Rowena

Storycarrier | Poet | Mama | Lover | Weeper

 

As one who feels deeply and tenderly in a world that shuns raw, vulnerable emotion, I have suffered abuse, been ignored, and cried rivers of tears that carried me into strange, foreboding landscapes. I have tiptoed the razor tightrope of suicidal compulsion, been intimate with darkness, and masqueraded as my own worst enemy.

 

My formative years were far from ordinary. Age two we moved into a juvenile delinquent boys home my parents managed. Two years later my father was stationed in a closed community on a remote island in Arnhem Land as a social worker. It was a time when I ran barefoot, sat with community around a campfire and was scared stiff by the Elder’s stories.

 

From there we moved every two years until we landed in a place where everything felt foreign. This was the place of my second wildness. A feral wildness. A teenager untethered and unsure of herself, haunted by hungry ghosts of ancestral pain handed down for generations. I know that dealing with ghosts is no easy process.

 

As an adult I oscillated between various obsessions and feeling numb. Finally one day, heavily pregnant with my second child, I saw the mess of a life I had created with new eyes. It clearly had to change. Knew I had to change it.

 

I became a sojourner of healing and, like most people, traveled many different trails. Perhaps the most valuable lesson I received from my teachers was the rather rude announcement that it was time to stop trying so hard to give my power away, to gather the tattered threads of my strength and wisdom, and trust myself.

Alone I explored sovereignty, made friends with loneliness, took off my big girl boots and wandered barefoot in the forest searching for my true wildness.

 

But the problem with “walking alone” is that when we are divided we are oh-so-much-easier to conquer. And to be consumed by the hungry ghosts of previous generations that get passed down to us as self-doubt, self-sabotage, frozenness. So much of modern spirituality goes along with this idea of improving ourselves, not with the indigenous idea that any illness or trouble is a symptom of the whole community, including nature, and even the ancestral community.

 

When I finally broke down, it unearthed in me an ancient longing for village that was what I had both feared and craved all along. A love of poetry led me to stories. Modernity has suckled us on an illusion of independence and isolation. The old myths break that illusion. They are guides when we learn how to hear them.

Which brings me here. At the urging of my ancestors; with a growing collections of fairytales, a rattle wrapped around one wrist, bare feet, a fierce open heart, and a burning desire to share stories for healing with you.