With the slight improvement in the weather this week, I have found myself sitting in the garden to begin my work-day. This is not an act of morning prayer or anything quite as pious. It is simply a gathering of myself in the stillness, quietness (despite Jazzercise) and beauty to discern the movement of the day.
This has been partly a response to a need for personal accountability and reflection but also as a response to language. In my native language we have a word, winha-nga-rra meaning to listen, hear, think. This is similar in meaning to dadirri from the languages of the Aboriginal people of the Daly River region.
It is a word deeply embedded in the Aboriginal understanding of time, country and slowness. It is a three-stage process but not an outcome driven process we in the Western world operate on. It works on the idea of time, not a linear process where we count what passes, but time as all being everywhere, when. It simply is.
Implied in this word is the truth that listening takes time, you have to learn how to listen. Hearing only happens after you have mastered the practice of listening because hearing is nuanced tuning in to the unheard. Thinking is not thinking to act, but to reflect on what has been heard and how to return what has been heard into your relationship with all that gives you life.
Winha-nga-rra is more than a word, it is a way of being, a slowing down and doing less even, or especially, in times of great crisis, challenge, pain and tragedy. I recognise in this word the source of my father saying, “Walk your country and you will hear what it is saying to you.” The country we rarely walk is our inner country where everything that makes us who we are exists.