Many of the stories I tell are ‘Journey Stories’ – because we are, all of us, on a journey through life. Some of those stories are based in myth, in story, in invention – and others are based on experience. Some of those stories make an obvious point – and some of them mix metaphor and hidden meaning. Those of you who’ve been part of an event I’ve taught at will know what I mean…
When I was out in Tasmania, I took a walk through the Larmairremener tabelti aboriginal cultural walk in Lake St Clair National Park…
Now, sometimes, you know exactly what to expect on any journey – and sometimes you don’t. But often it’s the things that we don’t expect that we remember. Sometimes, we can’t even put our finger on what was so amazing about the journey, but something, somehow, has changed at a very deep level inside each of us.
Throughout the Larmairremener tabelti walk, there are panels, here and there, little signposts to give us some history and explain the walk. Some of those panels explained the way that people can live in harmony with the land. Some of them tell of the pain of their experience – of imprisonment, sickness, of feeling lost, alone. There is a panel that tells how the aborigines used fire to regenerate the land – how seeds would remain safe and hidden throughout the fire, and would grow and blossom once the fire had passed – and without the fire, nothing would happen, and the land would remain barren.
Yet it wasn’t what we read as we travelled – not what we experienced, but an inner voice that spoke to us and said “Listen, with all your senses. Hear what is going on around you. Feel what is happening in your heart. Enjoy the experience, and still remain open to learning, to hearing. Sometimes that voice will be evident – and sometimes it will be a quiet whisper deep in your heart, a gentle touch on your soul.
As we journeyed round the trail, sometimes the path was easy to follow… and sometimes it wasn’t immediately obvious which way we should go. Sometimes the route was paved, or a wooden boardwalk had been constructed for us to walk on – and sometimes we were left to make our own path over gravel, or over the bare earth. Sometimes we could raise our eyes to the sky – and sometimes we had to concentrate on every step we took, to avoid tripping, or falling as an unexpected rock, or a straggling tree root threatened to upset us.
Sometimes, even, it felt as if the forest was closing in – as if we were alone on the trail, with only the birds for company.
Our road led us up hills where we felt as if we were scrambling, and down easy slopes. Sometimes we could see little but the trees and branches in front of us… and sometimes we could see for miles, as suddenly the view cleared and revealed a beautiful sight. Sometimes we just wanted to stop and take a closer look at something that occupied us – and sometimes we wandered off the trail to explore something else for a moment.
And sometimes we could hear the faint echoes of other voices – people who had travelled this path before, who had lived here, who knew more than we did, who had lived at peace with the land..
And as we journeyed further, as we walked more and more down the trail, we seemed to go deeper and deeper… and I felt myself becoming still and quiet inside, as if a voice was speaking to me. And where that voice came from, I don’t really know. Was it from deep inside our beings – or was it the voice of God? Was it the voice of our souls – or did we simply make it up? But something in that voice created a new peace, a new tranquillity and a new calm.
And something in that moment said “It’s time. It’s time to take what you know, deep inside, and share it. It’s time to open up to others – to become more transparent, to let people know what you feel, what you know. It’s time to live from a place of freedom, and a place of power.. it’s your time.”
Sometimes, a journey is more than it seems. But as we learn to listen to our inner being, then somehow the journey will change us.
2 thoughts on “A journey in Tasmania”
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Thinking about life experiences -what people know, what they don’t, received wisdom – which is different depending on your culture, identity, religion, philosophy or life experience, isn’t it ‘strange’ to think that, one of the things the settlers in Australia fear the most is fire…. fire spreading through the bush causing death and destruction. And yet the indigenous people used fire to their advantage – to burn off the ‘used up’ vegetation and regenerate, knowing that the seeds for new growth would be protected! This is indeed a good metaphor for life and for thinking ‘outside the box’ – for remembering that all people can have a good contribution to life and what life can mean……
I like the story of your walk along the ancient pathway – sometimes contentedly walking along being free to think and feel and watch the lovely scenery and sometimes walking on areas so rugged that you can concentrate on nothing but the way forward. I think that, too, is a metaphor for life …. when things are easy and the going is good, you can ‘hear’ God or your own wise and happy thoughts, motivating you forward. But, when life becomes difficult, you cannot concentrate on anything but how to get to the end, how to get thorough it! Isn’t it ironic, that these are the times when we should be most open to hearing the good inner voice / good counsel?
Tim, I don’t think we can ever know the ‘answer’, the ‘truth’ to all of life – how can we? It is too BIG. Anyone who thinks about life (more than just the day-to-day living) thinks about this – many believe they have the ‘answer’ but then it changes as life moves on and new experiences and thoughts arise. Talking about myself (personally), I think I would go crazy to think so deeply about this all the time. But that’s me!
‘The truth will set you free’….but what is it? In looking for it, can we become more chained and afraid than those who do not bother? Just a thought….
I like the metaphor of the catapiller and how one day it will emerge into a beautiful butterfly. But, thinking on it a little, can it not be ‘safer’, wrapped up in a warm cacoon, like a womb – safe, hidden, protected. But then…. would it be frustrating, would boredom set in, would adventure be calling? Becoming a butterfly would be amazing – you would be beautiful, able to fly (always has been my answer to…. ‘if you could be a superhero, what ability would you want?), having people chasing you, following you, loving you.. BUT, it’s dangerous too….there are preditors out there and the life of the beautiful butterfly is short.
Is is better to hide and be safe??!
I am not saying that it is – it is just a thought!
Writing this now makes me think of the legend of the pheonix arising from it’s own ashes. There must be pain – going through the fire, to emerge victorious! A myth, but again, it makes you think…..
Words are POWERFUL. I enjoy reading your’s – they make me think. I like to think!!