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"There Must be a Fully Formed Self for a Fully Formed Seeing" * Eli Anderson (4th June 2020)
To all those with whom I have collaborated, created new and innovative experiences, provided opportunities for vulnerable human beings to feel loved, culturally acknowledged, respected and valued, I am very grateful. I have, and still work, with some extraordinary far-thinking people in health, education, justice, and the creative arts industries. It is indeed a privilege to know that my purpose is recognised by you, and so have blessed me with the resources to continue to deliver this much needed work. We are in a position to encourage every human being to explore this extraordinary depth of healing, which emerges when the sentient beings experience reconnection and the rediscovery of their inner stories. I, and those I have the pleasure of working with have witnessed this phenomenon, more times than I can count.
As a result of creating safe spaces for life changing stories to emerge, I have witnessed children and young people feeling hopeless, rediscover meaning and the confidence to make that first tentative step, to reclaiming their voice. Adults, traumatised by being emotionally and spiritually eviscerated; rediscover a story which fills them with a hopeful future. Intergenerational groups from a number of cultures rediscover a way of exploring inspirational stories with each other, no longer isolated by fear, disability and trauma. Finally, businesses reconnecting with what it means to be responsible for another life. However, as I walk my path as a storyteller and narrative coach, informed by my African heritage, I am reminded that for the most part, being accorded the privilege of living as a human being, a sentient being, is still something that is still a daily negotiation.
I cry. I cry because I can breathe. I cry because, I cannot excise the slow moving images, described in detail, showing life drain from another soul. I weep, because that person who is simply walking towards a belief that the next experience will be a hug from their loved one, experiences an abrupt end to the precious life they have not yet lived. I weep, as a young life, experiences the cold brutality of hate, with no explanation, because there isn't one. But what is most painful and horrifying is to understand that I have died so many times. With the exception of time and distance, I am that person whose breath was pushed from his body. That woman, whose life is savagely taken with a single bullet. That Elder, who refused to allow a young life to be extinguished and offered theirs instead. The trauma never dies. Yet, the hope of sharing light and love must always live. Ubuntu.
I am forced to consider such ordinary life experiences such as walking to school in Thamesmead, going to church with my friends in Charlottesville, buying groceries from a store in a favela, being able to read, driving home with my loved ones, playing games with my friends, smiling, enjoying a place to life, challenging injustice, as potentially fatal activities. I witness globally, the anguish of poverty forcing me to drink poisoned water, eating contaminated food, contributing to life changing illnesses. None of this makes sense. 200,000 years ago, the Khoisan of Southern Africa, understood that you live in harmony with your environment: take what you need, not what you want. Simple. The First Nation Americans knew that the land was not theirs, it was for everyone. The indigenous Australians knew that they were part of a larger cycle of life, and they were responsible for ensuring that those who followed them were cognisant of their unique and significant role in maintaining that balance in the Universe. This is the power, beauty and wisdom of story, living in harmony with nature: living in balance with yourself.
And so, I do the work I have been called to do. To be in service of others. Helping sentient beings reconnect and rediscover their inner stories. Each sentient being deserves to experience love and to be loved, to be valued, to belong and to pursue a life that will inspire and heal some other person on this very small planet on which we all live. I see in each person, myself, a human being full of magical stories and possibilities, but I fear, as this recent history has shown (repeatedly), it will be a lifetime before I am afforded this natural experience of being human.