The untold secrets of being well.
Controversial opinion: The climate sky is not falling, our lives can be magical and there is always hope.
As a Netflix doco addict I had many questions about why the world is slow to adapt to the looming challenges of the twenty first century. Leonardo’s films are calling for it, Aunty Helen and Jacinda say it can be done, so why on earth are we still sitting with the same issues since the nineties? From inequality, climate change and now mental health… It’s a little unnerving for a millennial who is into long-term earth living
This is the quest of wonder that lead me to Piki Diamond’s office, a researcher on the Māori worldview here at AUT with the answer I had been looking for.
What Piki shared with me that day wasn’t to vote with your dollar, one small action makes a big difference, or that tech will save us all. It wasn’t the story usually told by an army of suits that claim our world will transform through slow moving policies or business targets.
Her story was one of wellbeing, inner reflection, and a story that starts with each of us.
Piki’s New story…6 ways of transforming our world that can start with you.
1. Healing ourselves comes from facing our pain: From a Māori perspective, healing comes from within. We draw on reflection, we go into the pain, the dark spaces and see if we can link it to our past, our whakapapa, we ask ourselves what this pain wants us to feel and why. We unlock that, let it go and let ourselves heal. What happened if we reflected more deeply about the world we want to contribute to? Or our own blocks that stop us from exploring these dreams? The limiting beliefs on starting that App to change the world, sharing that blog, or starting that movement? If we create, jobs, lives, universities and countries that connect to this pain and towards action we can begin to self-correct the earth.
2. Let’s not talk sustainability of systems, let’s talk re-imagining our happiness: We are trying to sustain systems that don’t work — a world we’re not proud of. Each time we take a moment and reflect on what makes us well, we get a step closer to healing ourselves and the world. What is it to be well? Is it in a flash car? The top labels? How others perceive us? Or is it being creative? Being out in nature? Or feeling close to others? What feelings lasts and what feels fleeting? Like you are always chasing? What does this tell us about happiness?
3. Happiness is our connection to nature: Māori honour this thinking and it is shown with their words with many linking the natural world (Papatūānuku) to our wellbeing. The land (whenua) is the same word as placenta, our lifesource, our mother. How do you honour your mother? How are we honouring our earth as our mother? How are those actions impacting your wellness? Do you feel happiest at the beach? In green spaces? Growing veggies in your back garden? Why is that? If you have more moments like this you might find you naturally want to protect her.
4. We need to reconnect to gratitude and service: Manaaki is to honour your role as a host and guest through care and kindness and empowerment of another. It can be how universities host students to be well and thrive, or how we as humans are guests on the earth and can give back to her for all she does for us. What does it mean to be a good guest on this earth? Are parts of the mental health challenge right because we are craving to give back and be a host to others? What would happen if every person embraced these concepts?
5. Leadership is empowerment: Mana-centred leadership is not holding onto power like so many do in the western way. It is understanding that this energy of prestige is an infinite energy to be passed on to empower others. What would our governments look like if this model was used? Our businesses? Our education system? How can you empower others you know and pass on this mana?
6. We need to move from protection to healing: Kaitiakitanga is to be toa (warriors) earth’s guardian, to understand that now our mother needs healing. Not just protecting. We need to ask ourselves if we will ever heal her from only addressing the symptoms of climate, inequality or mental health? An approach most politicians or businesses use. Or… is it time to be bold and heal the root causes of these challenges? Solutions that would reimagine how we see happiness, building community and our connection to nature? Our governments, universities, and businesses will only embrace bold solutions that address these root causes if we call for it in any way we can.
So… I will leave you with this beautiful readers, how do you see happiness? How do you connect with the pain of this world? Or the pain of your own inner dialogue? What connection are you missing when we are scrolling through your Instagram feed craving what we don’t have? Do you run from this pain or do you step bravely into reflection and find out what this pain wants to teach you? I have started the process of facing it, and realising it needs to be honoured and explored.
Now imagine if every person started this process…
Would we redesign our education system? Would we revolutionise waste? Would we start a wellbeing movement where no young person takes their own life again?
Could this Māori way of self care be the missing piece of the ‘sustainability’ dialogue? I think so. It is time to acknowledge all things are connected. Our wellbeing, our world, our pain.
I wish everyone bravery when they set out on this journey of honouring the hard stuff.
If anything resonated with you from this article email firstname.lastname@example.org to join the movement of young people who are creating projects across NZ to address some of these challenges.
*The definitions given in this article may vary across tribes throughout NZ
Aroha nui aroha atu,
Long term liver, dreamer, and writer.
The untold secrets of being well.
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