What is Community?

I attended an amazing community event yesterday – Rewilding the Urban Soul – a campfire conversation. It was led by two women who had had two life altering experiences and written books about them: Maya Ward walked the length of the major artery in Melbourne, Australia, The Yarra River and Claire Dunn, who spent a year living off the grid. Maya’s book is https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Comfort-of-Water-A-River-Pilgrimage/129867517114277 and Claire’s https://www.facebook.com/myyearwithoutmatches

They had originally organised it for a site that seated at about 40 people at https://www.facebook.com/CERES.Environment.Park?fref=ts but had to move it as the Facebook attendees got to over 200, about 150 turned up. They were hugely different quests but both had a similar theme: that we have lost touch with the land and had got stuck in our daily routines however noble they were. Maya had spent years organising events at Ceres environmental Park and Claire had worked as an environmental activist for over a decade.

I am fascinated by the wisdom of Indigenous people and their contact with the land , they do not own it as we think  we do  , they are part of it. At most of the events I attend in my local area Welcome to Country is given at the beginning of the event. This is a special ceremony that welcomes you to the land and gives respect to the land and the wisdom of the elders for the local indigenous tribe the Wurrundjeri, who have been custodians of the land for 40,000 years.

Clare was asked a questions about whether she used local indigenous methods as part of her survival skills over the year. Clare replied that she had wherever possible but that there was so little reference material for native housing that she had had to experiment using her own experiences before she came up with a practical home after two months but that she tried to use indigenous practices from around the world such as starting fires without matches for all other things. Clare was a part of a group of six people who were close in proximity to each other for the period of the twelve months.

People were more interested in the inner journey rather than the outer journey but both Maya and Clare returned the conversation to the fact that the inner transformation had come from the physical actions of in Maya’s case, walking for 22 days and Clare, in being with the land for 12 months. I asked Maya a question after the event that they often said that as humans we do not listen, but are just waiting fir the right of reply. Maya replied that yes, thats what it was all about. Another person asked Clare was she afraid of dying during the period.

So how do we get this remarkable sense of community with the land and all its creatures, including us human beings? Attending events like this one helps as people get to share their dreams and actions about being able to live like this. Take off your shoes and get contact with the land on a regular basis and feel the energy of mother earth. Have technology free days or weeks, talk to your neighbours and workmates, do not assume they do not have similar dreams.

I have brought Clare’s book and will report on it later, Namaste until next time, dear friends.

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