Sometimes it hurts
 
This writing may end up being a little bit Epic, but I just wish to let it flow….
 
Its often that people reach out seeking connection, especially regarding connection to Indigenous knowledge or places on the land.
 
When I’m in a position that I’m recognised as a person who is approachable in this way and also works at creating understanding in the world regarding Respect for People, place and the spirit of the land it makes sense that I’m often approached.
 
But in all truth, sometimes it just really hurts to be the bridge, to have people constantly wandering through as tourists seeking connection through you. Seeking to heal themselves of what they are masking as something else. Seeking to connect to a ‘Whole New World’ that has never not been there…..
 
Elders (one especially) have at times come down hard on me for being kind and trusting, for caring about supporting inner Reconciliation, for sharing at all. Yet it was Elders who put me on this path as they were burning out from being constantly pulled in all directions and needed support. I watched as they were/are put in positions to perform like monkeys being thrown peanuts so the crowds could feel aroused, connected, like they were playing their part in the Australia moving forward in…. whatever the fashionable and changing word is….
 
But in my experience, I always witnessed people coming to take, no one actually invested in building relationship, just scraping the cream off the surface and then looking for the next arousing opportunity.
 
People have worked in community, made books, videos, written papers and pretty much the community has not benefitted from any of it…
 
People take and celebrate in the big world, their creative prowess and celebrate their connection with the Aborigines and promote themselves as Authorities of the knowledge, of the knowing. Its pretty yukky, even I have been fooled by people I honestly believed were on track with their integrity and intention.
 
I sit with the pain and the hurt, I feel awkward with it when it arises, like I should know better… but its from old wounds that are both mine and that of my Ancestors.
 
All the disrespect ever shown in life from one to another gets stirred and at times activated as the most brutal pain.
 
In the bigger picture of life, I breathe to reach the threshold of my own patterns of comfort with the stories and stretch out just a little wider, to where nothing is written, nothing is determined, where there is no catch…. no pay off!
 
Its like reaching to sky Country where the stories are reflected yet many of those stars have died thousands of years ago and the clouds are merely shifting shapes in time, but they are not fixed, only if I try to capture them and hold the shape that I think I’m seeing.
 
This morning a lady reached out to see if I could connect a group of people who practice Yoga and are wanting to include acknowledging Country as part of their practice, to go out and sit by some rock engravings, share stories with them and sing songs.
 
My first thoughts to myself were, well these engravings are in a Country I am not a descendant of and what the heck?
 
My reply was this:
 
Thanks for reaching out. It would be best to connect with a local from the area, but having said that, most mob will not just say yes. Its about building relationship with the local Indigenous community and things flow on from there as far as sharing goes.
 
Regarding sites that are engraved, they are sacred to the people who are directly connected to those sites, they are not places for people to practice other things. Its not the right thing to do.
This is a big key regarding acknowledging Country and the Spirit of place…it has its own Spirit; the land and the people hold a relational spiritual connection.
 
For people seeking to acknowledge this, then simply acknowledge this… For people seeking connection to Indigenous knowledge and spirituality that’s one that needs to begin by building relationship.
 
—————–
 
In my heart I choose kindness, I do not wish to hate or see myself as a victim of anything, nor am I feeling misunderstood by anyone. I recognise though that, well, its like people are not aware of how much they come taking. Its like they walk towards you with open arms to give a hug, but really, they just NEED a hug and its not about sharing at all. Its yukky.
 
How can we all get to a very honest place together? Where we can own our own stuff instead of putting it on the other?
 
I’m not interested in blaming and throwing words as spears…that’s not it either.
 
I am feeling stirred and hurt inside…its been a trying year, and the message this morning pulled at a string inside me that is unravelling.
 
In the past I have felt completely culturally burdened, angered by the lack of awareness in the mainstream practices in the world in regard to respecting the intelligence of Indigenous knowledge systems and ways of being and knowing, yet I take responsibility for my dimensions of pain and anguish and choose to heal myself, and in doing so, both heal my Ancestry and create a new possible future.
 
I’ve often said when sharing in workshops or conversations, you are the Aboriginal you have been looking for!! I often share with people that, you have as much ancestry as I do, thousands upon thousands of generations of people have walked before you on this planet. You too are Indigenous, but to wherever your people originated.
 
I am at a place within myself now, where I am no longer a bridge that broken people can cross in search for their own healing, I will be where I am, while you face yourself and own your journey of healing.
 
In speaking with one Indigenous sister recently, she shared a very strong story that spoke volumes to me. She shared that a non Indig person at her work, a person who she had no other conversation with began by saying “your people have gone through so much”.
 
My sister basically put this statement back on the other by saying something along the lines of, “your people have been through more than my people, its only been 250 years of hardship here for us, but its been hundreds more for you mob!, we still have our connection, this is our Country!”. My sister shared that she was not going to take on board the guilt of another, nor have that person palm off onto her what they could not face within themselves.
 
This sister is also like me, she faces what comes up for her regarding life pains, and inherited traumas, she is responsible and she does the work.
 
If I had of become stuck with all these feelings this morning my day could potentially be heavy and yuk, so I’m not sitting with it any longer than need be.
 
This is my contribution to the continual invitation to share as a person who is in connection with her Indigenous heritage here in this continent.
 
Further to that, its not black, its not white, its relational, its life.
 
May the words reach you as respectfully as they are intended to be met.
 
Rachel Shields
Knowing In Nature 2020
 
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