Two very important people who shaped and defined me, who were the connection to my past and my future: my father and his sister (my aunt Tuhipo) passed away within months of each other in 2015/6. This had a profound effect on my life. So many thoughts swirled around my mind that my mind became cluttered and disorientated.
The questions that came to mind were: Who am I? What does that even mean? Am I really busy living? Haven’t I had some great times – laughed from the soul, loved with passion and cried as though my very heart was shattering? Isn’t that what it’s all about?
My aunt was solid in her convictions and understanding that family are the beginning and ending of everything. That each one of us has a role to play and are a critical part of the whole – and made me feel like I was an integral part of that whole. While my father was always supportive of me, believed in me – thought I could do and achieve anything, everything.
Both were united though, in their belief that I am missing a link, that (in the words of uncle Bob Marley) I needed to ’emancipate myself from mental slavery, that none but ourselves could free our minds’. And until I did so, I would not feel true fulfilment or happiness. That my forties is a critical time – where I need to get in touch with my wairua my mojo, the very essence that is me.
In order to even do this, I need to take some time out, I need the world to stop for just a minute because I need to think and clear my mind. I need to willingly release all thoughts and things that clutter my mind, I need to forgive myself and others and set myself free, free from all misunderstandings, suspicions, jealousies and animosities!
What better way to shake life up and take time out, then going on a solo hikoi (walk) for 6 months in the mountains of America along the Appalachian Trail. Focusing on nothing more than how far I will walk that day and making sure I have enough food and water till the next re-supply point and meeting people on their own journey…
So this trip is for me.
Thank you aunty Tuhipo for guiding me in the ways of Te Ao Maori and showing me what it is to embody Wahine Toa…thank you Dad because you always believed I was special and unique…thank you mum for loving me every day of my life…It is because of you all that I take my first steps…