Thursday, 9 April 2015

Turn, turn, turn. . .

This blog post is dedicated to +Anaru White+Alex Hotere-Barnes and +Ngatai Walker 

Turn, turn, turn quickly became a favourite song for me when I watched The Byrds featured as part of the epic Forrest Gump starring Tom Hanks, Gary Sinise, Robin Wright and the incomparable Sally Fields.  That movie soundtrack in itself is a thing of beauty on its own even without the movie, and I will probably feature more songs from the movie in future blog posts.

I've been thinking quite intensely over the past few days about the expectations and obligations that have been thrust upon me.  I've thought a lot about consorting with people who I've labelled as time rapists.   These are the people who have forced themselves upon me, against my will, and stolen time from me that I wasn't willing to give up, moments in time that I can no longer claim as my own, because of the sense of power or control that they want over me.

Time rapists as a term has negative connotations, exactly as how I mean it to be,
But what can we do about it?  What can I do to turn the tide of this continuing to happen and putting myself out of harm's way? What is my purpose under heaven?  When will I know that time has come?

To everything turn, turn, turn,
There is a season turn, turn, turn,
And a time to every purpose under heaven
A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

Biggest purpose under heaven.  What does that mean for you?  For me it means, more often than not, being the voice for Pasifika peoples in education in Aotearoa.  It is a huge mantle of responsibility but one that I know I must wear because of the expectations and obligations that I must meet - in the absence of voices that might not be represented in the spaces that I move between.

To everything turn, turn, turn,
There is a season turn, turn, turn,
And a time to every purpose under heaven
A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones
A time to gather stones together

There will be phases in your life where you will need to learn things, learn about people, learn about how to 'be' in the world so that you can then go ahead - get hurt, be betrayed, be ripped apart - so that you can put yourself back together again. You might come across some people who are responsible for gathering stones to hurl at you, but you might also have the gift of changing the mindsets of those very same people to take those same stones and hurl it where they belong.

To everything turn, turn, turn,
There is a season turn, turn, turn,
And a time to every purpose under heaven
A time to love, a time of hate
A time to war, a time of peace
A time you may embrace
A time to refrain from embracing

With each phase of life that you go through, there are more and more lessons to be learned.  I can't help but identify myself as a life-long learner because I think I will be learning things about myself right up until I am no longer a citizen of this world.  The learning for me goes beyond the doctor of philosophy in education that I am studying.  We're talking about the learning about the philosophy of life, clarifying and refining my own thinking about how I see the world, how those views are informed by how I am placed in the world - who places me there, how I place myself, what shoes I must fill, whose shoes I walk in and ultimately - how can I articulate what that means, in spite of all of the challenges and road blocks that I might stumble upon.  When I need to embrace, I might need to step back and not embrace.  What season am I in?  How will I know when to make the defining choices that are ultimately the right choices?

To everything turn, turn, turn,
There is a season turn, turn, turn,
And a time to every purpose under heaven
A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time for love, a time for hate
A time for peace, I swear it's not too late. . . 

I hope that I will continue to live life by always doing right for others by using the gifts and talents that I have been blessed with to serve.  Western connotations of service as a lowly station is not the same as how we view service in the Pacific.  The motto that remains strong and steadfast is O le ala ile pule ole tautua - the pathway to leadership is through service.  

I think the greatest lesson that I am learning so far is that in order for me to have peace in the different worlds that I live in, that I must acquire inner peace.  It is not easy to achieve because I understand that the kind of peace that I want is not possible in this world, this physical world where my physical body lives. so I need to work towards the promise of the peace that comes when I depart this worldly plane.  I don't know when that will happen, but it makes me happy to know that in the meantime, I can still remain hopeful that that day will arrive. . .