“My journey on the path of understanding has led me to the simple truth that a good life is a connected life. A connected life is one that shares the truth of experience with those prepared to listen. It is a cycle – share and listen, both are necessary, both build growth in understanding. Share and listen – write and read – create and love, they are the core elements of life. Live and be well.”
These words ended a piece I wrote three years ago about living a healthy life. They are as relevant now as they were then and reinforce the core nature of life itself – the cycle of regrowth and rebirth. Events in our world today are making many people fearful. That fear is causing anxiety on a scale that affects the way we relate to each other. Anger is being expressed because many feel our traditions are under threat. That anger is based on the false premise that we progress in a linear fashion, building on the positive achievements of our past to create a better future. The present is missing and that is where the focus needs to be.
Our present is the only thing we can control. Our thoughts, our reactions, our decisions must be based on what faces us now. Knowledge of the past is important, but understanding our past is more important. Too many traditions are based on poor knowledge and no understanding. We are right to challenge those traditions based on lies and misrepresentation and need to honestly face the present circumstances knowing we can change for the better. Our future will look after itself if we build now in the spirit of positive acceptance and true collaboration.
Share and listen – create and love, or as the First Nation Wiradjuri word has it – “yindyamarra.”
Tara June Winch’s 2019 novel The Yield begins with Wiradjuri elder Albert ‘Poppy’ Gondiwindi introducing his story. Facing death, he’s determined to pass on to the next generations the language and knowledge he’s amassed throughout his life on the banks of the Murrumby River. So, he’s decided to construct a dictionary of all he remembers – all the words he ‘found on the wind’. Poppy explains yindyamarra:
I think I’ve come to realise that with some things, you cannot receive them unless you give them too. Unless you’ve even got the opportunity to give and receive. Only equals can share respect, otherwise it’s a game of masters and slaves – someone always has the upper hand when they are demanding respect. But yindyamarra is another thing too, it’s a way of life – a life of kindness, gentleness and respect at once. That seems like a good thing to share, our yindyamarra.