Thursday, 12 January 2017

I am Moana. . .

When you know who you are. . . 

I know a girl from an island
She stands apart from the crowd
She loves the sea and her people
She makes her whole family proud
Sometimes the world seems against you
The journey may leave a scar
But scars can heal and reveal just
Where you are

One thing I have struggled with growing up in Aotearoa New Zealand has been when to celebrate who I am.  Living in a Samoan home, with staunch Samoan parents who instilled a love of culture, understanding of protocols and ways of being and knowing, I can't say that I regret what they have taught me, because it has helped to provide a foundation that nobody can ever take away from me, no matter how many times people have tried to 'whitewash' me.  When you are relied upon by your family to bring honour and prestige to the family name, you might think that it is too much pressure, and you know what, you would be right.  But it's also a birthright.  I believe that when you are born the ethnicity that you are, you become almost like an ambassador that carries the hopes and dreams of your family, your people as far as possible, to the ends of the earth if need be.  There have been times when the world has been unkind, but I haven't let that deter me from reaching my goals.  People have been hell bent on me seeing my culture as a barrier to success whereas I see it as a carrier to success.  People have tried to push me to see my culture as a hindrance rather than as the source of my endurance to achieve success.

The people you love will change you
The things you have learned will guide you
And nothing on earth can silence
The quiet voice still inside you
And when that voice starts to whisper
Moana you've come so far
Moana listen 
Do you know who you are?

There has never been a greater time than now in our history to be more present in our current reality.  Even though we may be constrained and restrained by duty and obligation to time and space that seems to define how we live our lives, I don't think it should totally rule our hearts and mind and stop us from believing in the little voice that is still inside us.  Whether that still voice is there, waiting to be heard or whether that little voice is still in there, lying dormant because we don't know that we have the power to activate our own eruption.  If we've come so far in what we want to achieve and know where we want to go - what's stopping us?  If you have something to say, speak up.  If there people that need to listen and refuse to, find ways to make them listen in a language they understand.  Pacific people have always been adaptable and resourceful and contrary to what has been written about them in negative terms for so long in literature in so many disciplines as being primitive and clueless, according to Western conventions, there is so much more to us than meets the eye.

Who am I?
I am a girl who loves my island
I'm the girl who loves the sea
It calls me
I am the daughter of the village chief
We are descended from voyagers
Who found their way across the world
They call me

When you are like me and born in your adopted country because your parents migrated there for a better life for you and your family, you understand what sacrifice means.  My parents left behind wealth and health in their homelands to pursue the dream of what they considered back then a better life.  My father is a village chief and I am his daughter.  I am now a chief myself.  It has been a year since I was bestowed the same title as my father in our village in Samoa.  My friends ask me what has changed for me.  It's something that is hard to explain because unless you become a chief yourself, only then do you understand that now every move you make must be made with the knowledge that you are seen as a leader in your community, that your moves, actions and most importantly words carry weight and knowledge that must not honour your family and village, but also inform those who wish to learn about you and where you come from, that you are embodying the spirits of your ancestors.  This is what it means to be descended from voyagers.  From people who leave their homelands in search of new lands to prosper, to enact those dreams that lead them to leave in the first place.

I've delivered us to where we are
I have journeyed farther
I am everything I've learned and more
Still it calls me

I am now at an age where my parents teach me things that will be of use to my family, our extended family, and for my own life far beyond when their time will pass.  Although it saddens me when I think of this prospect, the sadness passes when I am fully prepared and alert to the notion that I have a responsibility to continue their work, contribute to their legacy when it comes to my time to pass on knowledge and values in this way.  I have a calling in me that is hard to ignore and it isn't something that I no longer want to ignore either.  When you know what your purpose-driven life is for, get used to being overwhelmed, then accept that this is your destiny.  I understand now that because I have explored so many opportunities that have come my way, because they were all part of the life lessons that I needed to embark on, they have steered me well so that I have a wider navigational map to see all of the options available, and I must tell you, it is a view to behold.  Can you imagine, your hopes and dreams laid out for you like a map, everything laid out in front of you with a working compass and all it takes now is for you to decide in which direction you would like to go?  I can't tell you how excited I am for the future.  I'm already living there in my mind, but I have to get through the present time that is necessary for the transition process to occur.  What transitions do you need to make in order for you to move to your call?

And the call isn't out there at all, it's inside me
It's like the tide; always falling and rising
I will carry you here in my heart you'll remind me
That come what may, I know the way
I am Moana! 

I hope that when you have developed the hearing to understand how to listen to your call, that you will find peace and focus in your life.  Think about people who have passed on into the next life that have always been ardent supporters of you pursuing your call.  Never forget that they are always there, cheering you on, celebrating all of the little milestones in your journey.  Yes, especially those times when you thought nobody cared or paid attention to that feeling of elation you had on your own - they've always been there in your heart, helping to remind you of your purpose-driven life, to make good on the promise of a better tomorrow for you and all you love.  All you need to remember when you start to doubt what you're doing; this is something that I will tell myself every time I feel like the tide is falling and rising unpredictably, that come what may, I know the way. . .