition, or spending less time in front of a device screen. These are important, but ya know what I mean, we have other vices too.
We have parts of ourselves that we wouldn't want to include in public forum or even dare to say out loud; we have secrets we keep to ourselves and perhaps couldn't imagine what we'd do if others found out... It's normal ok, you're not special (you are, just not with feeling unique in this situation). I'm not saying write a post about 'em and share, you can get to that later after you've contemplated why but firstly, shift it down a few gears and start by acknowledging that those parts exist, and are part of you. As a result, we can learn to let them go (can't let go of what we don't have); we can analyse their role or purpose and make decisions to deal with them; or we can learn to accept and make peace with them and pick up where we left off.
The beauty of this type of process is that, like in our previous post, we can do whatever we want - we just have to make a decision. We must start. Somewhere, anywhere.. and correct as we go. I made the 'wrong' choice, and yep still here. Yeah I have to take it on the chin (accept the consequences), I threw myself a couple of pity parties and got down on myself, but I also decided it couldn't last long because the ROI (return of investment) of dwelling on the shitty decisions I've made in my life is zero. Granted, there are the lessons and something to take away from those situations - but they've happened, it's done, and we can't afford to let our emotions about those moments steal any more time than they already have. Especially time that could be spent manifesting good energy; focused on producing positive, mindful habits, behaviours and action.
So go out and bare all of your glorious self in front of Tamanuiterā (Sun), bathe in his light or figuratively; shine a light and acknowledge all the parts that make up who you are, love all of you. Your amazing attributes that make you special; your attributes you should probably work on because they kinda suck and they're keeping you from being your most awesome; and also the secrets you don't share with others, the parts you love to hate or wish didn't exist... We love others unconditionally and acknowledge their flaws and shortcomings; time to get real and show ourselves that type of respect and love as well.
Aroha nui, much love,
*I-racism is alive and kicking, our brothers and sisters are still displaced from their ancestral lands, failed by the systems created to oppress them, climate change is happening, Papatuanuku (Mother Earth) is sick - our lifestyles are accelerating the rate of it, and there is so much we can do - small choices each day! - to prevent it.
¯if it wasn't the right decision, I would have made a different one. Make sense?
°Whakapapa for this context: I descend from Papatuanuku > she is within me > I am Papatuanuku.