Hello from hotel quarantine in Sydney (Gadigal land),
I’m on day 6 of quarantine and feeling a lot of feelings. Mostly I am aching for my feet to be planted on the earth and for the sun to be on my skin. Last Tuesday we flew into a dimly lit Sydney airport and were escorted by police straight to the room where we would spend the next 14 days and nights. We haven’t felt the sun or touched the earth for over a week now. My family lives in Sydney so we will see them once we are out of here.
My grandmother is 98 now and I am desperate to see her, to have her hands touch my son’s body for the first time. To brush her hair and have her hands touch my face. We have always had a close connection and openly spoken about our connection in spirit and the journey of the soul. And yet, it was her body that called me home to the land of my childhood.
My dad and much of my family haven’t held my son either or seen me as a mum – he is one of millions of lockdown babies. I’ve become more and more aware of the importance of witnessing our initiations and transitions and know that many of you, particularly new mums, have missed this during these times.
It took us a couple of days to get our bearings and figure out where we physically are in the city, and we had a really surprising realisation. The block that we are quarantining in happens to be the very same block that my husband and I worked in for two years in our first full-time jobs back in the early 2000s. We wouldn’t meet for another 15 years on the opposite side of the planet. I wonder how many times our paths may have crossed, and whether these weavings were part of our souls’ plans. Were we standing at the traffic lights together or in the same queue at the local café?
About a block away (although I can’t see it) is the park where I used to spend my lunchtimes, kicking my shoes off and placing my hands and body on the earth. I’d put my walkman on and meditate in secret, looking up at the trees above me. I sometimes think, perhaps there are parts of the land that call us to them. Places we are destined to be for periods of time. Soil we were always meant to be planted in. To become a part of.
Over the past few years, so much has been surfacing for me about our connection to the land, true belonging, ownership and what ‘citizenship’ actually means. How much harm has been caused from seeing the land as something separate from us, to own, take from and conquer. The severing that has occurred from each other and ourselves, through seeing ourselves as separate from the land. Through not seeing our bones and flesh as moving extensions of the soil and sea, not seeing our ancestors in the earth, the stars in the soil, the cosmos in the seed.
I first became aware of this very real ache for the earth within me when I was a teenager. The longing for the arms of the mother first came when I went to a new school in the city with no earth to sit on. It was then that I started my daily practice of walking barefoot and laying with the back of my heart on the earth. I didn’t know it at the time but these would become practices I would later teach and call ‘being walked by the land’, ‘intuitive nature walking’, ‘earth pulsing’ and ‘whispers from Mother Earth’.
For the past few years all I’ve been able to write about is returning to the earth. Being in quarantine, separated from nature, so close to my family and childhood home yet so far away, has turned that ache and that sacred rage for returning to the earth within me up even more. And now from this air-conditioned room on the 33rd floor in the sky, I feel it more deeply than ever.