Everything in my life has led up to this moment. I am now semi-retired, so to understand my story is to understand what I am retired from. Amongst many other things, I am retired from decades of thinking that my efforts to relieve human suffering need to fall within the mental health industry’s array of services. I am likewise retired from accepting mere “alternatives” to that industry, or at least those which accept the limits of its worldview.
This retirement is not an end but a beginning. I feel so joyfully alive that I am grateful for all that led up to this moment, so grateful that I can let the past lie in the past. I am not riding into the sunset; rather, I am watching each sunrise and welcoming each new day. Life is filled with suffering and yet there is also joy in every moment, and I fully embrace both. I am retired from being old yet I accept being an elder, at least if I can be a fairly quiet and humble one.
I embrace the truth that whatever else I do in this life, it cannot be “work" but must be an expression of love for my family… it must enrich the web of relationships that so long has nurtured, enlivened me and made me who I am
Ko Hinai te Maunga; Ko te Temepara te puna waiora; Ko te Manuao te pouherenga waka; Ko Wharemarama te whare; Ko Ratana te marae; Ko te iwi Morehu mai Nga Puhi nui tonu taku Iwi; Ko Hemi Heemi taku ingoa; Aka ko Kori ahau; Tena koutou katoa.
After a lifetime in the workplace where I regularly updated my CV: essentially designed to impress some people and to entice their approvals away from others to me. Now that I am semi-retired I have a stronger need to be my most authentic self (pepeha - my unique self). I have let go the need to impress others and I can be true to myself as a self-employed Maori Programme Consultant in Mental Health and Addictions. My style is Sharing, my facilitation is Listening and my self-determination is Competency.
My life now, depends more on the quality of conversations that I have and engage with. I am committed to sharing my life with others by having more positive conversations about things that matter.
In my 20s there was a change in my health and I experienced severe side effects to a wide range of drugs. Thinking back on it now, I wonder whether that was my body and soul’s way of telling me “HEY, stop doing what you are doing! It’s time to look inside yourself rather than outside yourself…take a serious look at your life and get in touch with what is going on! You have some work to do….some healing!” This experience taught me to listen to my body and amplified my inner voice and by listening to it, I have more recently entered the start of a spiritual journey, which I find exciting as well as challenging and has helped me learn more about myself than I had ever expected.
In November 2010 I sat in a room where the conversation about mental illness was, as it so often is, one of it being a “problem”, a list of symptoms and relevant diagnosis, treated by medication or other therapeutic alternatives. I caught myself thinking (again) that this is such an incredibly fatalistic, limited and limiting way of looking at people’s experiences and that I personally needed to find different ways of thinking about what has been my life up until that point
This current path of change, growth, discovery, transformation, and movement place me exactly where I am meant to be at this point in time. I am slowly but surely learning that I can only seek to change myself rather than the eternal quest to change the world