» The psychological significance of Matariki for me «
I volunteer for a community group and at the start of the year I offered to put out a newsletter piece to acknowledge the difficult time our community had experienced as a result of the vaccine mandate and the polarisation that occured. It was time for us to come back together as a community and acknowledge the disconnection and isolation that many had felt.
I knew that writing this newsletter piece was going to be no small task. To acknowledge something requires us to have the ability to turn towards and to lean in to how the past showed up for us. And how it showed up for someone else. In therapy, this takes a certain amount of somatic resilience (the ability to be with whatever sensations arise in the body) and is an integral part of the therapeutic process.
In order for the community to hear words of acknowledgement over how tough the last few years had been for all of us, I laboured to convey the values that unified us, rather than divided us. Yet when I circulated my draft to the Committee, there was a pulling away from the message; "this is just going to re-traumatize people" I was told.
That was the last thing I wanted to do!
I sat with this, wondering how to proceed.
After some contemplation, I realised that trauma was being conflated with feeling. What was being conveyed to me was, reading this makes me feel things I don't want to feel and if I feel these things, I am being retraumatised!
It's hardly surprising to land here, hey. Our society does not have a useful language for trauma. Trauma has become a 'bad feeling' that's out of our control and needs to be avoided or numbed out at all costs.
It's true that our readers would feel something when reading the newsletter. And likely that something would be Grief. And that's the other piece; our society does not know how to recognise the state of Grief, let alone know how to process Grief.
I sat with this too, wondering how to proceed.
Then a beautiful thing transpired. Matariki happened.
The newsletter needed the wairua of Matariki to frame and contextualise our collective and individual Grief! I felt the spirit of the message arrive at the same time the star constellation rose over our north eastern horizon.
The newsletter changed shape. It became a container that provided permission to feel. Here's a snippet from it that best expresses the shift...
Personal and collective grief has knocked at our door. How we responded to what happened, and where we found safety and support was different for each of us, but what we shared– what was felt by everyone– is that we all lost something precious to us during this time. In this, we are not divided. It is our grief that gathers us together.
I circulated the revised newsletter piece to the Committee again, and hearts opened this time. They had a container for their experience and in the spirit of Matariki, these words of acknowledgement for all concerned could be heard, and permission was given to feel.
What I experienced was this: Matariki offers us context and a container to be with our Grief, together (like it's meant to be!). Matariki gives us the possibility of being held while allowing greif to be felt and honoured.
In therapeutic terms, Matariki is saying; Yes, you can feel AND Yes, you can belong. Both are valid. Both are necessary.
These are often two wounds that oppose and polarise our internal landscape in the Western psyche. It shows up all those times we suppress or hide ourselves away in order to not let our outrage or anger or tears be seen by the group.
But to turn up and do the work so that our own internal landscape no longer polarises these two universal principles; that is; the need for authentic expression and the need for safety & belonging is the peace work.
It is monumental work. As within, so without. As above, so below.
Can world peace happen? Well yes, if you believe that change begins within.
No healing is insignificant on the world stage!
If you want support in your healing journey, contact me, I will be delighted to hold that sacred container where the magic happens within you and for you.