More Than a Word — Reconciliation Takes Action

By Tarlee Leondaris and Chelsea Size

Posted in News

Recently my colleague, Chelsea Size (UAICC Training and Development Coordinator) and I attended a Dadirri – Ancient Aboriginal Mindfulness Traditions workshop facilitated by We Al-li.

We Al-li is a First Nations-led training organisation for healing people, sharing culture and regenerating communities. The workshop was held at Warida Wholistic Wellness in Lower Hermitage. Warida itself is also a First Nations led business on a sprawling, beautiful bush property. Offering a wide range of healing and well-being services.

Instantly upon arriving at Warida I felt deeply connected to the natural surrounds. A Kaurna smoking ceremony greeted us. The smoking was deeply spiritually cleansing to us. Following this we began to learn about the ancient mindfulness tradition of Dadirri.

Aunty Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann, a member of the Ngangikurungkurr people of the Daly River presented Dadirri to the wider Australian public at a presentation 1988. Dadirri is ‘inner deep listening and quiet still awareness’. Since that time Emeritus Professor Aunty Judy Atkinson realised the strength of Dadirri and has presented the practice widely to First and Second Peoples through We Al-li.

To learn Dadirri was truly enriching to us. It allowed use to see the importance of continuing to develop our cultural capabilities. By deeply listening to ourselves and others and in doing so we develop a space for mindful reflection.

In the lead up to National Reconciliation Week we reflect on this year’s theme ‘More Than a Word — Reconciliation Takes Action’ and could truly connect the need for authentic approaches to reconciliation rather than tokenistic ones. We are confident a good start is Dadirri learning to deeply listen.

‘The We Al-li Dadirri: Ancient Aboriginal Mindfulness Traditions workshop invited participants to enter in, to listen and learn through participation. Rather than sitting in rows in a sterile conference room, we were invited to join in around the circle, to sit in silence in nature and to share in the stories of our lives. There were many times when I had to release my internal (dominant culture) voice “we are not following the program,” “this feels simplistic,” “shouldn’t I be learning the theory?” The We Al-li facilitators invited us to enter into the practice before we could learn or share it. What would it mean for the church to listen deeply, to practice Dadirri, share our stories and create communities of care for all? Are our churches spaces for healing and restoration? Communities of care? How do we allow the Spirit of Dadirri to be the spring from which we act together? And places where Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal can find mutual liberation? Who is benefiting from our partnerships?’ said Chelsea.

Tarlee and Chelsea look forward to sharing their learnings from Dadirri in person with Covenanting and church communities to support reconciliation within the Synod so that it becomes more than a word and is put into action.

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