Around the Karoo, Eastern Cape, South Africa
The Karoo is a particularly wild part of South Africa. It's a region which runs deep with only recent history from it's European settlers in the 1800s. Many members of our family consider themselves very African, with a living history rooted nomadically across Southern African Countries.
Sure the original settlers were born in Europe, but many left in order to survive. They fled because of persecution, because of their beliefs, because of their religions. The life they faced when they landed in one of the furtherest places away from the highlands of Germany, the riverbanks of Austria, the vast plains of Poland, Holland and icy dark winters of Norway and Sweden. To land in a country so different, clinging to your family and few possessions after treacherous journeys by boat in dangerous seas, is almost unimaginable.
Except it's not.
Right now we are living in a time when the exact same history is unfolding.
Landing in Africa two hundred years ago my ancestors sought the help and guidance from the local tribes who approached them. Without medicine they were guided back to the roots of humanity to discover the healing properties of plants. They were enlightened by village elders to understand how to recognise changing smells in the breeze to figure out how long it would be before the rains fell. Metaphorically a space was opened at the table for them. They were welcomed to the tribe. Then my ancestors struck gold and diamonds. Again they found themselves fleeing further up towards central Africa while perversely other ancestors of mine capitalised on this.
We can all look back at history and pick out the best bits, that's easy. But to acknowledge the trauma and look at it and learn from it is incredibly hard.
Meditating in the African sands and voice rolled into my consciousness, perhaps it was just my own thought surfacing, but I like to think it could have been a whisper from an ancestor...
Make choices your great grandchildren will be proud of
For me, that means making room at that metaphorical table and inviting those I may not know, those who may share completely different views, those with experiences beyond which I can imagine, those who challenge my perceptions of what is normal.
Exploring the region we were sure to smile at strangers. To pet the noses of wonderful strong horses and listen far more than to speak.
Silencing the mind is difficult. Silencing the chatter about shopping lists, panicking about business decisions, creating situations which will never happen... it's all so, unnecessary.
Rooting yourself in the breath, wiping the mind clear, and allowing your subconscious to unfold is overwhelming. All of our questions and remedies to fear lie right there in that place and often I forget that, travelling for days to reach that rural location where we can find that same silence which lies right here in this moment.