Twenty year cycles
Here’s a story for you, written with love. It’s the story of how I have come to be facilitating Arnhem Land retreats and like all my stories, it’s very close to my heart. I hope you enjoy it.
Twenty year cycles. Twenty years ago I was guided to go to Arnhem Land. Twenty years ago I came across Indigenous Australian culture, an experience that changed my life. Twenty years ago I sat by the billabong and loved my future husband. Twenty years ago I first asked to be shown how to weave. Twenty years ago… I left that amazing place, vowing to come back, but not just to visit, to return with a mission, and to contribute. But what could I contribute? I had no idea what that could be.
Twenty years is a long time, but it passes in an instant.
Just like the piece of fibre that circles and spirals, growing outwards from the centre of a weaving piece, so does the story that grows alongside it, spiralling from that place of beginning, where the seed got sown. The seed of my mission to return to Arnhem Land. This story that I want to tell you is a story so close to my heart, a tale of circles and spirals and eddies that connect me to the land of that amazing spirit country.
When my feet first touched the soil of that land of spirit, I knew. I felt it deeply in my veins. I knew that I had come home. Never before in my life had I felt that, despite many years of travel, nor in my motherland, the southern part of Africa.
And here I am again, twenty years later, the circles are coming full circle.
It took ten years to make it back to country. In those ten years, I married my lover, settled down on the Sunshine Coast, started a family with three daughters, and attempted to build a foundation in my life. It kind of worked, but I always had a deep internal melancholy that sang to me. Every time I thought about Arnhem Land, or spoke about it, I would burst out in goosebumps, and the blood in my veins would pull and call and tell me of my need to go back. This calling was an action, a physical longing, a sad song of ‘saudade’ that followed me through those years.
Then my husband and I separated. Life as I knew it got pulled out from under my feet. What? This was the lover that had been gifted to me by the land! The spirit of the country had brought us together, and we were together no more. I was shattered. But I found solace and healing in weaving with the Yolngu women at the newly-formed Dreaming Festival. And then… an opportunity appeared – to go to the Garma Festival of Indigenous culture in North East Arnhem Land, at Gulkula. Yolngu country – not the same region as I had been in before, maybe ten hours away by 4×4, but same-spirit country nonetheless. The gathering of tribes was amazing, life giving, renewing, healing. My melancholy disappeared in the warmth of the sun and the red of the precious pebbled earth. In the smiles of the women as we wove together, my heart became whole again. Powerful energy resides in this earth. I knew that beyond doubt.
The melancholy never returned. Circles were cycling, revolving. On my return, my husband and I were reunited in love.
I had met a soul sister in one of the local Yolngu Gumatj women. She was a strong, beautiful ambassador for her people, she was well versed in Western and traditional ways, and passionate about helping her womenfolk and educating about traditional birth practices. Through her, I received permission to tell a creation story belonging to one of her sisters, at my first ever weaving workshop at a gathering called “Being Woman”. A weaving story, full of heart and power and insight. And inspiration. After the workshop, I phoned this friend to tell her how it had gone, and she told me that she had started to write a story, a story that was connected to the one that I had shared. The only words she had written thus far, she read out to me: ‘She came from far away, and in her womb she held a child.” Two weeks later, I found out that I was pregnant.
A fourth daughter. Kether Padme was an amazing being, her birth happened in impeccable divine timing, like in a dream. Her formative years were spent surrounded by circles of women as I facilitated more and more weaving workshops and heart-connecting sharing spaces within my community. Like she was born to be my helper and my teacher. But still I didn’t know what I mission had to take back to that amazing place, to those amazing people, to share and to contribute (besides being with four amazing daughters). Mmm…
Then the unthinkable happened again, this time for good. My husband and I split apart. My life split apart alongside him and the devastation in my heart was all-consuming and complete. Everything changed and I thought that all my dreams had come to a horrible end. But I was wrong, so wrong. Because I made a crucial choice – to respond with love rather than fear. Oh wow. What a difference that choice made to my life. I was able to see the reality – that all that I had thought was real, had been an illusion, a grand illusion, and that the reality was actually what I made happen in my heart. If I thought it, I made it true. So what would I choose to make true, if I had a choice? Well my imagination sprung in and I went YES!!!!! I want to go back to Arnhem Land and OH MY GOD! I can take people there with me! YES! I can do weaving retreats there – take friends old and new to connect with my sisters in remote communities to share heart space and weave together! OH MY GOD! This is my mission – to connect! And I’m a wonderful connector, my whole weaving journey has developed that and extended that and consolidated that. So has my early life, and all the stuff I had to weather as a kid. How awesome would that be! So I calmly breathed with the thought in my mind and gently started to manifest it.
And as for contribution – well, everyone would benefit: the indigenous women by experiencing pride in the immense value of their cultural knowledge (and being paid well for sharing it!), the opportunity to build relationships, preserve culture, and, on top of it all, to feel connected and valued. People with little or no other opportunity to engage with indigenous culture in their own country in this way, will be able to share and learn and feel more connection to the land, with all its incredible energy and vibrance and spirit. And of course engage in the deep wonder and wisdom of the practice of weaving. I will certainly be keeping my eye out to see that everyone receives what they need from the experience.
Now my path is so much clearer and exciting – I am opening up opportunities to reconnect with the roots of my soul, in heart and in place. It’s a journey that I am not just ‘on’, its a journey that I belong to, and it belongs to me. And more than anything, I’d like to share it. I welcome you to walk a way with me on my journey, to make it a part of yours – let us grow and learn and share together, marvelling in the amazing quirks and twists and humour of our magnificent universe.
What are you keen to manifest in your life? Because if you want it badly enough, you can do it, you can bring it into being – of that, I have no doubt. If I can do it, you can too. We are all equally special and POWERFUL beings. Creators. So come and create with me.
Let’s manifest a relationship with ourselves and each other based on unconditional love. And fibre.
See you there.
Inaugural Weavery Arnhem Land Retreat $2250 ex Darwin
30th May – 9 June
This experience includes the add-on event of the Barunga Indigenous Festival and 3 nights camping at Nitmiluk National Park at Katherine Gorge.
A special weaving retreat to Indigenous Australian country and culture, A meaningful travel experience filled with the richness and joy of intercultural connection. An unforgettable adventure. This will be an amazing and unique experience of connection to self, to Indigenous culture and weaving.
Arnhem Land Weaving, Culture and Connection Retreat no.2 $1700 ex Darwin
19 July – 23 July
Optional add-on event ‘Walking with Spirits’ festival in Beswick (subject to availability) is on the 25 July 2015
Contact me at anytime on email of Facebook message me.