Well, I have walked the first 5% of the Hikoi!
First mistake: Carrying too much of everything!! Was a wonderful metaphor for how we take things on with a mistaken sense of “things” serving us (whether they be ideas, attachments, possessions, prejudices of any kind) without realizing the price (weight) we pay for carrying them….in terms of our ability to move freely with life…
It took a few days for the fear and stress that had built up in me prior to actually starting the physical walk to slowly unravel, and to begin to relate more directly to the land and my own body.
The beach endlessly shows me life and death; renewal and decay: this rippled golden-biege ribbon, width dictated by the tides, stretching between ecstatic tasman turquoise and white-crested ocean, and sparsely spinifexed golden-grey-green dunes. My mind alternates between a subtle impatience over the slowly evolving kilometres and a blissful surrender to the inescapable now of firm wet sand; soft dry sand; ocean roar; endlessly changing cloud; unchanging ragged dunes; sometimes shorebirds; ever-present weight of pack on my hips and shoulders and the steady rhythm of my bare feet walking.
Gratitude is often with me for life itself, the beauty of nature, the support I have received allowing me to Hikoi; and a deeply alive awareness of myself as a human animal.
Encounters with others do arise. One morning as I am filling my filter bottle at one of the frequent streams that cross the beach, Joe approaches and when I tell him the kaupapa of my walk, he is immediately interested, having encountered in his own whanau a system that failed to help.
I find myself talking to him and others in terms of how we have ceased to use “common sense” in supporting people in distress with all the things which we have all known as human beings from time immemorial help us to re-balance. Interestingly several people mentioned the healing power of being in nature.
I have ceased to be surprised now by how almost everyone I talk to about why I am walking has a story to tell of friends or loved ones in need, utterly failed by the mental health system.