What raw times we live in! So many judgements permeating through our society; so many disgruntled people living in our beautiful country! I have had cause to stop and think about where my own judgements have germinated and have found another layer of the onion being peeled away.
I always seem to be quoting from some inspiring book, but I have found that just when I need some inspiration, a book comes on the radar that gives me that aha moment. Recently I dipped into The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. He states that we get trapped between being a judge and being a victim. I recognised myself in having been in both those camps. A big bulk of my work is about assisting others to become better observers of themselves and others. In my passion to walk my talk, there is a continual awakening to a new truth – sometimes a painful reality.
So where do our judgements come from? A few months ago I was interviewed by Warren Boland on ABC Radio. He was referring to my book and the abuse I suffered as a child from my mother. He asked me how I felt about her and I replied that I had hated her for much of my life but now I loved her. He looked at me incredulously and asked how I could possibly love her. She has been dead for a long time and it has taken a lot of work to let go of my victim mentality and recognise that she was only acting out of her own wounded space. A lot of that was only revealed to me a number of years after her death. I am now also grateful that she provided a way for me to be here.
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Years ago I was fortunate to work in Distance Education in North Queensland. It was the days when we were still attached to the flying doctor service. There are so many stories to be told about those amazing years. One experience that still brings tears to my eyes is relevant to my train of thought in this article.
A team of us flew out to the middle of North Queensland in a little four seater plane packed full of equipment we needed to run a small mini school for a twenty children who had travelled from farms hundreds of kilometres away. It was always exciting when dedicated parents made the effort to drive such long distances.
In the plane all we could see was vast areas of this land which appeared to be uninhabited. The pilot asked me if I knew where the property was and I began to feel a little nervous. We looked down and saw a row of sheds gleaming in the sunlight and he thought maybe this was the place – we would go and have a look. So down we dipped and landed on a very bumpy, makeshift runway. The books and paints we had carefully packed flew all over the place. The adrenalin was pumping!
As we came to a stop, a crowd of children ran towards us and there were hugs all round. Although I had spoken to some of them by radio, I had never met any of them before. One young boy attached himself to me and said his family owned this place. He then went on to tell me very passionately that the b—-y ‘Abos’ were trying to take this land off them. My heart sank at the venom in his tone. I knew little about the native title act but enough to know that there had been some false assumptions made and that this judgement had come from his elders.
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Previous to this trip, I had visited an Indigenous community that had been taken over by Comalco. The original people had been driven out and when Comalco rejected the area, they had begun to return. I was involved with two families there and had been touched by the effort the inhabitants were making in re-establishing themselves. There was no school, so a beautiful young Aboriginal woman had taken it upon herself to gather a group of children together and using the Distance Education papers, which were quite difficult, she was endeavouring to teach the children as best she could. I must have mentioned that we were going to conduct a mini school a few weeks later but that it was to be many kilometres away. I felt that it would be impossible for her to attend.
The second day of our mini school was underway when a battered old car drove up, loaded up with six excited children. Their white teeth gleamed in their shiny black faces as they jumped out of the car. This very special young woman had undertaken to drive for two days to bring her charges to the mini school.
I was immediately concerned about the reaction of the young man who had spat out such vehemence toward the Aboriginal race. However, by the end of the day they were all blending in happily and there was absolutely no disharmony.
When the week was over it was time for goodbyes and these were sometimes quite heart wrenching. I saw two little boys tearfully clinging to each other – not wanting to let each other go. You have probably guessed that it was the first young boy and his newfound Aboriginal friend. All judgement had been suspended and I thought how wonderful it would be if the world could look at issues through the eyes of a child.