January 26 is known as Australia Day. It is intended to be a celebration of the day Australia was “discovered”. Some refer to it as “Invasion Day”, reminding us that Australia has a black history. It is politically fraught with issues of colonialism, racism in history and contemporary Aussie society. Rap News did a fantastic satire that I highly recommend checking out.
What I want to talk about is a more personal take on Australia day. I recognise that the history of Australia is horrific and this is my heritage. I am gutted when I think about how the world’s oldest living culture has been and continues to be treated. How can I honour this?
I was born here, I lived in Canada most of my life and then one day about 10 years ago, the calling from my homeland became louder. A soft rumbling in my gut spoke of a hunger of another kind. One that words can scarcely describe. I was being called back to the land of my birth. And I listened.
I have been back in Australia for just over 9 years now. Although, I have my own patch of earth, I know this land doesn’t belong to me. I am a settler, here to love this patch of earth the best way I can. Sometimes that means loving myself and not tending the garden, despite how town I feel and want my inner garden to reflect my outer garden. Ultimately I am owned by this land, and she holds me, loves me, nurtures me. This week it’s with nectaries falling to the ground on warm windy days.
The spirit of the aboriginal people is still here, I see it in the ground when I walk along the creek just up the road. There is an area of ochre, white (spirit), yellow (land) and red (people). I call it rainbow ochre, where the colours blend as the land unites us with spirit. It feels like sacred ground, where I connect to spirit more deeply in the steps I take as I walk through nearly every day. This is where I usually remember to use the “I love myself mantra.” A reminder from spirit.
I give thanks to all who have created this land and made her what she is today, all her glory and scars, the thriving cities and the stark desert, the generous beauty and the violent past and present. The vast array of what this country has to offer is phenomenal. I am eternally grateful that I chose to listen to the call and that I am back here where I came from, being who I am and exploring this miraculous thing called life!