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Looking into the Eyes of Reconciliation

It seems like reconciliation is something noone seems prepared to look straight in the eye, at least not for very long.

After awhile in that gaze your cells start to shake your ancestors start to stir and you begin to remember what it really means to be a human being.

I’ve spent the last twenty years eye-gazing with reconciliation, in one way or another, and only in year eighteen, two years ago, did I really begin to understand what those eyes are actually asking of me; what they are asking of ALL OF US.

I’ve spent time in village with relatives in Papua New Guinea, I’ve found my way to fires with First Nation Australian Elders and cultural teachers, I’ve absorbed and respected the teachings of Polynesian cultural leaders since I was a school kid.

But to really start understanding what the eyes of reconciliation were asking of me…

It took me journeying back to my own ancestral lands, sitting with my own peoples elders, listening to my own peoples ancient stories, walking the hills and valleys where my own ancestors walked, swimming in the rivers where my own ancestors swam resting under the trees my own ancestors rested under, and slowly getting to know the spirit of the lands that my own people belonged to for tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousand of years.

I realise now that as a white Australian I’ve lived my whole life fractured in one way or another; Fractured from my ancestral lands, Fractured from deep culture, Fractured from clan, Fractured from elders, Fractured from culturally embodied adults, Fractured from kin, Fractured from rites of passage, Fractured from my own story, Fractured from my own deep roots.

I like to think… Somewhere in my time Spent with the land With my ancestors, With the ancient trees, With the wild rivers, With the quiet dreams that still live on the mountain tops and in the sacred caves…

That I found some lost parts of my soul, that I found the first few beautiful, tender threads of my own belonging.

In these moments I began to remember That I have a people too, That I have a culture too, That I have a story too, That MY body is made of Earth, That I truly am a child of the Earths dreaming too.

As I looked into the eyes of Reconciliation from this place of tender remembering I realised that reconciliation here in Australia, in its true form, in its deep form, like ACTUAL RECONCILIATION, can only begin to take place when we, as the colonisers of these lands, find our way back to our original consciousness,

When we find our way back to our own deep roots; Back to intimacy with the land, Back to embodied custodianship, Back to communion with each other, Back to kinship, Back to our own Elders, Back to our own Stories, Back to our own Sacred Fires, Back to our own Culture, Back to our own Songs, Back to our own Dances, Back to our own Rites of Passage, Back to our own Belonging.

Back, over the next 7 generations, to a mature embodiment of our own indigenous beginnings.

Reconciliation can only ever take place when the colonised and the colonisers can come together within the same consciousness.

To meet in original consciousness is to meet in sacred alchemy.

Any act of ‘reconciliation’ outside of original consciousness is transactional in nature; it’s a nice gesture but its missing the whole point.

Those eyes, they aren’t just challenging us, they aren't just asking us to say sorry, they are initiating us into genuine EMBODIED RECONCILIATION into genuine EMBODIED HUMANITY

Where you and I remember in our bodies, in our minds and in our deep core Who we are, where we come from, and where we must now go.

~ Matthew Liam Gardner


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