About ten years ago I first attended a ‘womens business’ ceremony camp out near Pukatja, SA. An electrifying five days of wide-eyed situation fathoming and a lot of firewood gathering and freshie runaround biz ended with me feeling more exhausted and filthy than ever before/since. I was in every way a total beginner, and my beginner mind was on constant refresh and in an assumption-less absorption mode. It was both visceral and cerebral and engaged with profoundly other ways of interpreting reality. The act of dipping an Arnotts scotch finger in billy tea became a sensorial refuge of glowing familiarity in a marathon of intensive occurrence. At some stage a passing genius whose identity I forgot to remember explained her perspective on the style in which Pitjantjatjara culture is passed along. She said that the totality was presented in the act of performing ceremony and other practice, dished up whole. And that discovering the implications of the words, the moves and the fullness of the meaning its relationship to people, time and land was a life-long process like slowly peeling an orange. You get given the orange whole and it’s up to you to peel it – and of course it’s not a quick task like your common orange. Another idea about learning is a linear accumulation of data. The orange analogy helped me understand when the women would say nyuntu ninti pulka (you are very knowledgeable) when I clearly was not. I had seen many things after a few years, but understanding them will take much longer.

Meditation man, who u may or may not remember from a facebook post about the v same man in the sauna dispensing wisdom about negative emotions with regard to melting snow presented another idea to me at precisely the moment i was ready to fully comprehend it. He told me a lot of very precise German type details including the gem about how his stream of Buddhism posits that we are all diamonds with complete capacity for enlightenment, with the suggestion that most of us are a little bit dusty or need some shining up, chipping, peeling.

FULL PARTICIPATION is a strong catchphrase that’s been motivating my way since the death last year of this woman.


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