Today I start a blog in an attempt to declutter my thoughts and ideas accumulated from my mahi (work) as an academic developer and a PhD candidate at a university in Aotearoa New Zealand. Why start now? Well, it starts with that overwhelming loss of control and that sense of drowning when you are trying to cope but then reality sets … I was not coping. So after crashing, I go to my stress-relieving practice … cleaning and decluttering my house. At some stage, it was ingrained into me that your home is a reflection of your well being. Probably with mum as the house was cleaned every day and we weren’t allowed to go anywhere in the weekend until all chores were done. It’s probably the flipside to the whakataukī,
He tangata takahi manuhiri, he marae puehu
A person who mistreats his guest has a dusty Marae (Meeting house)
If you have an unkept home, you are not fit to welcome or manaaki manuhiri (visitors). Which leads me to the essence of my blog, my PhD and my practice as an academic developer … mauri ora, wellbeing and manaaki. But before I take you on that huarahi (journey), I want to answer why start the blog today.
Yesterday I got into a FB discussion about the practising of Te Tiriti and the negotiating of non-Māori using and engaging in Mātauranga Māori and at the end of the discussion it became clearer as I unpacked my whakaaro, my thoughts I explained that I was not upset over the use of mātauranga Māori by non-Māori but rather the questionable integrity in how it was used… (alas, another huarahi … see why I’m drowing in my thoughts).
But today was the clincher! Consumed by that feeling of exhaustion but cannot sleep, I knew I had to get physical and burn some of the para (rubbish) out of my body. A walk around the Bay should do it. “Kao! te maunga!” (“No, the mountain!”) The message was loud and clear from my tūpuna. My trying to negotiate was futile because even I knew I was just being lazy. So to the maunga, I went. And now that I reflect upon this it kinda makes sense … if you are drowning don’t play at the sea’s edge go to higher ground! (DOH! moment) I opened my home, my being to my tūpuna and they showed me where to go and what to do. Three karakia (incantations) at three different locations on the maunga. Then the instruction came “Go home and start a blog.” So here I am.
That was the first time I recited karakia alone in a public space, but I felt safe. And this got me to thinking about rituals and the role of rituals in learning and teaching. Rituals to activate safe spaces for the teacher and for the students.