Sunday, June 12, 2011

Putting it out to the universe

It's not uncommon for things Mama has said over the years to stick with me and ring true again and again, but she has been telling us most of them since we were little and so they are ingrained in our most basic understanding of the world. However, there's one that she voiced relatively recently-- maybe last year-- that has become a theme for both me and her. It's the concept of putting things out to the universe: if you say or write or otherwise express something that you want, there will be an answer (on second thought, this is not too far from prayer, so maybe it is more ingrained in me than I think, but I'll save that idea for further pontificating).

Having had favorable past experiences with the universe, I put out my interest in learning about Aboriginal culture and struggles. Here's what I got back so far:
  1. A floor full of aboriginal art and the tour that I eavesdropped on at the Art Gallery of New South Wales;
  2. Enlightening exhibit on indigenous peoples at the Australian Museum;
  3. Found a helpful booklet about Aboriginal art and culture at a secondhand shop for $2;
  4. A girl on the train to Brisbane who gave her unbridled (and horrifying) opinion about the Aborigines and the government's way of dealing with them. I channeled my inner Singhal and used questions to help her consider why she thought that way;
  5. Learned about the Bangarra Dance Theatre, which features indigenous choreographers and dancers who create contemporary works "fueled by the spirit, energy and inspiration derived from the culture, values, and traditions of Indigenous Australians." They'll be in Brisbane in early July-- definitely going;
  6. Couchsurfed with Ayack, a French dude who has already done a lot of reading on the subject because of personal interest and his plans to hitchhike the outback. He is letting me borrow "The Songlines," Bruce Chatwin's story about traveling Australia in the 1980s in order to understand Aboriginal spirituality and culture. It has garnered quite a bit of criticism over the years, so I'm trying to keep this in mind as I read. I've had some interesting conversations with Ayack about all of this, and I hope that other interested folks will wander into my life this summer so that I'll be able to discuss my informal research.
Once I get my bearings in Toowoomba, I plan to write y'all a lengthy essay about my findings so far. Don't feel obligated to read it unless you're really interested, but I'd particularly recommend it for those environmentalists among you because I think a lot of things will make sense and give you food for thought.

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