So part of my PhD journey has been engaging in wānanga from the teachings of Hōhepa Delamere (Te Maurea and Indigenous Health) and Rangimarie Rose Pere. Attending these wānanga have led me deeper into the world of healing, in particular, the use of Māori traditional healing such as rongoa, mirimiri, and romiromi. These definitely are not foreign to me. Dad used to do healing as the masseuse for the local rugby team and the koro (elder man) shared rongoa knowledge with him when dad would visit. My older sister and my twin studied massage and my twin continued into the space of mirimiri, romiromi and, rongoa. But for me, I was like yea … nah. It has taken me a long time to come into this space and of course, I’m kicking myself for taking so long and for trying to avoid it for so long … But I wasn’t ready until now.
What am I learning? Letting go is huge! Letting go of the past, letting go of beliefs that don’t serve you, etc. And of course, this is easier said than done. How have wānanga and Māori healing helped? Letting go is not only emotional and psychological, it’s discovering how these memories are stored in your body and therefore held in your body so you need to get on the “table” (ie. massage table or floor). And I’ve been getting on the table more frequently lately.
If you’re expecting to get on these tables and be pampered, yea … nah. But the results, for me anyway have been life-changing. My most recent session my healer said, “I’m surprised you keep coming back”. I explained to her it’s a bit like how I watch movies. I forget two-thirds of a movie, and don’t realise I’m watching a movie I’ve already seen until near the end. So with romiromi and mirimiri I forget the process and remember the end … The feeling of being lighter and freer. What happens during? Well in romiromi (and I only speak from my experience) there’s um pain, pain and a little more pain, involuntary shaking, lots and lots of crying, vomiting or dry-wrenching, screaming, swearing, nervous or ‘shit I’m going to laugh before the pain sets in’ laughter. My partner had lomilomi (Hawaiian healing similar to romiromi) and his description was priceless. He felt like Loki being smashed by the Hulk in The Avengers. But like me felt good afterward. Healer Atarangi Muru offers some of the philosophy behind these practices.
However, before you voluntarily get pummelled (said with absolute love and affection), mirimiri occurs, which are the conversations that within them reveal the gems and sets up what is ready to be released and let go. For me, the pain is only there when I hold on to trauma, be it mine or that of my tūpuna. So … I let that s#*t go. That’s what is happening when I begin to involuntarily shake, swear, cry and, purge. And why do I do this? Because for me it is what I need to do so that my girls don’t carry any of the trauma or issues that I am carrying, and to free myself so that I can be all that I can be. It’s a small price to pay and it only lasts an hour or so.
However, the catalyst of me getting on the table is that I’m holding onto raru, or issues that are causing me major physical and emotional discomforts that are not serving me. And this is one of my bigger learning curves in my role as an academic developer … how, as an empath, to manaaki (care for) my colleagues, without personally taking on their raru as if they were my own. And once again, this is why manaaki is so important to who I am.