On my way there, Domestic Airport Station, Sydney.
The proceedings began with a welcome to country from Uncle Max who spoke about what it was like having a bad day when he was seven years old, and what adults should do, and how he could support us, if we are having a bad day. “Get your little camera out, take a picture of yourself, and send it to me.” Tears were streaming down my cheeks, streaming. Uncle Max is a local aboriginal elder, and clearly a beautiful man. “We need to give it away to keep it” he said of his precious culture. How many aboriginal people have I met this year displaying in kind of generosity. I am beginning to lose track of their names.
Post surf at Stanwell Park, a truly perfect morning learning to surf.
Four hundred and forty plus diverse delegates from around the earth, we met at Stanwell Tops to share our experiences, research and knowledge of adventure therapy.
Our delegates from around The Earth.
What is adventure therapy? It typically occurs outdoors, but not necessarily. It must utilise an essential dose of adventure. Wikipedia says an adventure is exciting. The Romans had it as advenire meaning to arrive, and adventurus, meaning about to happen. A mix of presence and anticipation that is typical of contemporary adventure therapies.
Stanwell Tops, a section of the Great Dividing Range escarpment that touches the Pacific Ocean at Stanwell Park.
Five days of conferencing gave us many engaging speakers, useful workshops and sessions. For me it was exciting how many knowledgable women spoke. Gabrielle Fletcher spoke of post humanism and the more than human, meaning all the sentient beings that are not strictly us, but just as important. She admirably, and for one of the few times in my life, clearly explained how The Earth is here because we are here, and we are here because The Earth is here. Have a crack at that next time you are sitting around the campfire!
Here are the links to the other speakers:
A couple of the locals, more than human.
A morning surf check and contemplation from the edge of the escarpment, it was big.
The book “The Palgrave Macmillan International Handbook of Women and Outdoor Learning” edited by Tonia Gray and Denise Mitten was launched by a stage full of women and spoken about by Helen Caldicott. Hang onto your trousers, or whatever else you may be wearing whilst she is talking. A very strong presence, a powerful intellect, and capacity, courage and boldness, in a triple dose. If you have not heard of her you may be young, or you were possibly asleep for the last sixty years. There are the search engines if you would like to catch up, or just gently inform yourself.
The Dreaming Humming Bee closing ceremony is about to start.
Lead by Hoya (Lynne) Thomas and Rhona Miller, the conference closing activity was an indigenous dreaming humming bee to bring people together through love, understanding and belonging. By sending out blessings, prayers and respect for Mother Earth we ritually reconnected through the songlines under the invitation and direction of Lynne and Rhonda. A meditation on the nurturing earth and the oneness of us who attended, and of all things.
I’m not sure exactly why, but I think I do know, the words sung by Elton John come to me to finish this piece. So here they are for you…
“So excuse me forgetting, but these things I do,
You see, I’ve forgotten if they’re green or they’re blue.
Anyway, the thing is, what I really mean,
It’s yours are the sweetest eyes I’ve ever seen.”
It was a big, joyful, and robust five days.