I am a 40-something Māori woman from Aotearoa. I mostly live in a small seaside township in the north island, where I am privileged to feel the black west coast sand under my feet. Each day I have the opportunity, should I choose, to observe blessings all around me, and be grateful for all that is my life - past, present and future.
Apart from two and a bit years on a voluntary assignment in the Pacific as a policy and management advisor, I have been self-employed for the past 10 or so years. Before that I taught in a university and worked in government departments as a policy analyst. I have a PhD about indigenous psychology in Aotearoa, and continue to work on issues important to Māori in Aotearoa.
Travelling is a big love. I have seen parts of Australia, Hawaii, Italy, Hungary, Spain, Portugal and Egypt. I have lived and traveled extensively in the beauty of Morocco, and most recently I lived for two years in the sticky tropical paradise of Vanuatu. Rumi describes it perfectly ... Travel brings power and love back into your life ... the most fear-inducing of experiences for a self-confessed introvert, but also the richest and most rewarding as language barriers and simple living bring it all back to the simplicity of kindness.
For the most part I earn my living by the words I write - factual and analytical, though at times infused with the poetic and metaphoric. But more and more I am drawn to the creative and to the desire to express how I see the world, how I want the world to be, how I want to be in the world, and at times how overwhelming the world can be. How to understand the contradictions, looking to edges where most often the answers will be found, either side of the rigid black and white, and to where beauty does surround, if only we take the time to not just look, but to see.
So ... welcome to a little of my world ... I hope you enjoy meandering along with me ... Just to get you started, here is a piece which might tell you a little more about me ...
Does this mean ....
I am by nature, what might be called an observer.
I am quiet, and have never really excelled in the art of making small talk, although I can if I have to.
I am shy, and am more than likely uncomfortable when I find myself the centre of attention.
I prefer the familiarity of a few close friends, as opposed to a lot of casual acquaintances.
The girl with a 1000 'friends' on facebook - she will not be me.
But to describe myself as an observer? That sits uneasily with me. Shouldn't we aspire to be the participators? The doers? Those who are in the middle of it all?
Conjuring up bystanders; onlookers in the shadows.
Where is our value? What do we, those who describe ourselves within the realms of those who observe, offer to the world?
In thinking about this, I find myself seeing the observer as a witness. And it is in that clarification that I am able to come to my own understanding of myself as an observer.
I seek to bear witness in order to affirm the truth and authenticity of my own experiences. From this vantage, I can understand that I encounter meaning in the detail. Reflected in all that I am, and all that I do, from the complex to the mundane, it is the detail that I am attracted to. It is to the fine points, often overlooked or deemed unimportant by others, that I am drawn. It is by examining the detail that I gain the most learning. It is from the detail, that I make sense of, and fully appreciate the something bigger. The details lead me to examine what I take for granted, and what is most precious to me.
So yes, I can comfortably occupy my role as an observer; the one who bears witness.
Does this mean I do not participate?
Not at all.
Yes, I am often artlessly shy.
Does this signify courage is lacking?
Yes, I am quiet. Does this signify I have nothing to say?
I feel uncomfortable being the centre of attention. Does this reveal a desire to be unseen?
Not at all.
Being an observer means paying attention to the beauty and learning that I see in the detail; a witness to the truth and authenticity of my own experience.