Having recently written about Sister Loyola and the profound, but simple teachings, that shone through her in the documentary ‘Gardening with Soul’, this month my attention has been drawn to an Aboriginal Elder – Max Dulumunmum Harrison know by all as Uncle Max.
I was first introduced to Uncle Max in October 2011 when he spoke at the Rose Centre in Devonport, Auckland. He talked about life, land, spirit and forgiveness and enchanted us with his stories that had been passed down to him from his ancestors. He enthralled the audience with his knowledge of the land that only an ancient one has knowledge of. Uncle Max’s soft, gentle persona filled my heart with love and peace. To be in his company felt like nothing I had ever experienced – pure love. I was in awe of his connection to the land and all that the land teaches mankind. How amazing if we could all just even be slightly more aware of what we are doing to the land we live in. What a difference we could make just by tidying up our own patch of land. Many of us express concern about the plastic bags and bottles that are having such a devastating effect on the ecological balance of the oceans, but how often to we pick up the rubbish that is the waterways close to home? Or choose to say no thanks to having our goods put in a plastic bag at the supermarket or other store. Every little bit we can do in our everyday life can have a massive impact on the health and wellbeing of the land, which reflects the health and wellbeing of its people.
Tuning into the Land
Uncle Max explained to us that when he takes people into the land he says “let’s watch the land talk to us.” If you took some time to be still and watch the land talk to you what would you hear or see? For many of us we do not sit still long enough for the land to talk to us, our heads are too busy making assumptions or decisions without checking in with the natural world. When we do surrender to a higher wisdom and take notice of the trees, the earth, the wind, the sun, the birds and animals we are able to see life from a different perspective. To catch a glimpse of what the land is trying to tell us.
I will leave you with these words to contemplate from Uncle Max’s book ‘My People’s Dreaming’
“Mother Earth births everything for us. Father Sky carries the water and oxygen for us to breathe. Grandfather Sun warms the planet, warms our body, gives us light so we can see, raises the food that the Mother births and raises most of our relations, all our plants and trees. Grandmother Moon moves the water and gives us the woman-time and our birthing.”